H.P Lovecraft's Bride of Re-Animator

Certificate: 18
Running time: 96 mins
Director: Brian Yuzna
Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Claude Earl Jones
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi
Country: USA

As night follows day so does the logic that Re-Animator, which was less H.P Lovecraft and more Frankenstein, should be followed by its very own bride.  Out steps Stuart Gordon to be replaced behind the camera by Filipino director Brian Yuzna who, at the time, was hot off the critically applauded Society.

In the time since the massacre at Miskatonic Universtiy Herbert West (Combs) and Dan Cain (Abbott) have been practicing in Peru and have cracked not just the key to tissue re-animation but the ability to create life.  To build the perfect woman.  The change of direction did little to alter the path of the Re-Animator franchise, Yuzna (serving as Producer on the first film) allows for a seamless transition in this Bride of Frankenstein re-imagining.  The relocation to South America was an interesting one, certainly heavy in political connotations during a time of serious upheaval thanks to continuous American intervention and regime change.  This original touch, unfortunately, doesn't last long as our “heroes” return to Arkham and the mess they left behind.  What could have been hugely impressive and interesting as the two Americans ran rough shot of laws and morality in South America…though perhaps that was a little close to the bone in 1990.

Yuzna’s direction is incredibly sharp, it’s a shame that so much of his oeuvre is overlooked or fails to find a market.  In Society he sculpted a look and narrative structure that allowed a beautiful marriage of Film Noir and Horror and though he deals skilfully with the look and tension of Bride of Re-Animator the problem resides in the script which he co-wrote along with Rick Fry and Woody Keith.  There are some wonderfully dark moments of comedic release in the film, though largely these are visual rather than stemming out of the dialogue and while the use of the tough police officer allows for a dramatic tension there’s something lacking…originality.

Combs puts in a welcomingly nostalgic performance in the comfortable skin of Herbert West as does Abbott (Dan Cain) and it genuinely seems that the two are enjoying being back on the ward and dealing in body parts – perhaps a little more than we are enjoying watching them.  Kathleen Kinmont as Gloria is a great piece of casting and Claude Earl Jones as Lieutenant Chapham provides much of the films driving force but it’s returnee David Gale (as Dr. Hill) who manages to steal the show without even having a body – though Yuzna is kind enough to supply him with something that is so typically Yuzna yet classically in keeping with the tradition of what would be deemed “Classic American Horror”.

There’s some nice touches to Bride of Re-Animator but the problem with remaking a sequel to your horror film that was a remake of another is that you inherit all the problems of the original film…and more.  Sadly uneven and unrecognisable to the work of the man whose name sits over the title.


Real Queen of Horror said...

I heard of this movie but I wasn't too sure if I wanted to watch it. :\ I may skip it now!

John Baxter said...

Sad but true, Beyond Re-Animator review is coming...eventually

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