Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

Starring Jeffrey Combs, Jason Barry, Bárbara Elorrieta, Elsa Pataky, Santiago Segura, Simón Andreu, Tommy Dean Musset,

Directed by Brian Yuzna

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
twostar


Let me just start off by saying that Beyond Re-Animator is a lot better than I expected, but it still doesn’t come close to the original. It’s about as good as the previous entry, Bride of Re-Animator, but arguments could be made and it all really comes down to preference anyway. Overall, I preferred this one to the last one if only because the story was different and wasn’t so much of a cookie-cutter redo of the original.

The film opens with a boy and his friend camping outside their house. Some strange noises prompt them to investigate. The noises turn out to be a lurking zombie with no jaw and one hell of a tongue, who kills the kid’s sister right in front of him and then tries to guzzle down the milk left on the counter. The cops come and arrest the man responsible who was found playing around in the adjacent graveyard, one Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs). As he’s put into the police cruiser, he drops a syringe of reagent which the kid retrieves. Fourteen years later the child has struggled to figure out how that sister-killing zombie was possible and it leads him to the medical profession. He gets a job at the prison where West is held and the two start up a relationship similar to the West/Cain dynamic of the first two films.

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Bride of Re-Animator (1991)

Starring Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Claude Earl Jones, Fabiana Udenio, David Gale, Kathleen Kinmont, Mel Stewart, Irene Forrest, Michael Strasser, Mary Sheldon

Directed by Brian Yuzna

Expectations: Moderate.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
twostar


Okay, so Re-Animator is an ’80s horror classic. Bride of Re-Animator is a poor follow-up on many levels, but it has so much crazy imagery sprinkled throughout its 96 minutes that it’s impossible to simply dismiss it and call it a day. Just about everything good working for the first film is here, but all of it in diminished form, so viewers are left with a less-than-animated sequel that fulfills some insane fantasies of the morbid mind, but forgets to completely entertain along the way.

Eight months after the final events of the first film, our heroes(?) Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and Dan Cain (Bruce Abbot) have fled to South America. They’re working under the guise of field medics, but are actually continuing their re-animation research. West is never one to rest on his laurels though and has now shifted focus to body part re-animation and the actual creation of completely new life! It can’t be done some would say, but West laughs in the face of the medical profession and proves it is in fact possible!

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Re-Animator (1985)

Starring Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale, Robert Sampson, Gerry Black

Directed by Stuart Gordon

Expectations: High. I’ve been building this movie up in my head for years.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
fourstar


Distributed by Empire International, Re-Animator is one of the hallmarks of 1980s horror cinema. Finally watching it after all these years of build up was something of an event and one that I truly enjoyed, even with my high expectations. Based on a little known story called Herbert West–Reanimator by H.P. Lovecraft, the film is so much more than the simple Frankenstein re-telling I expected it to be. Apparently Lovecraft wrote the story as a parody of Mary Shelley’s classic tale and while the filmed story differs quite a bit from the original, it can still be seen as a slight parody re-telling.

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