Review Date: November 20, 1999
Released by: Pioneer
Release date: 10/26/1999
MSRP: $29.98 (OOP)
Region 1, NTSC
Letterboxed Theatrical Matte Feature 1.85:1 | 16:9: No
In 1990 Jeffery Combs, Bruce Abbot and Director Brian Yuzna got together to continue the adventures of the Re-Animator
- Herbert West and his reluctant assistant Dan Cain in the sequel, Bride of Re-Animator
. Like Bride of Frankenstein
and the recent Bride of Chucky, Bride of Re-Animator
adds a new dimension to the film and takes it in a new direction. Now Pioneer, with the help of Sharpline Arts, has assembled a Special Edition of this cult classic that's sure to get Re-Animator
fans drooling for more green ooze.
Eight Months after the Miskatonic Massacre, Dr. Herbert West (Jeffery Combs) and Dr. Dan Cain (Bruce Abbot), who survived the nightmare, are serving in Peru as volunteer medics during Civil War. There they are searching for key elements for their experiments while continuing their research and perfecting the reagent that re-animates the dead. When things get out of hand in Peru both Herbert and Dan return to the U.S. and back to Miskatonic to resume their jobs as doctors.
Dr. West, having successfully re-animated the dead in the past, has now set his sites on creating new life. However, his creations are abominations of life. Stealing mangled body parts from the morgue and fusing them together West creates gruesome creatures only to discard them as "rejects". Dan has had enough of his involvement with Dr. West and wants to move out, but once again Herbert manipulates him into staying and continuing to assist him. Dr. West wants to create a whole person using dead parts and the heart of Dan's dead girlfriend Megan Halsey, who was killed the night of the Miskatonic Massacre.
Dan hopes that Meg will in some way live again through this new creation and that they can once again be together. Dr. West and Dr. Cain's work however, attracts the attention of Lieutenant Leslie Chapham (Claude Earl Jones), whom is investigating the events of the Massacre eight months ago. Herbert also has to contend with Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale), who is still pretty pissed at Herbert after getting decapitated in the original and vows to exact his revenge.
When I first saw Bride of Re-Animator
I wasn't that impressed. Being a big fan of the original my expectations were pretty high, so Bride was a bit of a let down. Watching it again on this DVD I've come to enjoy it more. The film still possess the originals twisted sense of humor and gore, not to mention excellent performances by returning actors Jeffery Combs, Bruce Abbot and David Gale. Unfortunately, missing from the film is Barbara Crampton and Robert Sampson, you really don't realize how important both were to the original until they are gone here.
Naturally their characters were killed in the original so placing them in the sequel would have been detrimental to the story, but it is somewhat of a loss and a void that is never filled in the film. What I find most enjoyable about the film are the performances by Jeffery Combs, Bruce Abbot, and David Gale. The relationship between Herbert and Dan is definitely something worth examining. Both doctors have very different views - Cain is more a doctor who cares for his patients and wants to help the living, while West is more a scientist determined to create life. The two conflict with each other throughout the film because of their ideals, but both share the desire to defeat death.
The laboratory set is also a work of art and meticulously detailed. A great deal of the film is shot in that location and it definitely gives the film a Frankenstein esq. quality reminiscent of the watch tower laboratory. The effects are also top notch, especially the finger creature which unfortunately is killed way too early. It would have been cool to have it show up throughout the film as a sort of pet. Bride of Re-Animator
also has some nice moments, my favorite being the scene where Dan is in bed with his new girlfriend Francesca (Fabiana Udenio) and the film cuts to Herbert who's outside in the hallway looking in. He stares briefly than moves off camera, the music cue that plays during that scene is perfect.
Bride of Re-Animator
is presented in either it's open matte or theatrical matte version, which can be toggled on and off through the use of the subtitle feature. The theatrical matte presents Bride in 1.85:1 and is not enhanced for 16:9 TVs. The disc also contains both the Unrated and R Rated versions of Bride of Re-Animater. The quality varies between the two.
The R rated version is the best looking of the two. The opening scenes in Peru exhibit some grain and have a slightly dark and softer look. Once the title sequence begins though the quality picks up. The transfer is relatively clean with minimal grain colors are well defined; I didn't notice any bleeding or over saturation. Flesh tones also appear natural. The scenes that look best are definitely those that occur in the magnificent laboratory set. Here the colors and lighting look very good and detail is excellent.
However, the transfer being non-anamorphic appears a bit soft and lacking in detail at times. The opening scenes and interiors of the hospital seem to suffer the most. Sharpness and detail is still acceptable though. The film like the original is almost entirely made up of interiors with hardly any outdoor scenes. The one daytime exterior scene that is in the film looks very good strong detail and colors. Blacks and shadow detail are good. There is another problem with the transfer in that it is a bit shaky. This can be distracting at times and will definitely effect the image grade. In addition to that, near the end of the film there seems to be some jump cuts and missing frames this is noticeable when the zombies are breaking down the door to the laboratory. My guess is the elements used for the transfer were damaged in that particular scene.
The Unrated version is almost the same, however, there is a considerably high level of grain and noise apparent throughout the presentation. Additionally, the image is a little softer that the R-rated cut too. Overall there isn't a lot cut out of the R-rated version and many of the gore scenes are intact. I'll go as far as saying the extra seconds of gore in the Unrated version are redundant. I definitely prefer watching the R rated version mostly because of the more pleasing image, but as you'll probably notice the added gore in the Unrated version doesn't really add anything to the film.
I'll also add that this new "theatrical matte" feature is NO substitute for a 16:9 transfer. The Full Screen Open Matte version of Bride of Re-Animator should never have been considered for the film's presentation. Clearly this film was composed for 1.85:1 and it's painfully obvious when you compare the differences between both compositions. Adding excess "dead space" picture information can be as hazardous to a film's cinematography as cropping the sides in the pan & scan process. Pioneer should have done a 16:9 transfer for this DVD, otherwise it's just a missed opportunity.
DVD has already been on the market for close to three years now and we've come to a point where 16:9 transfers should be standard on all releases. Anything less is simply a waste of the hardware, as DVD is at its best when transfers are enhanced and viewed on widescreen TVs or 4:3 TVs capable of displaying DVDs in 16:9 mode. Pioneer, Elite, Synapse - please consider the benefits of 16:9 enhancement for your future releases.
The sound is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and sounds fairly good. Bride of Re-Animator
has a nice score some of which is held-over from the original. Dialogue was clear.
Sharpline Arts, who were in charge of assembling the supplemental content of this DVD (they've previously worked on the Alien 20th Anniversary and Last Star Fighter DVDs), did a pretty good job. The disc features two commentaries - one with Jeffery Combs and Bruce Abbot and the other with Jeffery Combs, Director/Producer Brian Yuzna and members of the special effects teams. The commentary with stars Bruce Abbot and Jeffery Combs is a fun listen. There is virtually no background info given throughout the commentary and it mainly consists of Jeff and Bruce making jokes about the film and commenting about what's happening on screen.
The commentary with Director Brian Yuzna, Jeffery Combs and members of the effects team is more on the technical side. A lot of good information is relayed through the commentary with a heavy focus on the special effects. What the commentary with Bruce Abbot and Jeffery Combs lacks in detail is more than made up for in this commentary, both are fun to listen to through.
The disc also contains the 'Meg is re-animated scene' that was deleted. My hopes sank through the floor after I saw a different actress was playing Meg. I had hoped to see some more Barbara Crampton footage, but oh well. Generally, I'm glad this scene was left on the cutting room floor as I think it takes something away from the original's ending. The scene does contain a nice exchange between Herbert and Dan and a funny line "No, Hill didn't kill me...he didn't have the guts".
The DVD also includes behind the scenes footage as well as detailed information on the effects in progress and the design of the various creatures Herbert mangles together. It's very fascinating stuff and those of you who are aspiring effects and makeup artists will no doubt find the footage insightful. Also, there are extensive still galleries with notes describing what's going on in the pictures, but to be honest is that necessary? I think we can tell on our own thank you. Overall the supplements are impressive - you get two versions of the film, two commentaries, a featurette and still galleries at a reasonable price - A+.
I like Bride of Re-Animator
, it's a nice little gory black comedy in the same vein as the original. Though I don't think it's as good as Re-Animator, Bride of Re-Animator
still manages to stay interesting. This DVD has a good selection of supplements for the price and should not be missed by fans of the film. Casual fans though may want to rent this film first to see if they like it before spending the $$ on a Special Edition.
Image Quality - R Rated - B+
Image Quality - Unrated - C
Sound - B
Supplements - A+
- Rated R cut and Unrated cut
- 1 Disc
- Chapter Stops
- Dolby Digital Surround 2.0
- R-Rated and Unrated presentations
- Audio Commentaries with Director Brian Yuzna, Star Jeffery Combs, Visual Effects Supervisor Tom Rainone and the effects team Including: John Buechler, Mike Deak, Bob Kurtzman, Howard Berger and Screaming Mad George
- Additional Audio Commentary with Stars Jeffery Combs and Bruce Abbot
- Deleted Scene "Meg is Re-Animated"
- Never-Before-Seen Behind-The-Scenes Footage Including Reheasal, Outtakes, Bloopers, and Cast Interviews
- Detailed Coverage of the Make-up Effects
- Never Before Seen Photographs
- Prop Gallery
- Conceptual Drawings
- Promotional Materials and Publications