[31 Days of Horror: The Final Chapter] Day 30 – Bride of Re-Animator (1990)

Director: Brian Yuzna

Cast: Bruce Abbott, Claude Earl Jones, Fabiana Udenio, David Gale, Kathleen Kinmont, Jeffrey Combs

Screenplay: Rick Fry, Woody Keith, Brian Yuzna

96 mins. Rated R.

 

It took me some time to find a copy of Re-Animator. When I saw it, I loved it. It took me even longer to find a copy of Bride of Re-Animator, so maybe I’ll love it more?

Bride of Re-Animator picks up eight months after its predecessor as doctors Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott, The Prophecy II, Dillinger) and Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs, The Frighteners, Beethoven’s Treasure Tail) are continuing their re-animation experiments. West discovers that he can re-animate individual body parts and begins creating horrifying monstrosities. When he comes across the heart of Dan’s dead fiancée Megan, West convinces him to help craft a new body for her out of parts from the hospital’s morgue. On their trail, though, is Lt. Leslie Chapman (Claude Earl Jones, Dark Night of the Scarecrow, Tonya & Nancy: The Inside Story). Dan himself is torn as well when he becomes enamored by Francesca (Fabiana Udenio, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, The Wedding Planner), a journalist he met in Peru, but he finds it near-impossible to stop West’s madness and obsession over the reagent as dangers close in all around.

Bride of Re-Animator is zany and weird and horrific and funny and very enjoyable, although to a lesser extent than the original. It’s weird that the cult following for this trilogy isn’t as strong as, say, The Evil Dead, as they both embody many of the same trademark horror comedy. Now, this is a continuation of the H.P. Lovecraft tale, although many changes were made. It focuses on what follows with West’s experiments, and they do increase in their disturbing madness. The only issue is that Bride of Re-Animator is essentially the same story. They learn what not to do, they do it, they bring back a bunch of dead things that all come for them. I loved watching it all the same, but it is in the shadow of the original.

That’s not to say there aren’t original pieces to this puzzle. Director Brian Yuzna (Rottweiler, The Dentist 2) has a keen eye for taking a franchise and mythology and twisting it on a new path, and he does again here. The film is trying to be its own thing, but it keeps falling back on the original for better or worse.

At least it’s fun. Abbott and Combs have great chemistry as they are pulled further and further apart by West’s insane addition to his reagent. Bringing back David Gale (The Guyver, The Brain) as Doctor Carl Hill, the disembodied dead-but-not-dead creature from the first, was a welcome addition, even if it was unneeded.

Bride of Re-Animator isn’t trying to make new friends. It’s purely in existence because people love the first film. And this one is a lot of fun. Mind you, it isn’t as good as the original, but if you are one of the fans of Re-Animator, you should find some love in this horror/comedy sequel.

 

3.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator, click here.

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