Re-Animator – DVD Review

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Anchor Bay presents Re-Animator. Written by Dennis Paoli, William J. Norris, & Stuart Gordon. Based on the short story “Herbert West — The Re-Animator” by H.P. Lovecraft. 86 minutes. Not Rated. Contains large amounts of gore, some nudity and strong language. Originally released in 1985.

Directed By:

Stuart Gordon

Cast:

Jeffrey Combs. Herbert West
Bruce Abbott. Dan Cain
Barbara Crampton. Megan Halsey
David Gale. Dr. Carl Hill
Robert Sampson. Dean Alan Halsey

The Film:

If you like movies with over the top gore, gratuitous nudity, campy acting and severed heads being carried around by their bodies then this is the movie for you!

Jeffrey Combs plays the very memorable Herbert West who is a classic mad scientist. He does crazy, twisted stuff and rationalizes all of it as scientific research. Even when he brings a severed human head back to life he is so focused on what the head has to say that he doesn’t notice the headless body creeping up behind him. Combs in fantastic in this role playing just slightly over the top to give his character that insane edge that makes him so entertaining.

However Herbert is not our main character. The hero of this story is Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott), a promising medical student who’s in love with the dean’s daughter Megan (Barbara Crampton). Dan’s life is turned upside down when Herbert moves in with him. Herbert is peculiar, but Dan doesn’t know how much until he learns about Herbert’s studies in re-animating dead tissue.

Herbert easily convinces Dan to help him with his research and soon they are sneaking into the morgue in attempts to re-animate a human corpse. Chaos ensues when the corpse comes to life and is none to happy about being awakened from his eternal rest.

From there the movie delves into realms of gore and insanity still shocking by today’s standards. The scene where Herbert decapitates a man with a shovel is fantastic, and then there’s the infamous scene where the man with the severed head attempts to pleasure a tied down Megan. This scene is equally amusing and disturbing.

Re-Animator is, without a doubt, a classic horror film and essential viewing for all horror fans. It perfectly balances the gore and the humor throughout. However, those who are even remotely squeamish should stay away. Sadly, they just don’t make horror films like this anymore.


The Mad Herbert West has a conversation with a severed head!

The DVD:

The Video:

The film is presented in widescreen 1.85:1 and is enhanced for 16×9 TVs. For a low budget 80’s film it is well shot, capturing all the horror and campy gore gloriously. And the transfer here is fantastic. The film has been remastered and looks better than ever.

The Audio:

The film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and original 2.0. The sound is great as well. Even Band’s derivative score sounds great. They really pulled out all the stops when putting this disc together.

Extras:

On top of the two discs worth of extras, this edition of the film also comes with a syringe shaped highlighter that looks like it’s filled with the re-animating goo.

Disc One:

Audio Commentary with Stuart Gordon: This commentary is the far more serious of the two. Gordon spends his time talking about making the film and the little details that make a commentary interesting. Much of this is information found in the documentary, however, making some of this redundant.

Audio Commentary with Brian Yuzna, Bruce Abbott, Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton and Robert Sampson: Here we have the producer and the cast reminiscing about how much fun they had on the set. This is a much more lighthearted affair and quite a joy to listen to.

Disc Two:

Re-Animator Ressurectus: A 70-minute retrospective about the making of this movie. This is a fantastic documentary that follows the whole story from initial conception to all the gory details. Everyone involved from Stuart Gordon to the actors is interviewed here.

Interview with Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna: This is mostly a rehash of the info you get from the documentary with a few more details thrown in.

Interview with Writer Dennis Paoli: This interview focuses on how the script came to its final incarnation and all the transitions it went through. Should appeal to aspiring writers.

Interview with Composer Richard Band: Band takes us through the process of how he came to copy Bernard Herman’s Psycho score for this film.

Music Discussion with Composer Richard Band: For this featurette, Band walks us through a couple scenes and explains how he added mood to a scene with music; the scene is played with the music only and you see how effective it really is.

Interview with Fangoria Editor Tony Timpone: Fanboy fluff. Nothing more.

Deleted/Extended Scenes: Nothing of interest here. Most this stuff should have stayed on the cutting room floor.

On this disc you’ll also find: Trailer & TV Spots, Production, Behind-The-Scenes & Fun On The Set Still Galleries, Posters and Advertising Gallery, Storyboard Gallery and Stuart Gordon Bio .

DVD-ROM Features: Pop this disc in your computer and you can read the films script as well as the original H.P. Lovecraft short story.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Re-Animator
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

8
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

9
REPLAY VALUE

9
OVERALL
8.5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

The Inside Pulse
If you’re a horror fan this DVD is a must have. Not only do you get one of the greatest 80’s horror films, but this set is overloaded with great extras.