Director: Brian Yuzna. Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Claude Earl Jones. Theatrical release: 1989. Company: Wild Street. Special Edition Blu-ray/DVD release through Arrow Video
If you have read my Night Things books, you’ll see that I have a particular fondness for Herbert West. A character from a throw away episodic series that Lovecraft hobbled together (influenced mainly by Shelley’s Frankenstein), Dr. West has become an iconic horror figure. The first Re-Animator film is easily in my top three 80’s splatter fests. I have seen Bride of Re-Animator a few times over the years, but it never really found a spot in my video library. But when the new Arrow Video edition of Bride hit my player, it became evident to me that I had not really given the film a chance.
In this outing, Herbert (Jeffrey Combs) and Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) continue their mad experiments. Herbert uses a piece of Dan’s departed love (Megan’s heart) to build the perfect woman. Using various dead parts, he uses Dan’s misery over losing Megan to keep his assistant and experiments alive.
You simply cannot envision Herbert West without seeing Jeffrey Combs in the role. He embodies the part perfectly. If you think people threw a fit when Freddy and Jason were cast without Englund and Hodder, just imagine a reboot without Combs. Villages would burn.
With this installment, West begins to show how mad he truly is. He takes more of a perverse pleasure in his experiments. You start to see that mean streak exhibited in Lovecraft’s original stories. Abbott works well as Herbert’s straight man, Dan Cain. But a few scenes of Herbert convincing Dan to continue with the work feel very flat. That is really my only complaint about the movie itself. Dan is convinced, fairly easily, to see Herbert’s creation through and I always felt Dan had a bit more backbone. The highlight of the film, of course, is the final act gorefest. The team of Screaming Mad George, Richard Kilroy, Robert Kurtzman and Greg Nicotero (you’ve heard of them, right?) hand in some great, gruesome practical effects.
The disc itself is packed with bonuses. The highlight is Brian Yuzna discussing what Bride would have been, given more time and money. The behind the scenes footage of David Gale as dead head Dr. Hill is a lot of fun as well. Arrow Video did a hell of a job with this one, folks. I highly recommend adding this to your collection, based on the extensive added bonuses. The film looks great. The 2K restoration makes this the best viewing you can possibly imagine. This might be one of the best horror film packages I have ever seen.
Check out this video from Arrow video regarding their special edition of Bride of Re-Animator: