Monday, December 20, 2010

Herbert West is back in 'Bride of Re-Animator'

Bride of Re-Animator (1990)
Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Claude Earl Jones, Fabiana Udenio, Mel Stewart, David Gale, and Kathleen Kinmont
Director: Brian Yunza
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

Dr. Herbert West (Combs) and his reluctant assistant Dr. Dan Cain (Abbott) set out to create a new person from the best pieces of the deceased, using West's reformulated and improved Re-Agent. But a homicide detective (Jones) is investigating West... and is that the re-animated head of Dr. Hill (Gale) that just showed up at the pathology lab?

"Bride of Re-Animator" sees Herbert West go in a Frankenstein direction with his latest projects, in this follow-up to one of the craziest mad scientist vs. zombies movies ever made.

This sequel doesn't quite have the humor of the original, nor is the script quite as witty. There's is also a sense that the filmmakers here are trying to recapture what they did in the first film, as much of the twisted gross-out humor feels forced, and you can see it coming a mile away in nearly every case, where in the first film is felt natural and was almost always unexpected. (The one exception to this is the shocking development and end to the "bride" that Herbert West creates for Dan, something that also gives rise to the funniest line in the film, delivered by Jeffrey Combs and his lab is being overrun by re-animated monsters.)

One thing I did appreciate about the film is that Herbert West is shown to develop here as he did in the original Lovecraft stories. The unnamed narrator in those tales says at one point that West started out wanting to extend life and engage in scientific exploration but that he later went completely mad and was doing morbid and twisted experiments for no reason other than to do them. That's the West we see in this film... and the experiments he engages in are completely depraved and utterly pointless. (Although the critter made from an eyeball and four fingers for legs is kinda cute.... :) )

Although the script is a little weaker than the original film, the cast is once again excellent, and another excellent performance by Combs makes this film well worth checking out. (Just don't expect to have much of an appetite after the film's final scenes.)

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