August 2017


Arrow Films/MVD
Blu-Ray Review By: Jaime Pina

Released by Charles Band’s Empire International Pictures who had been in the business of unleashing low budget B-movies like Troll, Prison and Ghoulies, Re-Animator came as a complete surprise. Every once in a while Empire would deliver a real winner like Terrorvision or Trancers starring the very underrated Tim Thomerson and when they started hyping a film based on an obscure novella by H.P. Lovecraft, expectations weren’t very high. Re-Animator ended up raising the bar for extreme horror in general and spawned two sequels and a musical.

Jeffrey Combs (From Beyond, The Frighteners) plays student Herbert West who enrolls at Lovecraft’s’ fictional Miskatonic University after having some trouble studying under Dr. Karl Gruber in Europe. Brash and disrespectful, he rubs everyone the wrong way including his new roommate Dan Cain played by Bruce Abbott (The Last Starfighter, The Prophecy II) who also happens to be engaged to the Dean’s daughter Megan played by Barbara Crampton (Chopping Mall, The Days Of Our Lives). West’s experiments soon land them in trouble. He and Cain are expelled from the school but not before reeking havoc that results in several violent attacks from corpses brought back to life by West. A professor at the school named Dr. Carl Hill played by the brilliant David Gale (The Secret Storm, The Guyver), who West has publicly accused of stealing ideas from Dr. Gruber, soon learns of West’s re-animating serum and steals that as well. Soon bodies are piling up and then coming back to life with horrific results.

After being unleashed Re-Animator caused a sensation and was the must-see horror film of that year. It pushed many envelopes besides gore with its offbeat humor and use of male and female nudity. The “giving head” scene was a scream with a live theatre audience. Later on when it was released on video it was cut to an R rating with a good portion of its extreme gore and nudity edited out. Arrow has released the film in both the unrated version and the “integral” version. Like most edited versions, the R rated cut had material to flesh it out not included in the unrated cut. The integral cut fuses the extra R-rated footage into the unrated version creating a hybrid version.

Both discs in this set have plenty of outstanding extras. Arrow has included the feature length documentary produced by Anchor Bay for their deluxe DVD edition. The film looks and sounds fantastic with Richard Band’s homage to Bernard Herrmann pounding out nice and loud. If you already own Anchor Bay’s deluxe DVD box set (with the syringe pen with green ink), don’t balk at spending more to upgrade to this version.

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