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Re-Animator (2 Disc) [Blu-ray]
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One of the most celebrated, outrageous and original horror films of all time, Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator is a darkly comic tale that 'upped the '80's gore ante at a time when blood was already flowing freely' (Total Film).
Brilliant, if somewhat deranged, medical student Herbert West arrives at Miskatonic Medical School and immediately sneers at his professor's outdated views on death. West has his own outlandish theories and has concocted a serum that will bring the dead back to life. Roping in fellow student Dan Cain their shocking experiments work all too well with horrific and very messy results.
- The 'Unrated' Version - brand new 4K restoration
- The 'Integral' Version (exclusive to Blu-ray)
- Audio commentary with director Stuart Gordon
- Audio commentary with producer Brian Yuzna, and actors Jeffrey Combs, Robert Sampson, Barbara Crampton and Bruce Abbott
- Re-Animator Resurrectus documentary
- Interviews with Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna, writer Dennis Paoli composer Richard Band and Fangoria editor Tony Timpone
- Extended scenes, deleted scene and trailers
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SUBTITLES: English HoH
RUNTIME: 85:45 mins. (UNRATED VERSION)
REGION: A (locked)
EXTRAS: 2 Audio commentaries, "Re-Animator Resurrectus" Documentary, Interview with Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna, Interview with Dennis Paoli, Interview with Richard Band, Music Discussion with composer Richard Band, Interview with Fangoria Magazines Editor Tony Timpone, Deleted and Extended Scenes, Theatrical Trailer, 5 TV Spots
Video Quality: * * * * / * * * * *
Audio Quality: * * * * / * * * * *
1985's cult horror film RE-ANIMATOR is a very special zombie film. Based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft, this also is the best of any of his adaptations. It was directed Lovecraft veteran Stuart Gorden (FROM BEYOND, DAGON) and stars Lovecraft veteran Jeffrey Combs (FROM BEYOND, LURKING FEAR) - an excellent team.
RE-ANIMATOR is not your typical zombie flick, as it stays pretty close to the original short story, HERBERT WEST - RE-ANIMATOR and is not made to cash in on the NIGHT/DAWN/DAY OF THE DEAD craze, therefore I rank it particularly high as it is a class of its own.
Much is owed to Combs's excellent performance as West and the superb special effects which even look great today. Also great performances by David Gale (West's antagonist) and Bruce Abbot.
At not even 90 mins. of length the pacing is excellent and I believe the most was made out of the source material. WALKING DEAD fans will be somewhat disappointed though, this is no zombie slay fest, no Peter Jackson's BRAINDEAD, and while there are some gore effects they are never extreme or overly violent and are not the focus of the film. It's never shocking and combines horror with some dark humor, drama and science fiction.
This movie exists in several versions, the heavily censored R-rated, the US unrated and the US TV version are the most known, of course several countries took it apart themselves to release their own butchered versions. It is thankfully available uncut in most countries now, also in the UK with previous BBFC imposed snips waived.
The US Blu-Ray reviewed here "only" contains the Unrated version in pretty good video and audio quality, while the UK Second Sight Blu-Ray contains the Unrated version in a superior 4k print along with the 'Integral' Version (which is the US TV version with all the gore of the Unrated version merged into one).
We first meet straight as an arrow medical student Daniel Caine (a great Bruce Abbott) at Miskatonic University in New England, who besides acing his classes is conducting an illicit affair with Dean Halsey's daughter Meg (Barbra Crampton) on the side. However, his life takes a sideways swerve when mad medico Herbert West (a career defining Jeffrey Combs) turns up to take residence with Dan, first locking horns with the creepy Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale) and then conducting weird experiments in their basement... But, what are these experiments and who exactly is the good Dr West? As Dan delves deeper, he uncovers the secret of long dead professor Hans Gruber, a strange day-glo green serum with the power to re-animate the dead and a life or death struggle with the fate of not only himself but his love Meg hanging in the balance...
From that brief outline synopsis, 'Re-Animator' may sound like a melodramatic soap opera, but luckily director Gordon (along with co-screenwriter Dennis Paoli) injects the movie with enough crazy juice to ensure this one is a horror fan’s wet dream come true! From the loopy pacing to the wonderfully tongue in cheek acting, ‘Re-Animator’ is the gooey gift that keeps on giving. To mention the creativity shown in the make-up effects doesn’t fully do them justice, but they are a thing of beauty - with enough blood spattered funky undead action (not to mention dead cat tossing!) to fill a dozen direct to video zombie flick rip offs… Thankfully, the game cast sell this nonsense with leads Combs, Abbott and Crampton emerging as a formidable trio to reckon with - whilst not forgetting a truly unhinged character performance from David Gale as the creepily maniacal villain Dr Hill; whenever he is onscreen he literally tears the scenery apart and you find yourself eagerly awaiting his next appearance. Its a wonderful ‘lightening in a bottle’ movie never to be bettered (sadly, the sequels although entertaining aren’t a patch on the originals gonzo creativity) and worthy of a place in any horror movie fans collection.
Second Sight has delivered a spiffing blu-ray special edition with a marvellous transfer bolstered by pristine audio. Complimented by an exhaustive set of extra special features which includes both unrated versions (in 4k) and the ‘integral version’ (a European cut with more developed scenes) alongside the excellent documentary ‘Re-Animator Reserrectus’, interviews with Gordon, Yuzna, Paoli, composer Richard Band as well as audio commentaries with the above, Barbra Crampton & Bruce Abbott. All in all, this is a slam dunk definite purchase and will satisfy even the most hardened ‘Re-Animator’ fan. Highly recommended.
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