Re-Animator Blu-ray Review
The horror genre can be known for being one of the most unoriginal out there, relying on sequel after sequel of familiar slasher movies. However, it can also be the most inventive when a writer decides to think outside the box and go a little crazy. Re-Animator is one of those times where a more original idea is examined and taken to a whole new level by its lead Jeffrey Combs. Based on HP Lovecraft’s story ‘Herbert West – Reanimator’, the Stuart Gordon-directed sci-fi horror movie has become a cult film over the past 30 years and now reaches us in a new limited edition 2-disc Blu-ray steelbook from Second Sight.
What’s It About? If you’re a horror fan then no doubt you already know all about Re-Animator but for those of you who are uninitiated in the experimental ways of Herbert West (Combs), he’s a man who likes to bring dead people back to life. If it sounds a bit Frankenstein-esque then it’s no surprise as Lovecraft was certainly influenced in a parodic sense, and to that end the feel of Re-Animator certainly has a lot of comedy to it – if you’re slightly twisted like West is. After bringing back a dead professor in Switzerland, West moves to New England after being accused of killing him. Here he furthers his studies with varying degrees of success, as you can imagine. Whether it’s a human or a cat, West is determined to make his green fluid the antidote to death. There’s a desperation and madness to West and his plans predictably unravel and result in many body parts and blood on screen.
Verdict: To this day, Re-Animator remains a gory yet entertaining horror flick deserving of its cult status. Combs as Herbert West is an iconic horror character much like Ash in Evil Dead or similar – someone a little bit on the edge of crazy, but also humourous in their own way. Granted there shouldn’t really be anything funny about re-animating corpses, but Re-Animator maintains a dark humour that works even now. Decades before anyone knew about The Human Centipede, here we had a crazy man doing his own experiments, but for a much different reason. There’s a violence and terror to Re-Animator that is never lost, especially under a ridiculous amount of blood! It might be hard for some people to stomach, but it never gets to the point where anyone would need to turn it off. This is a modern day take on Lovecraft’s work, but the main elements stay the same and remain relevant today.
Of course, the film looks like one that was made in the 80s, but that just adds to the schlock value of the piece. It has never looked better than on this Blu-ray release, but much like something like Evil Dead, Re-Animator was never famed for its incredible production values. It is remembered for the expert performance of Jeffrey Combs and the strangely humourous disgustingness of it all; and if you’ve never seen it before, it’s well worth a look.
Extras: Second Sight have done a highly commendable job on this new Re-Animator release, proving just how loved the film is even now. The first disc provides the Uncut version of the movie alongside interesting commentaries with director Stuart Gordon, and producer Brian Yuzna and some of the main cast members. The second disc has the Integral version which puts back deleted and extended scenes, making for a different experience. Also there’s an in-depth documentary Re-Animator Resurrectus, as well as interviews, trailers and a gallery. There’s something for everyone here, and even the most hardcore Re-Animator fans won’t be disappointed.
Final Words: I hadn’t seen Re-Animator for over 10 years and yet many scenes stuck with me as they were some of the bloodiest and strangest I had seen. As a die-hard horror fan, that’s quite hard to live up to, but Re-Animator stands the test of time and it deserves to reach a whole new generation of horror fans. Whether it’s your first time or your tenth, Re-Animator looks fantastic here and Combs’ performance is outstanding. Modern-day horror movie-makers could learn a lot from this.
Re-Animator is out now on 2-disc DVD and Blu-ray limited edition steelbook.