Re-Animator (1985) | Stuart Gordon’s cult comedy horror is back, kicking and screaming in gore-ious HD

Re-Animator Steelbook

Herbert West Has A Very Good Head On His Shoulders…
And Another One In A Dish On His Desk

Brilliant medical student Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) arrives at Miskatonic University and immediately clashes with the eminent Professor Hill (David Gale) over his views on brain death. Obsessed with his own radical theories, West concocts an adrenaline-like serum that will bring the dead back to life. Roping in idealistic student Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) and Dan’s girlfriend Megan (Barbara Crampton), their shocking experiments work all too well, allowing limbs to move, heads to speak, corpses to go berserk and giant intestines to have a life of their own. Stealing the serum, the power crazed Dr Hill then plans to kidnap Megan for his own sick, perverted pleasure – and that’s after he gets his head chopped off. Barf bags at the ready!

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1985 was a great year for some cult-worthy zombie flicks. George A Romero’s Day of the Dead gave his original Living Dead trilogy a grim but superior send off, while The Return of the Living Dead (also available through Second Sight Films) was an inspired punk-fused spoof of the genre. But Re-Animator was a real game changer: a ghoulishly gruesome, outrageously funny thrill ride that rightfully deserves its place in the Horror Hall of Fame. Dripping in gallons of blood, gore and gallows humour, it’s the mad scientist flick that refuses to die and – beyond the shock value – still it holds it own thanks to the witty script, crazy camp performances, and audacious, eye-popping pre-CGI effects. It also propelled director Stuart Gordon, actor Jeffrey Combs and producer Brian Yuzna into horror fandom.

Stuart Gordon's Re Animator (1985)

Inspired by Roger Corman’s Gothic Poe pictures starring Vincent Price, Gordon wanted to mine the stories of HP Lovecraft, beginning with his 1922 serial, Herbert West: Re-Animator, to launch his own series of films. But the path from script to screen ended up the stuff of horror cinema legend (check it out on the great Re-Animator Resurrectus extra on this release).

Shot over 22 arduous days, on a budget of just under US$1million, at the same crumbling LA studios that The Terminator was filmed at, Re-Animator was produced by new kid on the block, Brian Yuzna, but owned by Empire Pictures, whose owner Charles Band insisted on bringing in his own crew, including brother Richard, who supplied the film’s cult hit Psycho-inspired score.

Released unrated into US theatres to avoid any cuts by the censor, the gross-out comedy horror became an unexpected critical success at Cannes and quickly recouped its budget, landing Stuart Gordon a three-picture film deal with Empire – starting with From Beyond (also available from Second Sight Films), while its cult status was forever sealed when it was released onto home video (which is how most fans remember the film).

Empire later assembled an R-rated cut, which added 10 minutes to the running time. This (integral) version offers more in the way of character development (especially Dr Hill’s mind control abilities), but it also excised some of the films’ most memorable gore sequences. The Second Sight release presents both this version (great for completists), as well as a brand spanking new 4k print of the unrated version (for the purists), making this bona fide classic of the horror genre a must-have title for your horror collection.

Stuart Gordon's Re Animator (1985)

‘A livid, bloody, deadpan exercise in the theatre of the undead’
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times (Ebert famously championed the movie)

‘A jaw-dropping, steroid-loaded zombie masterpiece’
Glen, Kay, Zombie Movies; The Ultimate Guide

‘Morally offensive’
US Conference if Catholic Bishops Office for Films and Broadcasting

Stuart Gordon's Re Animator (1985)

Second Sight‘s Blu-ray Steelbook contains two versions of the gorefest and a bundle of extras (see below), while a two-disc DVD version is also available. The Region B Blu-ray transfer features the film in its 1.78:1 aspect ratio with 5.1 DTS-HD audio master and LPCM stereo option, while the DVD is coded Region 2 and features an 16:9 anamorphic widescreen print.

Disc One
• Unrated version – brand new 4K restoration
• Audio commentary with director Stuart Gordon
• Audio commentary with producer Brian Yuzna and actor Jeffrey Combs, Robert
Sampson, Barbara Crampton and Bruce Abbott

Disc Two
• Integral version (exclusive to Blu-ray)
Re-Animator Resurrectus: This terrific 2007 documentary looks back at the making of the film with the cast and crew and pays homage to actor David Gale who died in 1991.
• A selection of talking head interviews from 2002 with Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna, writer Dennis Paoli, composer Richard Band and Fangoria editor Tony Timpone
• Extended scenes, deleted scene and trailers
• Behind-the-scenes gallery and production stills


About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on June 5, 2014, in Cult classic, Horror, Must See, Must-See and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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