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. But this disc from Artisan is a total letdown, as it has no extras and only a full frame visual presentation of the R rated cut, so no uncut version is found on this release. Pioneer’s excellent Special Edition is no longer available, but if you can find one, that is the version to own. So unless you’re really in love with this movie, skip this miserable (and I mean miserable) disc from Artisan.
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 full frame. I would have rather had a choice in visual presentations, as found on Pioneer’s disc, so I am disappointed by this decision. I know some folks claim the full frame version is the intended format for this movie, but I find the 1.85:1 widescreen framing to be more natural. In any event, the visuals here leave a lot to be desired and fans will be let down by this treatment. The print is worn, with a lot of grain and debris, not to mention a very soft overall appearance. I found the contrast to be decent in most scenes, but black levels weren’t as consistent and stark as I would like. The colors look quite good however, so at least there is one positive to focus on here. I hope Artisan realizes the mistake of not including a proper widescreen edition, as this film deserves better than this.
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. At least the sound on this disc is solid, as the other aspects fall short of even reasonable standards.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes no bonus materials. This is a shame, as Pioneer’s disc was loaded with excellent supplements.