Gore Galore Once More with Bride of Re-Animator

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Bride Reanimator Dennis Russo Lovecraft review Critical Blast

Back in the day (I’m talking about the 80’s here), there were several movies that came out that were over the top in gore and humor (okay, sick humor); movies such as RE-ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND, FRANKEN HOOKER, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD -- just to name a few. Included among that select group is the title of the DVD on review here: 1989’s BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR, the first sequel to the cult classic RE-ANIMATOR, and a bona fide cult classic in its own right.

In this day of serious gore movies, watching this remastered 3-disc set from Arrow Video was a breath of fresh air -- fresh, because these movies allowed creativity to be absurd as well as shocking. I mean, when the first billed special effects artist is named Screaming Mad George -- the man behind the infamous “shunting scene in SOCIETY, which, if you have never seen, gives new meaning to the term “over the top”! You can imagine right off the bat some “interesting” special makeup effects to say the least.

Based on H.P. Lovecraft’s “Herbert West-Reanimator,” this limited edition 3-disc Blu-ray set from Arrow Video picks up 8 months and 10,000 miles away from the “massacre at Miskatonic.”

Our heroes (?) Doctor Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and his protégé’ Doctor Dan Cain (Bruce Abbot) are still at it, playing with the dead despite what happened in Massachusetts. Only this time, Dr. West is not just playing with the deceased. He has this goal to bring back to life the dearly departed girlfriend of Dr. Cain, albeit one piece at a time, and not all pieces necessarily her original ones! (Dr. West has this day-glo serum that reanimates dead tissue.)

As you can expect, things go gorily, humorously wrong and we are treated to a wealth of special makeup effects that would have the judges on SyFy’s “Face Off” saying, “That’s just wrong!”

What makes this whole thing work is two things. One is that the script matches what the movie is conveying; if the dialog was any deeper, it wouldn’t have been as much fun, any shallower or poorly acted and it would be a SyFy channel made for TV movie. Second, it stars Jeffrey Combs! I don’t know what it is about him, but to me he has this look of a quintessential creepy, nerdy, modern day Mad Scientist who truly believes in what he is doing and will rationalize it no matter how absurd (and funny) it may sound. There is a scene where he is looking at a dead dog that is missing a leg, and a severed arm of a police detective, and he cuts this look where you just know what is going to happen next!

If you have never seen any of the movies I’ve mentioned above, here is your chance to get your feet wet. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen the first one. While several of the characters are from the first movie, you’ll catch on quickly about who is who.

Seeing this in Blu-ray raises the visuals to a whole other level. It’s almost spooky to how really good some of these special effects look in hi def. Why, it makes the one-eyed finger spider (yes I said one-eyed finger spider) look like something you could buy off the shelf at a seriously deranged toy store, even if they were done 25 or so years ago; it’s a credit to the geniuses of all of the special effect teams that worked on this movie, and I think what adds to it to is that I don’t know if any of it was CGI created! (I don’t know if that existed back then or not.) The only caveat I would give is that it is definitely not for the squeamish. Me? I ate a big bowl of popcorn with it, because as I said, while it is gory and horrific, it is also light and humorous too.

Extras included are:

  • Brian Yuzna Remembers Bride: This is a brand new featurette where the Director looks back on the making of the movie
  • Splatter Masters: Another brand new featurette looking at the special effects work on “Bride” with interviews with Screaming Mad George, Robert Kurtzman of KNB, Tony Dublin and John Buechler
  • Getting Ahead in Horror: Archival “Making of” with behind the scenes footage
  • Deleted Scenes: Meg Is Assembled-more of a “making of”, Carnival Sequence, done with narrated still shots
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Audio Commentaries

If you don’t have Blu-ray, not to fear: this limited edition comes with a DVD as well.

4.5 / 5.0