RE-ANIMATOR (ANCHOR BAY COLLECTION)
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
A young, peculiar doctor named Herbert West has discovered a secret- just how to bring the dead back to life. His views conflict with that of the resident doctor at the hospital he's just joined, and absolute chaos ensues.
Is it good movie?
When I was a young lad, barely out of diapers, I vaguely remember seeing a movie trailer for a film that involved scary music, and a man holding a needle filled with a glowing green substance. I didn't know what it was called, but I knew that whatever it was, it was terrifying. Not to mention that the trailers were always accompanied by "warnings" that warded off those who were squeamish.
Anyway, what can I say about Re-Animator that hasn't already been said? You've all seen it- your older cousin showed it to you in his basement one evening when you were young and it scared the hell out of you, and well distracted as he made out with his girlfriend in the background while you wept.
Based on an old tale from the master of gothic horror, H.P. Lovecraft, Re-Animator is still quite shocking, and relevant even today. I mean, consider the idea that you could bring the dead back to life. The notion is still a very hot topic, and is quite deep and ethical. Of course, the whole thing is played quite a bit over-the-top and isn't dealt with tremendously seriously, but as the film builds to a tension point, the concept will likely be batted around between you and your friends.
With that being said, you will surely admire the characters in this film. Yes, it is true that the acting is a bit hammy, and certainly dated by today's standards, but still, the characters were all played deadly straight, and each actor played their hearts out. Honestly, who doesn't think that Jeffrey Combs isn't one of the most memorable character actors in quite some time? The man owns the screen.
I'm not going to tell you anything else about this film. You've already seen it, and if you haven't, trust me when I tell you that you have to. It is gory, shocking, sexy and controversial, even to this day. It holds up remarkably well, and if nothing else, I guarantee you you'll have something to talk about with your friends as you watch.
Video / Audio
Video is awesome here. Looks about as good as it possibly could, like a modern day release. Presented in 1.85:1 widescreen, Anchor Bay comes through again.
Take your pick of Audio tracks, they all sounded stellar to me- Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround, or DTS 5.1, all gold.
This disc has almost enough special features to make you hate this film. Almost, except it's friggin' Re-Animator,baby!
The selling point of this disc is the all-new documentary, Re-Animator Resurrectus. Let me tell you, this is one awesome piece of work. You'll learn about the theatrical origins of Stuart Gordon, how they avoided the MPAA, how the effects shots were done, how West was meant to be a secondary character, how the show was originally pitched as a mini-series to PBS, and other awesome facts. This alone would be enough, and as it is, is over an hour long and fantastic. Awesome stuff.
Would you care for a few galleries of pictures? You got 'em, encompassing Production Stills, Behind-the-Scene Stills, Poster and Advertising, as well as Storyboards.
Remember the TV spots and Trailer I mentioned earlier? They're here, in their cheesy glory.
Also, a little biography of Stuart Gordon is included too.
To continue the extra overload, we get Commentary by Director Stuart Gordon and a Commentary by Producer Brian Yuzna and Actors Bruce Abbott, Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, and Robert Sampson. Need overload? You've got tons of information. I'd love to sit and chat with Gordon and Combs, they seem like really friendly guys who love their craft.
How do you fancy candid interviews? You get those too, with Director Stuart Gordon and Producer Brian Yuzna,Writer Dennis Paoli a music discussion with Richard Band, and a short interview with Fangoria's editor, Tony Timpone. These interviews range from awesome to sort of lame. Gordon and Yuzna have the best segment, spanning over an hour and just having a blast reminiscing about the film. Paoli's interview was pretty interesting with a few insights into the film's composition, while Band's interview is an explanation as to how his score is an homage to Psycho rather than a rip-off, as is widely criticized. Timpone adds a bit of a fanboy dimension to the film, in a very short segment about seeing it when it was released.
Got a DVD-Rom? Check out the screenplay and original story while you're at it! Awesome.
If you like horror flicks, you need to own this. On top of the awesome features, you get a highlighter that looks like the famous syringe West injects into the cadavers! so anyway, stop reading this, and order this DVD now before you wake up next to a re-animated severed head.