Re-Animator (1985) Arrow Video Blu-ray Review



A classic gore horror film with high energy and an anything-goes mentality. Arrow’s deluxe treatment is outstanding.

Plot: A dedicated student at a medical college and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue when an odd new student arrives on campus.

Review: A radical medical student named Herbert West (jittery Jeffrey Combs) flees Europe after being expelled from med school, and he relocates to New England where he promptly leases a room with a fellow med student named Dan Cain (Bruce Abbot). As they attend classes, Dan quickly surmises that his roomie is a deranged scientist, intent on finding a cure for death itself. West has already perfected a reanimation serum that brings the dead back to a semblance of life, and as West’s persuasive methods prove to Dan that he’s onto something incredible, Dan crosses the line and joins him in the experiments. Forsaking his lovely fiancé (played by Barbara Crampton) and a possibly stable future with her, Dan’s destiny turns grim when West becomes a murder for the sake of science. Using West’s glowing green liquid drug, they screw up big time when one of their instructors finds out about their discovery, turning the dean of the college himself into a subservient zombie, which creates havoc for them as their new archenemy has plans of his own to steal West’s notes and take all the credit for himself …

A high energy freakshow of horror, humor, sex, and violence, Stuart Gordon’s now classic cult film Re-Animator set a high bar for anything-goes gore gags and twisted situations. The film hasn’t lost its punch or zing, and even as Gordon and producer Brian Yuzna grew as filmmakers, this is where it all began and made them infamous. Based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft, Re-Animator spawned two film sequels and a hilarious stage musical. The performances (particularly by Combs and co-star David Gale as the pervy professor) are memorable and fun, and the infectious daring of the whole endeavor is appealing, especially for fans of the horror genre.

Arrow Video recently released a two-disc limited edition Blu-ray set in a hardcover shell, which contains the unrated version (86 minutes) and the newly made available “Integral Version” (105 minutes), which fleshes out characters with previously unseen footage. Both versions have been restored in 4K HD quality, and tons of special features, including commentaries, documentaries, and oodles of extras fill out the supplements. A cool added bonus is that the set also comes with the entire 3-episode Adventure Comics run from1991 in a reprinted, palm-sized edition. The set is now out of print.