Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator is an all-time classic of the horror world, slapping an added level of gore and dark humour to the already bloodstained landscape of 1980s horror. Over the following decades, the film itself has seen several re-releases, not to mention sequels, and now Second Sight have returned with yet another release of Gordon’s iconic movie. The question here, though, is whether this new release is worth your time.
For those unfamiliar with Re-Animator, the film centres on a brilliant-yet-unhinged medical student by the name of Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs). West’s arrival into the lives of fellow student Dan (Bruce Abbott) and his girlfriend Megan (Barbara Crampton) leads to a trail of blood and bizarreness as his experiments surrounding the re-animation of dead tissue get more and more out of control.
Stuart Gordon’s direction here is absolutely flawless for the tale he tells, with the cutting and camera work magically capturing the twisted chaos of the story. Performance-wise, Jeffrey Combs is the obvious star, with his turn as Herbert West launching the actor into the realms of horror royalty and subsequently being the reason for such a demand for a sequel (Re-Animator would be followed by 1990’s Bride of Re-Animator and 2003’s Beyond Re-Animator). Similarly, Dan Abbott and Barbara Crampton are great in their roles, whilst David Gale is majestically menacing as Dr. Hill, a professor who wants West’s work for his own twisted plans.
Of course, the main attraction of this release is the extra content. As well as featuring the complete uncut version of Gordon’s gorily gruesome effort, there’s also what’s known as the “integral” cut, a version of the film that features many of the initially-cut scenes reinserted. Both versions offer differing viewing experiences, although both are equally enjoyable. In addition to these varying cuts, there’s some fantastic audio commentaries included here, with Gordon offering an insightful look at the making of his movie, whilst another commentary features some great playful interaction between producer Brian Yuzna and the film’s principal cast. Then there’s a fantastic documentary looking at everything surrounding Re-Animator, plus some further added content such as the usual deleted scenes, trailers, etc. The thing is, all of these special features have been featured on the most recent cleaned-up HD release of Re-Animator back in 2014.
When it comes down to it, Stuart Gordon’s 1985 film is still as enjoyable as it’s ever been, particularly in 4K HD, but it all comes down to whether you have a previous release. All that’s different with this latest re-release is the sleek black box complete with reversible sleeve, which in itself looks great but maybe doesn’t necessarily warrant a purchase for fans who already have the 2014 release. If you’ve yet to pick up Re-Animator on Blu-ray, however, then there really is no better time to add this horror classic to your collection.
Special Features: ‘Unrated’ and ‘Integral’ cuts / Audio commentary with Stuart Gordon / Audio commentary with Brian Yuzna, Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, and Robert Sampson / Re-Animator Resurrects documentary / Interviews / Extended and deleted scenes / Trailers / Gallery
RE-ANIMATOR / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: STUART GORDON / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: JEFFREY COMBS, BRUCE ABBOTT, BARBARA CRAMPTON, DAVID GALE / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 14TH