Plot: What’s it about?
It seems like Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) just never learns his lesson, as he once again seeks to revive the dead through science. His partner is the reluctant Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) and while Cain isn’t too hot on the idea, he has a personal stake in the experiment. You see, his girlfriend was killed and in order to get Gloria (Kathleen Kinmont) back, he needs to listen to West and assist him in this project, as a lot rides on the results. Of course, it won’t be the exact same Gloria he remembers, as West is forced to use some random parts to complete this macabre masterpiece of re-animation. The key parts belong to Gloria however, so when she is brought back to life, the two assume it will be her and not some horrific monster. How foolish, eh? The various parts used form a most unusual puzzle to be sure, but the question is not can she be returned to the realm of the living, instead what will the consequences involve?
This sequel brings back most of the key players from Re-Animator, but Brian Yuzna steps as in director, as opposed to Stuart Gordon. As expected, Yuzna supplies a terrific movie and remains true to the tone of the original, which is of course, fantastic news. The story continues on from where the original left off, with the same set of characters, including the infamous severed head of Dr. Hill. As expected, a wave of blood, gore, death, and strange fluids is unleashed in Bride of Re-Animator, even pushing the red stuff more than the original picture. The special effects look excellent and feature some great spots, including a wicked scene with an eyeball and some very cool sliced limb sequences. Not for the squeamish to be sure, but fans of the original Re-Animator and horror buffs can’t afford to miss this one, it is one hell of a ride. This disc from Pioneer features widescreen & full frame options, as well as both R rated and unrated cuts of the film, not to mention a nice selection of extras. In other words, it is well your hard earned cash and if you’re at all interested, I more than recommend Bride of Re-Animator.
As he did in Re-Animator, Jeffrey Combs steals the show in this movie and he seems just as natural within the part this time around. His controlled rage is on full showcase, including wonderful moments when he snaps, which are highly memorable. I loved Combs’ work in the original film and back when this first hit video, I had some doubts and wondered if he could return with such force, but he proved me wrong, of course. He even came back a third as West and was also enjoyable then, so he can nail West and never falters here. As this role would lend itself to ham handed antics at times, I am pleased Combs knows when to hold back, as it really makes those outlandish moments that much more effective. Other films with Combs include Castle Freak, The Frighteners, Robot Jox, Faust: Love of the Damned, and Beyond Re-Animator. The cast also includes Bruce Abbott (Black Scorpion, Summer Heat), Kathleen Kinmont (Halloween 4, Roller Blade Warriors), and David Gale (The First Power, Savage Weekend).
Video: How does it look?
Bride of Re-Animator is presented in a 1.85:1 non anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame edition also included on this disc. As you view the film, you can switch between the formats on the fly, which is a cool piece of work, but it rules out an anamorphic transfer and as such, I could do without it. I found both the R rated and unrated versions to be solid in all respects, but the unrated cut looks a little more worn, though not to an extreme degree. I just thought the R rated theatrical edition had sharper black levels and less grain present, but of course, the unrated version is still the method of choice, at least for me. In the end, I think fans will be pleased with both visual efforts, but again, an anamorphic treatment would have been most welcome indeed.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio here is passable and never sinks below the watermark, but it has minimal depth and is more of a basic overall presentation. I heard very little in terms of power, with no surround presence to report and as far as bass, not much to discuss there. The sound effects are on the thin side and the dialogue is sometimes also, but when you consider budget limitations here, you can cut a little more slack, I think. Not the best mix out there, but it holds its own and despite some flaws, I was never too let down with this option.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc has some nice supplements to offer as well, such as two full length audio commentary tracks. I chose to start with the more crew oriented track, which features director Brian Yuzna, visual effects supervisor Tom Rainone, star Jeffrey Combs, and several members of the visual effects team. This is an informative, in depth session and all the effects team guys have a ton of comments to share, all worth a listen. While this is a more technical track, it is never dull or tiresome, as most of the insight is shared through stories & memories, ones filled with valuable tips & tricks, to be sure. The second track has Combs back again, but this time he is joined by actor Bruce Abbott and in truth, these guys seem close and have a lot of fun with this session. The memories flow out of the two men and even when they ramble on, it is humorous and always interesting to listen to their comments. This track is more laid back and less technical in tone, so it compliments the first track and together, the two sessions paint a more complete picture. There’s even more goodies on this disc however, including two deleted scenes and for fans, these are treasures, without a doubt. Although most of the footage from one of the scenes has been lost, it is reconstructed to an extent here with still photos, as well as commentary and trust me, these comments are most appreciated indeed. The other scene is titled “Meg is Re-Animated” and I bet you can guess what it involves, but don’t miss it, as it has some great visual moments. Next I took a look inside “Dr. Herbert West’s Casebook” and found a wealth of materials, from production photos to conceptual artwork to prop photos to promotional materials and beyond, this is one extensive collection of production materials, to be sure. This disc also includes a behind the scenes featurette that runs just over twenty minutes, with on set antics, special effects footage, and all sorts of other behind the curtain materials. This is a well made piece and while audio is missing in some places, you’ll never miss it too much. The film’s home video trailer is also included here, as well both the theatrical & unrated versions of the movie, if you consider that be a bonus.