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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Beyond Re-Animator: SE
Beyond Re-Animator: SE
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // R // December 30, 2003
List Price: $26.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by G. Noel Gross | posted January 12, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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CineSchlock-O-Rama

Producer turned gorteur turned Barcelona-based studio mogul Brian Yuzna credits the DVD boom with, ahem, re-animating this franchise after a full decade of financier indifference. Something no amount of glowing green goo could do! Who'd have thunk SPAIN would usher Dr. Herbert West into the new millennium? As if it even matters. They could've made this follow-up to Bride of Re-Animator on Mars and it'd still be an IMMENSELY more fruitful venture filled with reverence for Stuart Gordon's classick, buoyed by Jeffrey Combs' ever-delish deadpan doc and greased with glorious grue. Yet diehards will ask: "Just how MUCH gore and did every arch of crimson survive the MPAA?" Well, this knowitall simply doesn't -- for now. Never fear! A German CineSchlocker once copiously detailed 20 SECONDS of cuts between the Canadian and U.S. versions of The Convent.* No doubt we'll soon learn Beyond's fate frame-by-frame. Although Mr. Yuzna made no reference to trims or alterations in his commentary, rather he says, from the beginning, he approached the film much differently FX-wise than the Plasma Slip 'N' Slide days of the original or even his own Return of the Living Dead 3. "It isn't as violent and gruesome as the first movie, and I have to admit, I kind of would've liked to see the movie a bit more extreme in the gore department," Yuzna explains. "I think, today, the gore has to be a little cleaner than what was acceptable back in the '80s." That said, yours truly would argue Yuzna doth protest MUCH too much given the amount of murderous mayhem he DOES sling onto the screen.

The flick opens on the night of Bride's climatic unpleasantness when one of Dr. West's patients wanders off to borrow a quart of milk from a neighbor and even MORE unpleasantness ensues. Tragically, said events are witnessed by an adolescent Howard Phillips who becomes obsessed with West after also stumbling across a vile of luminescent Re-Agent just as the good doctor's stuffed into the back of a patrol car. Thirteen years later, West still proves himself as hard to keep down as his patients, even after being locked away in the pokey for being a mad scientist and all. It's there that an all grow'd up DOCTOR Phillips arrives -- not to settle a score but to hang his shingle alongside West's. Meanwhile, there's a sadistic warden (Simon Andreu) who makes Howie's reporter bunk-buddy Laura (the scrumptious Elsa Pataky) get on all fours and bark like a doggie. He gets even NASTIER after that -- for which he's duly repaid in I Spit on Your Grave fashion. There's an inmate called Moses (Nico Baixas) who resembles Pluto from The Hills Have Eyes without the cadaver costume jewelry. He's a deeply religious and understandably conflicted cannibal who blubbers for forgiveness in between snacks. One of which, in a Freudian sense, suggests he's really just looking for his mommy. Before it's all over the whole sucker erupts into a good ol' fashion PRISON RIOT except this is the first you'll ever see where the re-animated TORSO of a rodent-loving gang leader (Enrique Arce) delivers a terrific two-fisted hiney whupping or where a stoner stops down mid-melee to mainline Re-Agent. Let's just say they've both got GUTS! The piece d'resistance, though, is cinema's first documentation of wangdoodle vs. rat fisticuffs!!!

However, none of it -- even THAT -- would be nearly as much F-U-N without Jeffrey Combs clutching the syringe. To put it country simple: he's the genre Cary Grant to Clint Howard's Jimmy Stewart. Combs in there a THOUSAND percent anytime he's on camera which, no doubt, is why he's such a persistent presence, especially on television where he's guest starred as just about every flavor of space alien there is on "Star Trek: This, That and the Other." Most recently, he got himself painted BLUE and antennas stuck to his noggin to trade furrow'd brows with Scott Bakula. Must make a fourth Re-Animator all the more enticing!

Three breasts. 23 corpses. Projectile innards. Nipple noshing. Ear munching. Arm noshing. Rat gulping. Rat roasting. CGI shenanigans. Neck slashing. Exceedingly nimble nymph. Oral dissatisfaction. Gratuitous killer cam. Diddling. Electrocution. Laura takes a self-deprecating stab at the leering press: "Anything you say to me can, and will, be misquoted or taken out of context." Dr. West sizes up his newest apprentice: "My last partner turned state's evidence against me. I'm expecting better things of you!" Later, young Dr. Phillips isn't so sure that wasn't a reasonable decision: "I want to help people! Not create mindless FREAKS!!!"

As mentioned earlier, director Brian Yunza provides a feature-length commentary in which he talks further about "keeping in mind a little bit broader audience" for this picture, why H.P. Lovecraft's name has been removed from the title and what it's been like making films in Spain. Pity Combs is absent. He does, however, add wry repartee to the Barcelona-produced "making of" where he, Yunza and Mr. Barry are the lone English speakers (17 mins). Subtitles are provided for those CineSchlockers who can still connect cohesive thoughts after hearing Ms. Pataky roll her Rs in her native tongue -- if you know what I mean and I think you do. No time for a cold shower? Then fire up the "Dr. Re-Animator" dance hit "Move Your Dead Bones." Who knew it was possible to make Crispin Glover's bizzaro "Ben" video seem sane? Behold ...

Come on, boys and girls, come a little closer
I'm the Re-Animator!

Come on! Re-animate your feet!

If you're feeling dead, I'll be your Re-Animator
I've got the way to bring you to life
A superior existence with no one to control you
Where you can always do what you like

Let me give you some green color and you will ask for more
You will see that you never felt this way before
Party without limits, have sex and don't be blue
Freedom is eternal for you, you, you!

Move your dead bones, bones, bones
Move your dead bones, bones, bones
The secret will keep you alive!

Move your dead bones, bones, bones
Move your dead bones, bones, bones
You'll dance for the rest of your life!

Move your dead bones, bones, bones
Move your dead bones, bones, bones
The secret will keep you alive!

Move your dead bones, bones, bones
Move your dead bones, bones, bones
You'll dance for the rest of your life!

Re-animate your feet!

All you people listen to your Re-Animator
Don't hesitate and give it a try
And you'll be quite satisfied
Just as long as I can give you a guarantee that you'll never die

Let me give you some green color and you will ask for more
You will see that you never felt this way before
Party without limits, have sex and don't be blue
Freedom is eternal for you, you, you!

Move your dead bones, bones, bones
Move your dead bones, bones, bones
The secret will keep you alive!

Move your dead bones, bones, bones
Move your dead bones, bones, bones
You'll dance for the rest of your life!

Re-animate your feet!

Re-animate your feet!

Move your dead bones, bones, bones
Move your dead bones, bones, bones
The secret will keep you alive!

Move your dead bones, bones, bones
Move your dead bones, bones, bones
You'll dance for the rest of your life!

Move your dead bones, bones, bones
Move your dead bones, bones, bones
The secret will keep you alive!

Move your dead bones, bones, bones
Move your dead bones, bones, bones
You'll dance for the rest of your life!

Re-animate your feet!

Rumor has it foreign buyers could be heard singing drunken renditions in karaoke bars when the vid was used to promote the flick at Cannes. Do NOT let this happen to you! Sober or otherwise. (2003, 95 mins, 1.85:1 anam, DD 5.1 & 2.0, Director commentary, "Making of" reel, Music video, Trailers, No printed insert.)

* Update 04/04: And now Guido strikes again ...

Check out CineSchlock-O-Rama
for additional reviews and bonus features.

G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.
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