Re-Animator Review (Arrow Video Limited Edition Blu-ray)

by | Aug 23, 2017 | Arrow Video Review, Blu-Ray Review, Movie Review | 1 comment

PLOT SUMMARY

Medical student, Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) is in desperate need of a new roommate, and what better person than the quiet Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs). Moving in, however, is all part of West’s plan to get Dan to help him out on his re-animating serum, that only has a few quirks to work out, mainly the homicidal zombie like rage that re-animated corpses experience. Still, Dan sees the potential and agrees to help. Unfortunately for the two of them, crazy Hypno doctor Carl Hill (David Gale) also sees the potential and will stop at nothing to get the serum, the credit and Dan’s girlfriend Megan (Barbara Crampton). Cue the wacky re-animated, plasma drenched shenanigans and Barbara’s delicious naked body. Man, I love this movie!

Director: Stuart Gordon
Actors: Jeffrey Combs, David Gale, Barbara Crampton
Genre: Horror
Year of Release: 1985

Film review

As evident in the special feature A Guide to Lovecraftian Cinema, there have been many Lovecraft adaptions, but Re-Animator is probably one of the best ones. That’s all thanks to director Stuart Gordon, cast Jeffrey Combs, David Gale, Barbara Crampton, the amazing special effects and the quirky humour that runs through its veins.

Re-Animator is a blood drenched special effects extravaganza, that doesn’t shy away from showing all the gooey details, be it re-animated corpses coming to life or the beautiful Barbara Crampton strapped naked to a table while a severed head licks her entire body.

The dark humour that runs throughout Re-Animator helps make the movie more enjoyable, and it is one horror film that doesn’t want you to take it seriously, a running trend with Stuart Gordon directed films.

Re-Animator has been cut together into a few different versions, but the one version that has become accepted by almost everyone is titled the Integral cut. This cut takes the unrated version and TV version and mashes them together to a create a more coherent story that relies on developing the plot, but not skipping out on the graphic gore. The unrated cut, on the other hand, is a faster-paced version, which says screw you plot, let’s just show Crampton’s boobs and some gnarly gore. Either version is fine, but the Integral comes out slightly ahead with a better narrative experience.  

Violence

Re-animator is a violent, blood drenched film with bursting eyeballs, mangled corpses, a severed talking head, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The film presents all of this with practical effects that are phenomenal. This is one film that is not for the faint of heart.

sex/nudity

Barbara Crampton bares it all in Re-Animator, and for that, I give her two standing ovations. She is drop dead gorgeous and has a nice pair of assets to go along with her righteous 80s bush.

Things to be prepared for: A severed head is licking Crampton’s boobs, and the head starts to go down town, before being rudely interrupted. Also, the occasional disfigured penis or boob. 

interesting elements

  • The aforementioned severed head who gets up close and personal with Barbara Crampton.

  • A naked re-animated corpse is causing all sorts of havoc, to then be put down in a gory fashion.

  • Pretty much the entire ending will have you grinning from ear to ear.

Blu-Ray specs

Format: Anamorphic, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
Language: English
Subtitles: 
English
Region: 
Region Free
Number of discs: 
2

Special Features:

  • 4K restorations of the Unrated and Integral versions of the film
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original Stereo 2.0 and 5.1 Audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Digipak packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by Justin Erickson
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by writer Michael Gingold
  • ReAnimator – the original 1991 comic book adaptation, reprinted in its entirety
Disc 1 – Unrated Version
  • Unrated version [86 mins]
  • Audio commentary with director Stuart Gordon
  • Audio commentary with producer Brian Yuzna, actors Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Bruce Abbott, and Robert Sampson
  • ReAnimator Resurrectus – documentary on the making of the film, featuring extensive interviews with cast and crew
  • Interview with director Stuart Gordon and producer Brian Yuzna
  • Interview with writer Dennis Paoli
  • Interview with composer Richard Band
  • Music Discussion with composer Richard Band
  • Interview with former Fangoria editor Tony Timpone
  • Barbara Crampton In Conversation -the ReAnimator star sits down with journalist Alan Jones for this career-spanning discussion
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Trailer & TV Spots
 
Disc 2 – Integral Version – Limited Edition Exclusive
  • Integral version [105 mins]
  • A Guide to Lovecraftian Cinema – brand new featurette looking at the many various cinematic incarnations of writer H.P. Lovecraft’s work
  • Doug Bradley’s Spinechillers: Herbert West – Reanimator – Jeffrey Combs reads the H.P. Lovecraft story Herbert West – Reanimator.

Blu-Ray Review

Video

One could quickly lose count of how many editions of Re-Animator are out there on DVD, Blu-ray and so on. It’s basically up there with Halloween and Evil Dead II. It’s pretty ridiculous, but I think we can finally end the costly buying cycle with Arrow Video’s Limited Edition release of Re-Animator. Stacked full, bursting at the seams with special features, the Blu-ray offers up two cuts of the film, the unrated edition and the integral cut, and both are 4K restorations at 1080p resolution; the film has never looked better.

I’ve compared screen grabs from other releases of Re-Animator, and I have to say that Arrow Video tops them all. Either the other releases had some DNR applied or had compression or softness issues, but none of that is an issue with the Arrow Video release. The grain is intact but never heavy, and there are some scratches present but never distracting. This Blu-ray release is the be all end all of Re-Animator transfers. In the gallery above, I have provided a few different screen shots of the different versions (thanks to caps-a-holic), and you can see for yourself how damn beautiful the Arrow release looks.

Audio

As for the audio presentation of Re-Animator, the Unrated version of the film is presented in Mono,  stereo 2.0 and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio. The Integral cut is presented in only DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, and I felt the Integral cut’s sound was a bit on the low end and I didn’t hear much rear channel use. 

Extra features

Arrow offers up plenty of new and old material to peruse through. If you want to watch and listen to it all, you are going to be days doing so. If you want to watch only the new stuff, the list below will be what you will need to watch. As for me, the most interesting feature was the guide to Lovecraftian Cinema, curated by Chris Lackey who hosts a Lovecraft podcast. The feature goes through pretty much all of Lovecraft’s work put to film and TV. (Interesting note, the recently reviewed Feed the Light is not mentioned.)

Rounding out this amazing package is a hard slip box, which houses the digipack of the two discs, some lobby cards and the standard booklet/essay from Arrow. Also provided in this Limited Edition release is a 92-page reproduction of the Re-Animator comics released in 1991.

New Features

Disc 1:

Isolated Score

New Audio Commentary with Director Stuart Gordon and Actors Graham Skipper and Jesse Merlin of Re-Animator: The Musical 

Barbara Crampton in Conversation (approx. 16 mins)

The Catastrophe of Success: Stuart Gordon and the Organic Theater (approx. 13 mins)

Theater of Blood — Re-Animator: The Musical (approx. 12 mins)

Multi Angle Storyboards

Still Gallery

Screenplay

Disc 2:

A Guide to Lovecraftian Cinema (approx. 54 mins)

Doug Bradley’s Spinechillers: Herbert West – Reanimator (approx. 1 hour 38 mins)