Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 22nd, 2017
BluRay released: August 8th, 2017
Approximate running times: 86 Minutes (Unrated Version), 105 Minutes (Integral Version)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Both Versions)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, LPCM Stereo English, LPCM Mono English (Unrated Version), DTS-HD 5.1 English (Integral Version)
Subtitles: English SDH (Both Versions)
BluRay Release: Arrow Video USA
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $39.95
“When medical student Dean Cain advertises for a roommate, he soon finds one in the form of Dr. Herbert West. Initially a little eccentric, it some becomes clear that West entertains some seriously outlandish theories – specifically, the possibility of re-animating the dead. It’s not long before Dean finds himself under West’s influence, and embroiled in a serious of ghoulish experiments which threaten to go wildly out of control…” – Synopsis provided by the Distributor
Re-Animator was directed by Stuart Gordon, who is best known for his adaptations of the literary works of H.P. Lovecraft. Key collaborators on Re-Animator include, cinematographer Mac Ahlberg (The Seduction, House), composer Richard Band (The House on Sorority Row, Puppetmaster) and producer Brian Yuzna (Society, Bride of Re-Animator).
Though there have been numerous cinema adaptions of the literary works of H.P. Lovecraft. The end results have more often than not, lived up to the stories that they were adapted or drew inspiration from. And by the 1980’s things looked bleak for fans of H.P. Lovecraft who were hoping for a cinema adaption that captured the essence of his literary works. This brings us to Stuart Gordon’s adaption of Herbert West–Reanimator, a film that has since become regarded as the best cinema adaption of H.P. Lovecraft’s literary works.
Content wise, the film perfectly balances H.P. Lovecraft’s cosmic sense of wonder and dark sense of humor that is rooted in the Macabre. And right from the get go, this film announces that it is film that is content on relying on all too familiar tropes of the Horror film genre. With this film take no prisoners approach to its depiction of mayhem being one of its greatest strengths.
Not to be overlooked are the performances and none stand taller than Jeffrey Combs (Frightmare) in the role Herbert West. His iconic performance ranks amongst the most memorable Horror films performances. Other notable performances include, Barbara Crampton (Body Double) in the role of Megan Halsey, the daughter of the Dean of Miskatonic university, David Gale (Syngenor) in the role of Dr. Carl Hill, a professor who is determined to steal Herbert West’s research on reanimating the dead and Bruce Abbott (Bad Dreams) in the role of Herbert West’s roommate Dan Cain.
Visually the film does not waist a moment when it comes to showcasing its gory set pieces. And as mentioned before, humor plays a significant role in the story at hand. And nowhere is more evident, then when it comes to this film’s most blood-soaked moments. With this film’s outlandish finale providing a very satisfying conclusion to the events that have just unfolded.
This release comes with two versions of the film, the unrated version and the integral version. And each version is presented on their own 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The transfers for both versions for this release have been sourced from 4k restorations. Both transfers look great, as colors have never look more vibrant, details look crisp, black levels are solid throughout, grain remains intact and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
The unrated version comes with three audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English, a LPCM stereo mix in English and a LPCM mix in Mono. The integral version comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English. All of the audio mixes sound, clean, clear and balanced throughout. Range wise, all of the audio mixes do a superb job when it comes to the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack and the score for the film always sounds appropriately robust. Both versions of the film comes with optional English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release are spread over two discs.
Extras on disc one include, a stills gallery, five T.V. spots (2 minutes 36 seconds), a trailer for the film (1 minute 57 seconds), three scenes with multiangle storyboard (48 seconds / 2 minutes 51 seconds / 1 minute 20 seconds), deleted scenes (2 minutes 40 seconds), extended scenes (23 minutes 5 seconds), an archive interview with director Stuart Gordon and producer Brian Yuzna (48 minutes 47 seconds), an archive interview with screenwriter Dennis Paoli (10 minutes 41 seconds), an archive interview with composer Richard Band (14 minutes 43 seconds), an archive interview with Fangoria editor Tony Timpone (4 minutes 34 seconds) and a second interview with Richard Band titled Music Discussion (16 minutes 31 seconds).
Other extras include, a featurette titled Barbara Crampton in Conversation (16 minutes 35 seconds), a featurette titled Theater of Blood — Re-Animator: The Musical (12 minutes 4 seconds), a featurette titled The Catastrophe of Success: Stuart Gordon and the Organic Theater (13 minutes 8 seconds), a documentary titled Re-Animator: Resurrectus (68 minutes 36 seconds), an option to listen to an Isolated music track and three audio commentaries’ – the first audio commentary track is with Stuart Gordan, the second audio commentary track is with Brian Yuzna and actors Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Bruce Abbott, and Robert Sampson and the third audio commentary track is with Stuart Gordon and actors Graham Skipper and Jesse Merlin of Re-Animator: The Musical.
The archive interviews are filled with insight that contains some background information that is also covered in the new extras.
The two interviews with Richard Band are detailed overviews about the score that he composed for the film.
Topics discussed in the extra titled Barbara Crampton in Conversation include, how she spent her youth working with her father at carnivals, her origins as actress, Body Double, how her role was to be much larger and why it was cut down to one scene, Stuart Gordon, Re-Animator and her thoughts about the film, Charles Band, background information about various other films that she has appeared in and her return to acting after a long absence and why she made the transition from acting to producing.
The extra titled Theater of Blood — Re-Animator: The Musical is an interview with composer Mark Nutter who wrote the musical stage adaptation of the film.
The extra titled The Catastrophe of Success: Stuart Gordon and the Organic Theater is a detailed overview of the projects that Stuart Gordon worked on before directing Re-Animator.
This film’s standout extra is an informative and insightful documentary titled Re-Animator: Resurrectus. This extra includes comments from the majority of the cast and the crew, who all are very candid as they discuss preproduction, the cast, the score, onset memories, the visuals, special effects, post production, reaction to the film and their thoughts about the film.
And the three audio commentaries’ do a good job complimenting the other extras.
Extras on disc two include, an audio supplement featuring Jeffrey Combs reading Lovecraft’s original short story titled Doug Bradley’s Spinechillers: Herbert West – Reanimator (98 minutes 32 seconds) and a featurette titled A Guide to Lovecraftian Cinema (54 minutes 2 seconds).
The extra titled A Guide to Lovecraftian Cinema is a well-rounded discussion about various Lovecraft adaptions and other films that were inspired by Lovecraft’s fiction.
Rounding out the extras are four postcard sized lobby card reproductions, Re-Animator the original 1991 comic book adaptation, reprinted in its entirety (92 pages) and a twenty-four-page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled Yucking it Up: The Black (And Red) Humor of “Re-Animator” written by Michael Gingold and information about the transfers. Overall Re-Animator gets a definitive release from Arrow Video, highly recommended.