The most sur­pris­ing thing about Bride Of Re-Animator is how long it took for this sequel to hap­pen.  The orig­i­nal Re-Animator was an instant cult sit­u­a­tion and its direc­tor, Stuart Gordon, was crank­ing out films by the fist­ful for Charles Band dur­ing the sec­ond half of the ‘80s.  However, it took four years for Bride Of BrideRA-bluRe-Animator to make it to screen and when it did it was helmed by Re-Animator’s pro­duc­er, Brian Yuzna.  Though it fea­tures the key leads of its pre­de­ces­sor and just as much gore, the results are notice­ably dif­fer­ent from the orig­i­nal film.

Bride Of Re-Animator fol­lows the con­tin­u­ing mis­ad­ven­tures of Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott). After a spell hid­ing out in Central America, they return to Miskatonic Hospital and some­how get med­ical jobs.  Of course, West is deter­mined to con­tin­ue his exper­i­ments in life after death but the process is com­pli­cat­ed by nosy cop Lt. Chapman (Claude Earl Jones) and Francesca (Fabiana Udenio), a bud­ding love inter­est for Dan.

Herbert gets the exper­i­ment he was hop­ing for when he cons Dan into using the body of ter­mi­nal can­cer patient Gloria (Kathleen Kinmont) as the basis for a Frankenstein-ian exper­i­ment. However, they also have to face off with the revived head of Dr. Hill (David Gale), who is deter­mined to set­tle the score with West.

Despite its sta­tus as a direct sequel, Bride Of Re-Animator feels like a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent film when com­pared to Re-Animator.  For starters, the script, penned by Yuzna with Rick Fry and Woody Keith, is a poor­ly-con­struct­ed affair rid­dled with plot­holes and bizarre log­ic in its sto­ry­line and char­ac­ter behav­ior.  It feels like the writBrideRA-01ers came up with a batch of set­pieces and gore gags they want­ed to do and then hasti­ly rigged a plot­line around them.  More impor­tant­ly, it side­steps the trans­gres­sive flair and dark­ly clev­er wit of Re-Animator in favor of a schizoid tone that tries to mix trag­ic dra­ma with the hor­ror movie equiv­a­lent of slob-com­e­dy slap­stick.

Thus, one should not expect anoth­er mas­ter­piece out of Bride Of Re-Animator.  That said, gore­hounds nos­tal­gic for the splat­ter movies of the ‘80s will find plen­ty to enjoy here.  The film fre­quent­ly con­fus­es being gross with being intense but it does sup­ply an amaz­ing bar­rage of gore FX by a dream team that includes Screaming Mad George, KNB-EFX and even some David Allen stop motion ani­ma­tion.  The film also has a game cast: Combs is always fun to watch, Abbott brings a sur­pris­ing lev­el of emo­tion to an under­writ­ten role and Kinmont goes all-out as an intrigu­ing fem­i­nine riff on Frankenstein’s mon­ster.  Yuzna gives the film a suit­able slick­ness despite the storyline’s flim­si­ness, includ­ing an action-packed final act.

BrideRA-02In short, Bride Of Re-Animator isn’t the high-cal­iber fol­low-up fans of Re-Animator want­ed but hard­core ‘80s hor­ror buffs might find it to be an inter­est­ing relic of the era.

Blu-Ray Notes: Arrow Video has reis­sued this title in high-def form on both sides of the Atlantic via a new 2 blu-ray/ 1 DVD com­bo set.  The unrat­ed and R-rat­ed ver­sions of the film get their own sep­a­rate blu-rays (the DVD just has the unrat­ed cut).  Image qual­i­ty is solid for both ver­sions, doing a good job with the fre­quent dark inte­ri­or sequences.  The blu-rays have LPCM ver­sions of the stereo tracks and they offer qual­i­ty rep­re­sen­ta­tions of the­se basic stereo mix­es.

There are also plen­ty of extras spread across both blu-rays.  Three com­men­tary tracks are includ­ed: an archival track with Combs and Abbott cov­ers the actors’ side of things, a Yuzna and crew com­men­tary is more film­mak­ing-ori­ent­ed and a new track with Yuzna and mod­er­a­tor David Gregory dis­cuss­es the film in the con­text of his career. Yuzna also gets a short solo inter­view fea­turet­te and the FX crew gets a 14-min­ute seg­ment ded­i­cat­ed to their work.  The pack­age is round­ed out by trail­ers, an archival mak­ing-of fea­turet­te and a new reel of behind-the-sce­nes footage includ­ed on the sec­ond blu-ray.