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This review originally appeared in issue 13 of THE CINEMA LASER.


Elite Entertainment should be congratulated for bringing back a cult classic in a marvelous 10th Anniversary Edition. RE­ANIMATOR ($50) is an absolute scream, and I mean it both ways. Without question, RE­ANIMATOR is one of the best horror movies of the 1980's, if not the best. What distinguishes this film is its ability to work on two levels. First, RE­ANIMATOR is a truly disturbing horror movie. Second, RE­ANIMATOR is a very demented and funny black comedy.

Based upon the works of H.P. Lovecraft, RE­ANIMATOR is the tale of medical student, Herbert West, who has discovered a chemical reagent that can re­animate the dead. While the reagent can restore the chemical process of life to dead tissue, those resurrected aren't exactly what they once were. Upon being kicked out of medical school for his unauthorized experiments, West tries to prove the merit of his work, but instead winds up turning the medical school's dean into a drooling zombie. Things only get worse when West's arch nemesis discovers the reagent, and makes plans to take credit for West's work. Of course, West's nemesis loses his head (quite literally) over the situation, and then raises an undead army for a bloody showdown with West in the morgue. With its "off the wall" plot, RE­ANIMATOR manages to be both gross and hilarious at the same time. Director Stuart Gordon raises sick humor to new heights with the film's most infamous scene concerning the sexual appetites of the disembodied head and the naked co­ed. Obviously, getting "head" isn't what it used to be... RE­ANIMATOR also raises splatter to new heights with gallons of stage blood, and the most disgusting assortment of rampaging naked corpses ever assembled for any film. The cast of RE­ANIMATOR features Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, David Hill, Barbara Crampton and Robert Sampson.

The two previous Laserdisc editions of RE­ANIMATOR were murky, dark disasters, not worth owning. Now, thanks to Elite Entertainment, RE­ANIMATOR has finally been given a good transfer and a Letterboxed one to boot. The Image has been matted to a proper 1.85:1 and appears well balanced. The transfer itself was created from a new element generated off the original negative, and is first rate. While the low budget of the original production is quite evident, the colors appear fresh, the image sharp, and even the numerous darker sequences look good. The digital monaural soundtrack is crisp clear and well worth amplifying. The Pioneer pressing had only minor speckling. Elite has supplemented this release with a theatrical trailer, as well as several television promotional spots. In addition, there is cut footage which was part of the R rated version of RE­ANIMATOR, plus a never before seen dream sequence. On analog track one there is an audio commentary by director Stuart Gordon. Gordon describes the difficulties of the creative process, and how RE­ANIMATOR came into being. On analogue track two there is an audio commentary which features producer Brian Yuzna, as well as cast members Combs, Abbott, Crampton and Sampson. Track two is almost as entertaining as the film itself, with the cast members reminiscing about the making of the film and interjecting humorous anecdotes.

Elite Entertainment has given Laserdisc collectors a truly first rate edition of RE­ANIMATOR. This is one Laserdisc that horror hounds will definitely want to add to their libraries.


Laserdisc reviews are Copyright © 1996 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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