Herbert West is at it again

Brian Yuzna puts the guts into the Frankenstein story

In 1985 Brian Yuzna produced the gory classic Re-animator, loosely based of a series of stories by Howard Philips Lovecraft from about 75 years earlier. Four years later Yuzna had put on a few more producer credits and even directed a film, so he decided to have a shot at a Re-Animator sequel. The story is the ongoing adventure of Herbert West and his experiments in resurrecting the dead. Due to the imperfect nature of the experiments, Herbert moves around a lot.
Thanks to some of the first films over the top reanimation scenes, it developed quite a following, and launched the career of cult actor Jeffrey Combs. That original film ended with Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) having lost his girlfriend Megan Halsey (Barbara Crampton) going for the bright green reanimating fluid once more.

Looking for a little head ?

If you haven’t seen the first film, you will miss out on the relationships of some of the continuing characters, but this isn’t such a complex film that you will miss out on much (though if you are interested, there is a good version available as an import called the Elite Millennium edition). This film opens with West and Cain working in an army field hospital (which is straight out of one of the original short stories, though updated from WW1). Unfortunately, the war turns badly and they return to Misatonic University, and to a lovely house by the cemetery to continue their strange experiments. As you may guess from the title, Meg does make an appearance of sorts, as West and Cain assembly various body parts in order to bring her back, better than ever.

There is gore. You got flying body parts aplenty, and the story is relatively strong, dealing with the trouble reanimating a dead body can cause better than Kenneth Branagh’s Frankenstein (1994). There isn’t the lunacy that the first film displayed as it careered from bizarre scene to scene, but this is still a bucket of fun.

The biggest disappointment about this DVD is the picture quality. It is abysmal. There are a good amount of extras, including two commentaries, a deleted scene and a featurette, but the disc is really let down but the dark grainy quality of the features’ picture.

A good lark, gory, funny, but not scary.