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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Re-Animator: SE
Re-Animator: SE
Elite // Unrated // October 26, 1999
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Dvdempire]
Review by G. Noel Gross | posted August 16, 2001 | E-mail the Author
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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CineSchlock-O-Rama

Much to the chagrin of the sharks that circle the waters of Anchor Bay and eBay, the good people of Elite Entertainment would like to remind folks that their special edition of Re-Animator (1985, 86 minutes) is still very much IN PRINT, thank you very much. First time director Stuart Gordon and his Organic Theater pals thought it'd be a swell idea to make a cheap (and hopefully marketable) horror movie. So, he fished up a series of weird short stories written by H.P. Lovecraft called "Herbert West, Re-Animator" and 800 buckets of blood later they made horror history. But once the MPAA got a hold of the flick, there wasn't much left but the credits, so the distributors just hauled off and released it "Unrated," which was hardly ever done at the time. Actually, there IS an R-rated cut of the film that somehow runs LONGER than the original. Instead of all the gore and zany zombie love, the cast take turns pitching horseshoes and telling lawyer jokes for a half hour. Doesn't have quite the same oomph at all.

The movie: In a moment of post-coital bliss, med student Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) attempts to coax his girlfriend Megan (Barbara Crampton) into agreeing to move in with him. Being the good little girl she is, it's no dice. Instead, he opts for a platonic roommate and the bizarre Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) arrives with cash and luggage in tow and refuses to take "No" for an answer. West has wholly unconventional theories on medicine, and specifically, on the finality of death itself. He's immediately at odds with everyone he encounters: Dan, Megan and especially Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale), who he treats with rabid contempt. Among sets filled with cadavers and other mad-scientist trappings, this odd tale marches into the macabre with its tongue planted firmly in its cheek and leaves a trail of crimson footprints behind. West has developed some glowing ooze that re-animates dead tissue and creates quite a scene. Especially when he juices up Dan's deceased kitty cat and it zombies out and gets medieval on West in the basement. The mayhem escalates in gleefully disgusting ways. CineSchlockers will appreciate the overt odes to other horror classics, most notably The Brain That Wouldn't Die. Grue-producer Brian Yuzna directed Combs and Abbott in the sequel Bride of Re-Animator (also available on DVD) where the fellas attempt to find a perfect mate with the help of that green, glowing hypo. Beyond Re-Animator is said to be on the horizon.

Notables: Six breasts. 14 corpses. Exploding eyeballs. Q-Tip to the brain. Reckless pencil breaking. Diddling. Cat calling. Finger munching. Decapitation with shovel. Severed headbutt. Axe to the arm. Gratuitous defibrillation footage. Killer intestine. Advanced heterosexual tongue rasslin'.

Quotables: Morgue security guard (Gerry Black) waxes philosophic, "Don't know why they keep locked doors around here -- nobody wants in and there ain't nobody gettin' out." Herbert has cross words for Dr. Hill, "Who's going to believe a talking head? Get a job in a sideshow! ... I'm very disappointed in you. You steal the secret of life and death, and here you are trysting with a bubble-headed coed. You're not even a second-rate scientist!" While Hill hisses, "Youuuuu bassssssstardddd."

Time codes: When "No! No! No!" means "Yes! Yes! Yes!" (10:00). Cat returned for 10th life is mighty purr-turbed (25:50). First re-animation of a human corpse (38:25). Detached craniums give good ... (1:09:15).

Audio/Video: Entirely average widescreen (1.85:1) print that suffers during dimly lit scenes, and guess what, being a horror flick there are a bunch of those. The disc also pre-dates Elite's relatively new commitment to anamorphic transfers (with Communion). Utilitarian Dolby Digital mono track suits Richard Band's peppy, Psycho-inspired score.

Extras: Two audio commentaries. The first features director Stuart Gordon who peppers the track with lots of details in a highly relaxed manner. The second is a bit more "fun" as producer Brian Yuzna and cast members Bruce Abbott, Jeffrey Combs, Robert Sampson (Dean Halsey) and Barbara Crampton giggle and tease each other throughout the screening. There are several gaps when the entire group gets wrapped up in the flick and forget to say anything. Sixteen deleted scenes amounting to about 23 minutes (mostly from the R-rated version), plus an excised three-minute dream sequence (featuring an orgasmic Ms. Crampton). Theatrical trailers and TV spots. No printed insert or liner notes, so don't worry yourself about them.

Final thought: Glorious mix of wry humor and smartly executed gore sequences that thrill, repulse and amuse in unison. The severed head nookie is the stuff of B-legend. Highly Recommended.

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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