Herbert West and his reluctant sidekick, Dr. Cain, return for another funny, gory round of bringing back the dead in bits and pieces. This time, West cons Cain into an attempt to rebuild his late girlfriend, using her preserved brain and body parts scrounged from the local hospital. What results is a kind of sideways parody of ''The Bride of Frankenstein''.
Directed by: Brian Yuzna
. Starring: Jeffrey Combs
, Bruce Abbott
, Claude Earl Jones
, Fabiana Udenio
, David Gale
, Kathleen Kinmont
, Mel Stewart
, Irene Cagen
, Michael Strasser
, Mary Sheldon
, Marge Turner
, Johnny Legend
, David Bynum
. Music by: Richard Band
I remember the first time I saw this movie having ordered it for the video store I worked at at the time. As a huge fan of the first film I was anticipating this one to be just as good. When I finally got the chance to watch it I was disappointed and felt that it didn't live up to the previous movie. Seeing it now in this format I was stunned at how wrong I was. In truth I don't think it was the movie itself that made the difference but the presentation of it. Watching it now I'm amazed at the difference the quality of transfer makes. That VHS version was fuzzy at moments while this new blu-ray release is as crisp and clean as the original. Thank goodness this movie can be re-discovered this way.
For those unaware the first film dealt with Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and his search to re-animate the dead with a serum he had developed. With the aid of his friend and colleague Dr. Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) they had just scratched the surface of their goal with drastically bad results, reanimated corpses that were more intent on killing than being alive. Among their "victims" was another colleague, Dr. Hill (David Gale) who tried to steal their discovery only to have West decapitate him and then reanimate his head and body separately with dire consequences.
As this film opens it is months later and West and Cain have left Miskatonic University to work as doctors providing help in a civil war in Peru. West is still developing his serum using traits of animals found there. An attack forces them to leave and they return to their positions at the University.
While Cain deals with the tragedy around his late girlfriend's death from the first film while attending to patients he's trying to help, West continues his research pilfering parts from various corpses and sewing them together in the basement of the home to two own. In an effort to win Cain's assistance in his research he takes the heart of Cain's ex-girlfriend and tells him that if he helps he'll place her heart in the finished product so she can live again.
Three people will stand in the way of West's research. One is Det. Chapman (Claude Earl Jones) whose wife was one of the victims of what was dubbed the "Miskatonic Massacre". The other is pathologist Dr. Graves (Mel Stewart) who is still rummaging through the remains of that massacre and comes across both a vial of the serum used at the time and Dr. Hill's head. He brings the head back to life and Hill will once again lead to trouble for West and Cain.
I won't reveal any more but will let you know that yes indeed there is a bride. Built from those various body parts West has been stealing and completed with the head of a woman Cain was treating (played by Kathleen Kinmont) she does rise from the table and at moments resembles in look and movement the classic Bride of Frankenstein we've all come to know at love. The end result is something to be seen.
Directed by Brian Yuzna fresh off of his directorial debut with SOCIETY and having produced the original film, he does a great job here taking what director Stuart Gordon had begun with and making it his own. At the same time the two films match together pretty well in the way things are handled and shot. That he could make a horror film that stands well next to a classic like the first says much about his ability.
While all of the actors involved here to a tremendous job it is Combs who stands out. Rarely has an actor and a role been more perfect than this. The way he speaks, moves, tilts his head or makes a quip can never be replicated by another actor nor should they be. Combs OWNS this character and should someone else try to play the part my guess is they will fail miserably. That he could do this part so well in both films is a testament to his skill. That he could be the only good thing in the third film speaks volumes.
If the fact that we have a pristine transfer of the film weren't enough, Arrow Film has gone all out to make this a version of the film that collectors and horror fans will want to add to their collection as soon as possible. The extras include a limited edition collectors booklet, a new audio commentary track with Brian Yuzna, an audio commentary track with Yuzna, Combs, visual effects supervisor Tom Rainone as well as effects team members John Buechler, Mike Deak, Bob Kurtzman, Howard Berger and Screaming Mad George, an audio commentary track with Combs and Abbott, featurettes like "Brian Yuzna Remembers Bride of Re-animator", "Splatter Masters: The Special Effect Artists of Bride of Re-animator" and "Getting Ahead in Horror" and a sequence of deleted scenes. That might seem like enough but Arrow has also included not just the R rated version of the film but the unrated version of the film as well. It is an amazing collection of items for a movie that needs to be found again.
I've long sung the praises of Arrow Film and will continue to do so as long as they put out product like this. And I will champion the first two films in this series when discussing horror with fans and those unaware alike. As I said at the beginning here, even though I saw this film all those years ago watching this version for me was like watching it for the first time ever.
Review by Mark Turner from the Internet Movie Database.