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John’s Horror Corner: Bride of Re-Animator (1990), the wildly gory bonkers sequel that is somehow even nuts than the original.

June 30, 2020

MY CALL: Definitely a more gory and much more zany follow-up to the original. So if you enjoyed Re-Animator (1985), I’d recommend continuing the romantic blood-and-gutsy story. MORE MOVIES LIKE Bride of Re-Animator: Looking for more love stories gone-wrong via reanimation? Try The Bride (1985), Frankenhooker (1990) or Return of the Living Dead part 3 (1993).

MORE LOVECRAFTIAN HORROR MOVIES:  For more Lovecraftian adaptations, try Screamers (1979; aka Island of the Fishmen, Something Waits in the Dark and L’isola degli uomini pesce), Re-Animator (1985), From Beyond (1986), The Unnamable (1988), The Unnamable 2: The Statement of Randolph Carter (1992), The Resurrected (1991), Necronomicon: Book of the Dead (1993), Lurking Fear (1994), Dagon (2001), Dreams in the Witch-House (2005), Color Out of Space (2019) and The Dunwich Horror (1970). And although not specifically of Lovecraftian origins, his influence is most palpable in Prince of Darkness (1987), In the Mouth of Madness (1994), The Void (2016), The Shrine (2010), Baskin (2015), Cold Skin (2017)—most of which are on the more gruesome side to varying degrees.

Continuing 1985’s plot based on H. P. Lovecraft’s story “Herbert West, Re-Animator,” director Brian Yuzna (Society, Necronomicon: Book of the Dead, Faust, Return of the Living Dead III)—returning after producing part 1—follows in the footsteps of former director Stuart Gordon (Dolls, The Pit and the Pendulum, Dagon, King of the Ants, Re-Animator). And likewise returning with his impish scoring is Richard Band (Parasite, Mutant, Ghoulies, Puppet Master, Re-Animator) and his feisty style a la Danny Elfman meets Beetlejuice (1988).

When we left medical student Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs; Necronomicon: Book of the Dead, Would You RatherThe FrightenersLurking FearCellar Dweller) in 1985, he was being violently suffocated to death by Dr. Hill’s (David Gale; Re-Animator, The Brain, The Guyver) animated intestines as his classmate Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott; Re-Animator) fled through a hallway of naked zombies to try to save his fiancée Megan (Barbara Crampton; Beyond the GatesYou’re NextLords of SalemChopping MallWe Are Still Here)… save her with West’s reagent, that is.

We pick up eight months later as Doctors West and Cain serve as military medics overseas. I have no idea how they avoided prison or a psych ward after the events of part 1 at their medical school… which apparently still held graduation on time despite the deaths of the dean, his daughter and the school’s star professor. In some tropical war-torn country, they have further developed the reagent using recently deceased soldiers and, apparently, iguanas.

This sequel continues the next chapter to befall the Miskatonic Hospital in Arkham, Massachusetts once the two ill-fated physicians return. An investigator is looking into the death of Dr. Hill, the Miskatonic pathologist knows something pathologically strange is going on regarding the once-reanimated cadavers, Dan is falling for a couple women while still pining for his lost Megan, and West is animating adorable little Claymation fingers-and-eyeball creations.

The blood is abundant and the finger-eye critter Claymation is really kinda’ cute. I loved watching it scurry around the living room while the detective was interrogating the doctors. Meanwhile, West capitalizes on Dan’s interest in their fellow overseas veteran Francesca (Fabiana Udenio; In the Army Now, RoboCop 2) and his terminally ill yet attractive patient Gloria (Kathleen Kinmont; Halloween 4).

This sequel is abundantly more humorous than its predecessor, and the gore and effects celebrate its next-level lunacy. This wanders into Frankenhooker (1990) territory with animated legs and feet stitched together kicking someone in the face, a dog comically stitched with a human hand grabbing at you for a jump scare, a flying severed head with bat wings (yes, that actually happens!), and the psychotically amorous macabre bride of Frankenstein who rips out her own heart to present it to her would-be lover before going to pieces. This may not be of the “classic” quality of part 1, but it’s every bit as fun to watch even though I’d admittedly revisit it less frequently than the original.

This movie ends much as the first, with the fate of Herbest West seemingly hopeless when a crypt collapses over him as he is being swarmed by his own malformed miscreations. God, I love these movies.

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