You can’t improve on Re-Animator (1985) folks: unbelievable gore, supreme character acting, a sweet little script.
But Bride of Re-Animator came just five years later packed with all the essentials: same cast, a script derived from H.P. Lovecraft’s original source material, and yes, that same slice of giddy gore. We don’t get director Stuart Gordon, but we do have the ol’ horror producer switcheroo with former producer Brian Yuzna at the directing helm.
Bride of Re-Animator is that rare horror sequel that delivers exactly what it promises: Re-Animator doing Weird Science in as Re-Animator a way as possible. I’m about to say the phrase that every self-respecting horror fan has uttered at least once: Marry me, Jeffrey Combs. Marry me.
Always a Severed Head’s Maid, Never a BrideBruce Abbott and Jeffrey Combs reprise their roles as Dan Cain and Herbert West, picking up eight months from where Re-Animator left off.
After much experimenting with the zombie-producing re-agent from the first film, they return to the Miskatonic University Hospital where West gets it in his head to reanimate the perfect woman — conveniently using the heart of Megan, Cain’s fiancée from the first film.
Only Cain is at odds with our horrific hero. Hot on their tail is Lt. Leslie Chapman (Claude Earl Jones), a cop looking to nab the pair of scientists after losing his wife in the zombie massacre of the first film. Plus, the severed head of Dr. Carl Hill returns! Everyone’s out for everyone, but everyone is also out for love. Romantic notes knocked on in the first film come back with ghoulie arms extended.
Lust for BloodWhat makes a zombie film good? What’s that special blood that makes the undead pulse from out of the theater — or out of the bargain bin — and into our brains? I’ve given it plenty of thought, and I have the answer. It’s heart. The Re-Animator series has it. Heart comes through when one makes something out of pure joy. It can’t be profit-fueled. It can’t be rushed. It’s — in the most literal sense — a labor of love. And that’s why I particularly enjoy Re-Animator and its sequel. Love is such a fitting zombie metaphor, mulling over the fear of loved ones dying, testing lovers’ devotion, and examining the violence and pain we cause and receive from others.
But it’s also a great metaphor for zombie horror in general. The baseline is the same for everyone: group of people fighting zombies. But do the directors love what they’re making? Is it original, at least to them? Are they dying to create their dead? You see it in Jeffrey Combs. You see it in Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna. Romero, Fulci, Rami, O’Bannon. They’ve all got it. Who will have it next? We may not know now, but we’ll certainly feel it when we see it. Like a door splinter to the eye.
Watch ‘Bride of Re-animator’ below:
|Buy the film at Amazon.com|
|Buy the film at Amazon.co.uk|
Written by: Ben Mueller