Re-Animator (Blu-ray) (1985)

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Released 6-Jun-2018

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Alternative Version-Integral Cut of Re-Animator (104:56)
Featurette-Re-Animator Resurrectus (65:49)
Audio Commentary-Stuart Gordon (Director)
Audio Commentary-Brian Yuzna (Producer) And Actors
Additional Footage-16 Extended Scenes (19:55)
Deleted Scenes-x1 (2:42)
Interviews-Crew-Stuart Gordon (Director) And Brian Yuzna (Producer) (46:48)
Interviews-Crew-Dennis Paoli (Writer) (10:15)
Interviews-Crew-Richard Band (Composer) (14:07)
Featurette-Interview With Tony Timpone ( Fangoria Editor) (4:23)
Featurette-Music Analysis With Composer Richard Band (15:48)
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots-5
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1985
Running Time 86:05
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Stuart Gordon
Studio
Distributor

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Jeffrey Combs
Bruce Abbott
Barbara Crampton
David Gale
Robert Sampson
Gerry Black
Carolyn Purdy-Gordon
Peter Kent
Barbara Pieters
Ian Patrick Williams
Bunny Summers
Al Berry
Derek Pendleton
Case ?
RPI ? Music Richard Band


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Audio Commentary dts 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) is a well-regarded 3rd year medical student at Miskatonic Medical School although, unknown to the Dean Dr Alan Halsey (Robert Sampson), Dan is sleeping with Halsey’s daughter Megan (Barbara Crampton). Dan’s life changes dramatically when he takes on as a lodger Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs), a rather intense and uncompromising young man who has just arrived from Switzerland and enrolled at the school. The leading teaching surgeon at the school is Dr Carl Hill (David Gale), who is also responsible for most of the financial grants received by Miskatonic. West, however, believes that Hill’s ideas about how long the brain can function after death are well out of date, and so he challenges Hill, which is not a very clever move.

     West has invented a fluid that he believes can reanimate dead tissue. He conducts experiments in Dan’s basement, including one on Dan’s deceased cat that has unexpected consequences which Dan discovers to his horror. So while it seems that the fluid can indeed bring the dead back to a simulation of life there are complications. Facing expulsion from the school, West is determined to try his formula on a dead human body and forces Dan to assist by threatening to reveal Dan’s relationship with Megan. With Dan’s help, the two access the school’s morgue and try the formula on one of the bodies. It is true to say that from this point on chaos reigns and heads, quite literally, will roll!

     Re-Animator is based, very loosely, upon the H.P. Lovecraft stories Herbert West, Re-Animator. It is directed by Stuart Gordon; he is hardly prolific with only 12 features in over 30 years and although a couple have some notoriety such as The Pit and the Pendulum (1991) and Space Truckers (1996) nothing he has done comes close to Re-Animator. In his commentary Gordon acknowledges that it is on Re-Animator that he is judged. For Re-Animator, released in 1985, remains an absolute gem, a comedy / horror classic. The make-up and gore effects in Re-Animator, in the days pre-CGI, are gory, cheesy, gruesome, unrealistic and over the top but they work fine. The film has buckets and buckets of fake blood, intestines by the yard, severed heads and limbs, and where else can you see a manic killer cat, lobotomies, inventive use of a bone saw, a walking corpse carrying its own head in a tray or a naked woman tied on a morgue bench being molested by that bloody severed head! Classic! Re-Animator is certainly not a film that you want to watch while having your evening snack but it must be said that Re-Animator is also often hilariously funny with deadpan dialogue and twisted scenes that completely break one up.

     The make-up and gore effects tend on occasion to overshadow the cast although David Gale, who died in 1991 and the age of 54, is wonderful and repulsive while Jeffrey Combs, who currently has 130 credits on the IMDb, is good because he plays the over the top Herbert West role absolutely straight. In contrast Bruce Abbott, as the everyman, has a more difficult task to convince while Barbara Crampton screams convincingly and looks stunning naked as the head’s object of desire.

     There are two versions of Re-Animator in this release, each on its own Blu-ray; the “Unrated Version” running 86:05 on disc 1, the “Integral Cut”, running 104:56 on disc 2. Extra features are spread across both discs. This review is primarily of the director’s original unrated version of the film.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Re-Animator is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.77:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     This print comes from a 4K remastered copy of the film and looks stunning! Detail is strong and clean, allowing all the fake blood, gore, entrails, eye gouging, brain tissue and guts to be clearly seen! Colours are deep and natural, without manipulation, the reds, blues, yellows and the florescent green of the re-animation fluid bright and vibrant. Blacks and shadow detail are pristine, skin tones fine and brightness and contrast consistent.

     I did not notice any artefacts or marks.

     English subtitles are provided for the unrated version. There are none for the Integral Cut of the film.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is English DTS-HD MA 5.1. The original audio for the film was mono, although there was apparently a 4 track stereo for the Japanese theatrical release. The audio commentaries are DTS 2.0.

     This is a fairly front oriented audio track although during the fights with re-animated corpses or the killer cat attack there was the crash of equipment in the rears and surrounds. Otherwise they featured the music, cat screams and occasional effects such as a whirring fan. The sub-woofer was limited to supporting some of the crashes and bangs. The score by Richard Band was just what the film required; jaunty and infectious in places, building tension in others.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     The extras are spread across the two discs.

Disc 1

Audio Commentary with Director Stuart Gordon

     A decent commentary from Gordon as he speaks about how the film came about, the Lovecraft stories it was based on, the cast, influences, special effects, the ratings board and the R rated cut of the film, the practical effects, that sex scene and other matters. He also mentions visiting a real morgue and noticing the colours of the bodies!

Audio Commentary with Producer Brian Yunza and the Cast

     Yunza and cast members Jeffery Combs, Barbara Crampton, Bruce Abbott and Robert Sampson sit together, chat and reminisce about the film. They laugh, joke, make funny noises, scream and talk over each other in what is a light-hearted but not overly informative commentary if you want to know about the film.

Re-Animator Resurrectus (65:49)

     Made in 2007 this is a great documentary in its own right, comprehensive but not overdoing the detail. Using film clips, although they mostly play in the background behind the interviewees, B-camera roll, photographs, script pages, storyboards and interviews with director Stuart Gordon, his wife, actress Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, writer Dennis Paoli, producer Brian Yuzna, DP Mac Ahlberg, special make-up effects people John Naulin, Anthony Doublin, John Buechler and cast Barbara Crampton, Bruce Abbott, Jeffrey Combs and Robert Sampson this documentary covers matters such as how the film came about, the casting and characters, the title sequence, the budget, the music, changes from the Lovecraft stories, deleted scenes, “that” sex scene, the editing and reactions to the film and, quite rightly, there is a lot of discussion, photographs and clips showing how the effects were created including the cat, the autopsy scene, the zombie creatures and the headless corpse. Wonderful stuff.

Extended Scenes (19:55)

     Sixteen scenes, some of which would have taken the film in different directions, such as the hypnosis practiced by Dr Hill, or West using the formula on himself.

Deleted Scene (2:42)

     The scene is interesting, but it is a bit difficult to see where this scene would have fitted into the film. It may be the “dream” sequence mentioned in one of the commentaries.

Disc 2

Integral Cut of Re-Animator (104:56)

     The original theatrical release of Re-Animator was the “unrated” version, which is Stuart Gordon’s preferred cut of the film. The film was later recut to get an R rating, with much of the gore and nudity replaced. However, the resulting cut of the film was considered too short so plot points that were removed from the unrated version, such as the hypnosis sub-plot and the other scenes in the extended scenes, were reinserted. The R rated version runs 93 minutes. Later, these additional scenes were sort of blended into the “unrated” version of the film, resulting in this Integral Cut. However, cuts remain; for example, in the first sex scene between Dan and Megan there is much more small talk and the topless nudity is cut, although it is intact in the later scene with the head. The gore, as far as I can see, also remains intact. This cut has the same video and audio specifications as the Unrated version of the film, but is not from the 4K scan, although it still looks great.

     For the differences between the Unrated and R rated cuts of the film see the link here.

Interview with Stuart Gordon & Brian Yuzna (46:48)

     Filmed in 2002, the director and producer of Re-Animator sit together and talk about their memories of the film including how they met, their research by watching as many horror films as they could get their hands on, developing the script, the editing and make-up, casting and the cast, watching the film with review audiences, the screening at Cannes and the reviews.

Interview with Denis Paoli (10:15)

     Co-writer Paoli talks to the camera, filmed in 2002. He is an amusing and pleasant speaker who had a lot of fun writing the film. He talks about his collaboration with co-writers William Norris and Stuart Gordon, adapting the Lovecraft short stories and the horror and comedy elements of the film.

Interview with Richard Brand (14:07)

     Composer Brand is very entertaining as he talks about how he got involved in the picture, persuading producer Brian Yunza and director Stuart Gordon to allow him to do a “campy” score for the film, borrowing motifs and themes from Bernard Hermann’s Psycho score and also from Jerry Goldsmith’s score for Freud, recording the score in Rome and his relationship with Gordon. Band uses the word “quirky” frequently as he talks about his intentions and the score. Also filmed in 2002.

Interview with Tony Timpone (4:23)

     Also from 2002, former Fangoria editor Timpone talks about seeing the film in 1985 and its impact.

Music Analysis with Composer Richard Band (15:48)

     In this continuation of the interview above Band takes 4 sequences of the film and explains what he was trying to do with the music before the sequence plays with the music score isolated, no effects or dialogue. Informative and interesting.

TV Spots (2:33)

     5 TV spots warning people about the film!

Theatrical Trailer (2:07)

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There are similar editions of Re-Animator with the same extras in different regions, the UK Region B adding a stereo audio mix.

Summary

     Back in 1985 Re-Animator with its over the top gore mixed with nudity and laughs pushed the boundary of good taste, being rated R when it was released on DVD here in Australia. It is an interesting comment upon the times that this Blu-ray release is rated MA. However, make no mistake; Re-Animator is still over the top, bloody, gory and in bad taste, but it is also so infectiously funny that it gets away with it and remains a fabulously entertaining classic gem of the horror / comedy genre.

     The video is wonderful, the audio fine. The extras are extensive and of value, resulting in an excellent Blu-ray release for fans of the film or anyone interested in the genre.

     This Blu-ray of Re-Animator is identical to the one released previously by Umbrella in Australia but is rereleased in conjunction with the Blu-ray release of the film’s two sequels Bride of Re-Animator (1989) and Beyond Re-Animator (2003). Reviews of those films will be on this site soon.

     Re-Animator has been released on DVD a couple of times in a “Millennium Edition” and a “Collector’s Edition”. A review on this site of the “Millennium Edition” can be read here. That 2 disc DVD contained the Unrated cut of the film plus an isolated music score, photo gallery, biographies and all of the extras on this Blu-ray, except, and this is a big except, the excellent Re-Animator Resurrectus documentary and the additional “Integral Cut” of the film. The wonderful HD presentation of the film, the lossless audio and the additional documentary means that this Blu-ray from Umbrella is easy to recommend to fans if they don’t already have it.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, July 09, 2018
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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