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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Don't expect it to tango, it has a broken back", 31 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: Re-Animator (2 Disc Collector's Edition) [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
When Herbert West, a medical student who was working in Switzerland with the late Dr. Gruber, starts at the Miskatonic Medical School in Massachusetts, he is quickly introduced to a promising young student called Dan Cain and the world renowned brain surgeon Dr. Hill. Upon meeting Dr. Hill, West makes it very clear that he feels Dr. Hill's work is useless and outdated. Soon after his introduction, Herbert moves into Dan's spare room where he discovers that Dan is seeing the school Dean's daughter Megan. Megan seems instantly creeped out by West and his strange behaviour, and for good reason as it isn't long before Dan gets dragged into West's bizarre experiments aimed at reanimating the dead. The two break into the school and begin their experiments which accidentally leads to the death of Megan's father, soon after Dr. Hill discovers exactly what they've been upto and tries to steal their work, leading to a gory, grotesque and often hilarious battle between West and Hill.

Horror legend Jeffrey Combs is a joy to watch as Herbert West, he plays the role with such sinister relish that it's impossible not to like him. A lot of the films comedy comes from how straight Combs plays the role, and along with From Beyond, Castle Freak and The Frighteners, this is his best work. The other real standout performance comes from the late David Gale as Dr. Carl Hill, Herbert West's nemesis. He died aged just 54 and I haven't seen anything else he made apart from the sequel, a shame he appeared in so little as he's wonderful in Re-Animator. Barbara Crampton is very pretty and played her role as Megan well, she later teamed up again with Combs in Castle Freak. Bruce Abbot and Robert Sampson round off the main cast as Dan Cain and the Dean Alan Halsey, but Combs and Gale are what make this film so endlessly enjoyable. I love the direction from Stuart Gordon and i'm sure the actors loved it too, this was his first proper film and to this day it's his best. He quickly followed it up a few years later with the excellent From Beyond and Dolls, after the 80's his films have been a little bit more hit and miss, but Fortress, Castle Freak, Dagon and Stuck are all very watchable. Re-Animator virtually steals Bernard Herrmann's fantastic Psycho score, but it fits the film so well that I can't imagine the film without it. There's some nudity, and lots and lots of over the top gratuitous gore. The effects and gore are brilliant considering this 1985 classic was made for under $1,000,000, it's probably the bloodiest over the top film i've seen along with Evil Dead 2 and Braindead.

This 2 disc special edition is packed with extras, especially when compared to the near barebones dvd I owned previously. On disc 1 there's what appears to be a cleaned up version of the film as it looks better than my old copy, there's a commentary from director Stuart Gordon and a second commentary from producer Brian Yuzna (later a director himself and director of the sequels), and actors Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton and Robert Sampson. Of course it would have been even better with David Gale. Disc 2 is just as good, a brilliant 70 minute making of, interviews with Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna, further interviews with writer Dennis Paoli, composer Richard Band and Fangoria editor Tony Timpone. A music discussion with Richard Band, deleted scenes, extended scenes, trailer, tv spots, production stills gallery, behind the scenes still gallery, fun on the set gallery, posters and advertising gallery, storyboard gallery, Stuart Gordon biography, the screenplay and finally Herbert West, Reanimator by H.P. Lovecraft from which the film is based. It's a great dvd and what all special editions should be like, check out the Poltergeist "special edition" to see how little is on some. Considering how much is on the discs, it seems crazy that there's no subtitles which would obviously be a big problem for some.

Re-Animator is a great film and now has a great special edition, one of the best horror comedies ever made and if you're not too squeamish and aren't bothered by the perverted, gratuitous tone, you should love it.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 Mar 2012, 05:24:40 BST
mister joe says:
Masterpiece.Love Society as well.

Posted on 22 Feb 2013, 23:43:54 GMT
Great review of a classic, and it's nice to have a rather more accurate view of the undead by Stuart Gordon than the usual implausible cannibalism/rabid disease spreading nonsense the so-called genre virtually thinks is the only way to go from every other writer and director. Down with 'em! Just read your 'Children Of The Corn' boxed set review with much interest aswell. You're so knowledgeable about the production it's scary. I like the first one enough, though find it one of King's weaker adaptions. It's sort of an asbo-brats done right! I use the term extremely loosely, as likening something that has possible supernatural overtones to a searing story back when creation was key and all concerned could believe in the great power of evil alongside the pathetic human killer/asbo brat/wannabee cannibal trash of today would always take a salt cellar the size of a mountain to be digested. Didn't you just love the 80s? They just had-well proper horror? Even the human-on-human stuff was more interesting.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Feb 2013, 05:26:25 GMT
West25 says:
I'm a horror nut so I have to admit that I have an unhealthy amount of pointless knowledge about some of them, I can also assure you that I watch a lot of non-horror and i'm not nearly as knowledgeable about those. I love the first Children Of The Corn, it is essentially just kids killing adults like a lot of recent films, but it does have a supernatural slant to it which really reveals itself at the end. 1980s horror was by far the best, like you say, even the films that are similar to recent films were done so much better. Even action films were done with a lot more heart and soul than those today, films like Battleship and Transformers are so cold and souless and are purely money making machines and nothing else.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Feb 2013, 01:58:59 GMT
Yes, and that makes all the difference doesn't it/ Back in 1984, chldren attacking adults WAS new and shocking, and as it seemed to be more for a purpose than a fake commentary on today's brats mixed with deeply naff exploitation rites, it was fine. 'COTCorn' beats the hell out of all the 'Eden Lake' stuff today, and it brought cornfields into the fore as an absolutely perfect new setting for horror, and look what followed down the line-the excellent scarecrow horrors 'Husk', 'Hallowed Ground', 'Messegers sequel' and the all-round classic 'Scarecrows' itself. Plus other gems like 'Jeepers Creepers 2' and 'The Stand' have used them too. There's a newer one called 'Fields' but I can't find out anything about it other than the fear it's another 'Them' or 'Eden Lake' just moved into cornfields. Hooray! Also one called 'Maze' I think, same setting but seems to be another serial killer again. 'Reeds' is one that's a UK film I think, and it may have more to offer, but looking at the product info, I'm not sure. Let me know if ou've got 'Absentia' yet.

Snobs on the discussion sites love bashing the 80s for horror, or they pretend it was just full of slashers which they're happy about (it wasn't and they shouldn't be) or it was "cheesy and sillly" which means they haven't got any imagaination or even patience to utilise. It takes a ot for me to really dislike or not enjoy an 80s horror, especially as there was just so much variety of stuff. It's a shame it's gone, but I'm happy at the amount making it onto dvd now, just wish there were more pulled from the lost depths.

Once 'The Pack' starts sliping in price a bit I will get that. I watched 'The Breed' (last killer dog film) last night on Film4, so glad it was made and it's fun, but I bet 'The Pack' will be superior. The 70s generally was but then eco-horror was more prevalent back then, yet there still seems to be few examples.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Feb 2013, 03:44:44 GMT
Last edited by the author on 24 Feb 2013, 03:45:58 GMT
West25 says:
I haven't seen the sequel to The Messengers, isn't it a prequel? I enjoyed the first film and thought it looked great, brilliantly shot and had a few creepy scenes. I keep hearing about how good Absentia is, but with the amount of films I buy, I can't afford to pay full price so I tend to buy films after they've been out for a while. I do make the exception, and all the good I keep hearing makes me want to buy it.

I'll happily admit that the first three or four years of the '80s were dominated by slasher films, but there was still a lot of variety. The second half of the decade was very quiet for slasher's, 1984-1989 had a lot of weird and wacky horror films that had just about every creature you can think of. Even now having been a full on horror fan for at least twenty years, I still find something great from the '80s that has somehow slipped past me. If you take into consideration the foreign language films of the last thirty years that's only really been available over the last five or ten years, there's always great films to be discovered without even needing to bother solely on new horror films.

The Pack is still a film that I haven't got around to buying yet, I believe it's usually available for around £10, so i'll bite the bullet and order it in the next couple of months.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Mar 2013, 02:21:06 GMT
Yes, I think it is a prequel, it was a while ago, but if it is, then the first ends up making really no sense. Like I said, I remain disappointed with the first one, became a standard 'he did it' after pretending to be another ghost film. Another waste of time for Dylan McDermott, damn. Even worse is one called 'Fields' set in the same place. Never seen it, but the cover and back tells me all I need to know I reckon-i.e 'Eden sodding Lake' in a corn field!?

All I can repeat is that all the good things you hear about 'Absentia' are not hot air-it really IS that cool. I'm with you, I baulk at big prices, even though I really want the thing and await them to go down, but as the HMV I got it in was closing down, plus I had a giftcard, I was set up for once! Mind you, the other two things I got with it were left far in the shade by it.

I just love the 80s, and I was so caught up in the important examples of what I go for anyway, that I paid ittle attention to just how many slashers were out, so thought that only a late 70s thing, with just a couple leftover for 1980-1981. But most of these remain hidden, and I wouldn't seek them out without exhausting all the other types of horror out there first. I still hope there's more.

I really want 'The Pack' and have left it untouched for a year, but it seems to be creeping up in price instead of down. But I might do like you and just go for it as it is my thing, and now I've got 'Grizzly' I HAVE to own that. Especially as 'The Breed' was made six years ago.

Posted on 3 Aug 2015, 17:43:33 BST
Max21379 says:
Dear west, Do you know if this dvd has english subtitles for the bad hear impaired ?

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Aug 2015, 18:16:52 BST
West25 says:
Hi Christian,

I'm sorry to say that the 2008 Starz DVD release that I have doesn't have any subtitles, but I'm pretty sure that the newer DVD release from Second Sight does have subtitles and a new print which has the film looking better than ever, it also has two versions of the film on it and all of the extras. You may want to do a little more research though.
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