Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

Beyond Re-Animator‘ was released in 2003 and was directed by Brian Yunza. It is the third installment of the ‘Re-Animator’ series, and was released 13 years after the sequel – a time span that is referenced in the movie as we join Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs), the demented but lovable villain from the Re-Animator series, who has been languishing in prison for the same amount of time due to his previous exploits.

The distribution rights to ‘Beyond Re-Animator‘ were acquired by the Sci-Fi Channel and a heavily edited version was shown first on the channel. The full gore soaked and R-rated version was then released to DVD.

In the words of Jack Black: “Is it in fact unfair to criticize a formerly great artist for his latter day sins… is it better to burn out or fade away?” The original Re-Animator (1985) is deservedly a genre classic; it hits the ultimate sweet-spot blend of gore, slapstick humor, and genuine creepiness. Dr. Herbert West (Jeffery Combs, beloved by both horror fanatics and trekkies alike – a rare feat) is a great villain rooted in literary cult hero H.P. Lovecraft; his nonchalant view on life and death, singular vision, and overall smarminess/arrogance conjures up visions of classic genre icons (especially those played by Vincent Price).

It is one of those ‘80s horror flicks that is an inspiration, and a true testament to how good it can get. This all puts a lot of pressure on the sequels.

Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

Although not on the same level as the first film, Bride of Re-Animator (1990) is fun, shares the same tongue in cheek attitude, and fulfills all your blood-n-guts desires, even though the plot makes little sense following the original’s conclusion……but who needs logic when there is a decapitated head narrating.

Beyond Re-Animator again ignores the events of its predecessor, and slips a little bit farther down the quality scale. West is finally incarcerated for his murderous shenanigans, but manages to continue his work with the help of some rats and the new prison doctor, Howard Phillips.

Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

In addition to re-animating, the good doctor can now transfer an energy he has discovered that is basically the soul; this makes for a more lifelike walking dead. Settling into a familiar plot structure, Philips falls in love with journalist, Laura, but she is killed by the horny/evil prison warden and is subsequently re-animated with the re-agent and soul energy. Naturally, she goes mad and the shit hits the fan with a prison full of undead maniacs.

Part of the problem with Beyond Re-Animator is that they waited too long. The look of B-movie horror made in the ‘00s isn’t the same (the picture is overly sharp and the bad sets are excessively lit); a lot of the magic has been lost. Horror in the postmodern age is a little too self-aware at times, with sub-par actors not even trying or caring because they know what kind of movie they’re in.

With that said, the film has some insane, very bloody moments that make it worth the watch. This is not one for the causal viewer, only genre connoisseurs will appreciate the over the top carnage. There are two things the series as a whole has done right: hiring Combs, whose quality acting seems almost out of place in this film, and great make-up/special effects.

Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

All the Re-Animator movies deliver the kind of gore that horror fans dream of, where you are simultaneously laughing and exclaiming, “Aw man, that’s sick!”

And everyone loves a good zombie prison riot filled with rat people, a re-animated torso, and melting bodies, right? RIGHT?.

Let’s be real, where else could you possibly see a rat fight with a severed penis?

Watch the trailer for ‘Beyond Re-Animator’:


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Written by: Danielle Beauchea