Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 6th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1989
Director: Brian Yuzna
Writers: Rick Fry, Woody Keith, Brian Yuzna
Cast: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Claude Earl Jones, Fabiana Udenio, David Gale, Kathleen Kinmont, Mel Stewart
BluRay released: April 11th, 2016 (UK) / April 12th, 2016 (USA)
Approximate running time: 97 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: LPCM Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Video USA
Region Coding: Region Free / Region Free NTSC
Retail Price: OOP
Bride of Re-Animator was co-written and directed by Brian Yuzna who’s other notable films as a director include, Society and The Dentist. Other notable films that he worked on as a producer include, Re-Animator, From Beyond and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
Bride of Re-Animator, like its predecessor was adapted from H.P. Lovecraft’s short story Herbert West–Reanimator. Another influence on Bride of Re-Animator includes, James Whales Bride of Frankenstein.
Adapting the literary works of H.P. Lovecraft for the silver screen has been a daunting task where the majority who have tried have failed to retain the essence of the source. With the first feature film adaption The Case of Charles Dexter Ward being released as The Haunted Palace in 1963. By the end of the 1960’s there would be there more key Lovecraft adaptions, Die, Monster, Die! (The Color Out of Space), The Shuttered Room and The Dunwich Horror.
Then over the next fifteen years there would be a drought until the release of Re-Animator, a film that would single handedly resurrect interest in adapting Lovecraft for the silver screen. And after making two highly successful Lovecraft adaptions, Re-Animator and From Beyond. The majority of the cast and crew from these two films would return for a third time to the imagination of Lovecraft and though the original idea was to shoot, The Shadow over Innsmouth. The idea was put on hold in favor of making a sequel to Re-Animator.
Unlike the majority of sequels which just try to rehash the elements that made its predecessor successful. The Bride of Re-Animator goes the other route by creating a film that not stands on its own, but brings several new elements into that enhance the story at hand. Another strength of this sequel its narrative is a continuation of the previous films narrative. With the time that takes place in-between the two films being summed by the sequels opening scene. Also just like its predecessor humor plays a considerable role in this sequel.
Perhaps the most surprising aspects of Bride of Re-Animator is how well it holds up in regards to the look the film. From a creative stand point there would be two major charges when in regards to the crew. With Brian Yuana replacing Stuart Gordon (Castle Freak) as director and Rick Fichter (Society) taking over for Mac Ahlberg (The Seduction) in the role of cinematographer. In other areas of this production, when it comes to the special effects this film’s delivers then some. They effect are often shocking to look at and there is never a shortage of gore. With this film’s most memorable moment being the scene where West resurrects Cain’s dead girlfriend.
Performance wise, the entire cast are excellent in their respective roles. With Jeffry Combs (Frightmare, Lurking Fear) in the role of Herbert West and Bruce Abbott (Bad Dreams) in the role of Dan Cain. Both actors are reprising the roles the portrayed in Re-Animator. They have a tremendous amount of chemistry and the moments they share are by far and away this film’s most durable asset. Other performances of note include, Fabiana Udenio (Summer School) providing an ample amount of eye candy and David Gale returning in the role of Doctor Carl Hill, or more precisely as Doctor Hill’s severed head. Overall Bride of Re-Animator is a rare example where a sequel is on par with its predecessor.
The unrated version of Bride of Re-Animator comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Both transfers have been given brand new 2k restorations / transfers for this release. Colors look vibrant, flesh tones look accurate, details look sharp, contrast levels and shadow details look solid throughout. Also grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression. When compared to previous releases, the transfers used for these two versions are easily the best this film has ever looked on home video. With the main difference between these tow transfers being that there are times when the unrated looks softer than its counterpart.
The R Rated and Unrated versions are each given one audio option, a LPCM stereo mix in English and removable English SDH subtitles have been included with this release. Range wise both audio more than hold their own as they score always sounds robust and the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented. Dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and there are no issues with distortion or background noise.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (1 minute 53 seconds), two deleted scenes – Meg is Re-Animated (8 minutes 4 seconds) and Carnival Sequence (2 minutes 3 seconds), an archive making-of featurette titled Getting Ahead in Horror (23 minutes 50 seconds), a featurette titled Splatter Masters: The Special Effects Artists of Bride of Re-animator (14 minutes 39 seconds) a featurette titled Brian Yuzna Remembers Bride of Re-animator (9 minutes 37 seconds( and three audio commentaries – the first audio commentary with director Brian Yunza, the second audio commentary with cast & crew and the third audio commentary with actors Jeffrey Combs and Bruce Abbott.
The extra titled Getting Ahead in Horror is a behind the scenes exploration of the special effects.
Topics discussed in the extra titled Splatter Masters: The Special Effects Artists of Bride of Re-animator include, producer Brian Yuzna discusses why there where multiple companies that worked on this films special effects and those involved in the making of the special effects discuss in-depth their roles in the making of this film.
Topics discussed in the extra titled Brian Yuzna Remembers Bride of Re-Animator include, how the film began as another H.P. Lovecraft adaption, why they choose to make a sequel to Re-Animator, the evolution of the film’s screenplay, the films theatrical release and critic / audience reaction to the film.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary with Brian Yunza include, cinema inspirations, the cast and information about them, the opening credits and music in the same style as the first Re-Animator film, MPAA and film censorship, favorite moments in the film, elements in the film that he dislikes, special effects and what he was trying to achieve with this film.
The audio commentary with cast & crew is a lively track where each participant discusses in-depth the role they played in making this film.
Other extras included exclusively as part of this limited edition release include a second single layer Blu-Ray disc that contains the R-Rated version of Bride of Re-Animator (97 minutes 45 seconds – 1.85:1 Widescreen 1080 Progressive, LPCM stereo English and optional English SDH subtitles) and a Behind the Scenes reel (14 minutes 30 seconds).
Rounding out the extras is limited edition packaging and a twenty-four-page booklet that contains cast & crew information, an essay about the film titled Here Comes the Bride… written by Michael Blyth and information about the transfer. Also included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray with unrated version of the film. Overall another exceptional release from Arrow Video, who continue to raise the bar when it comes to deluxe special edition releases, highly recommended.