Bride of Re-Animator (1989)
BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR
WRITER: Story adapted by Woddy Keith & Rick Fry and Brian Yuzna
Screenplay by Woddy Keith & Rick Fry
DIRECTOR: Brian Yuzna
STARRING: Bruce Abbott as Dan Cain
Claude Earl Jones as Lt. Leslie Chapham
Fabiana Udenio as Francesca Danelli
David Gale as Dr. Carl Hill
Kathleen Kinmont as Gloria/The Bride
Mel Stewart as Dr. Graves
Jeffrey Combs as Dr. Herbert West
QUICK CUT: A pair of doctors trying to save lives become the center of an investigation by the police.
Herbert West - The most determined scientist to ever science. He is driven, to the point of pushing aside almost all else, for the sake of his pursuits. Nothing will stop him from learning more. Not people, not morals, not the undead. If he can learn something from it, he'll do it. Because science.
Dan Cain - Herbert's long suffering friend and roommate and science partner. He's less determined, and his conscience and morals prevent him from going full on mad scientist. He has a good heart though, and knowing their work could save and better lives make him easy to manipulate.
Francessca - A woman the pair meet in South America, who comes looking for them in Massachusetts to be a romantic entanglement.
Lt. Chapham - A police officer whose wife he killed and came back as a result of the experiments in the first movie. He wants answers, and he's gonna get them.
Dr. Hill - He a head. And the head want revenge.
THE GUTS: Let me just inject y'all with some reagent, and Trisk can rise from the dead and get into watching Bride of Re-Animator! Yep, the sequel to the original, bringing back most of the cast, and continuing the creepy adventures of Doctor Herbert West. So let's dive right in and see what Herb and Dan have been up to since last we saw them...
Which would be eight months ago and they are now in the middle of a South American revolution. The upside is, it gives them plenty of test subjects to perfect the serum. The bad news is, there's an armed revolution going on around them. It's not long before that all goes to hell and they return to Miskatonic and Arkham.
Oh, there's also a brief return of Doctor Hill's floating head yelling at West, but there is zero context for this. Is it happening? A nightmare? No just a head floating and yelling.
They immediately get their jobs back at the hospital, and Dan makes a new friend in a dying patient named Gloria.
Where West sees an opportunity in a terminal patient, Dan instead sees a patient to care for in her final days. I love their ongoing fight between those two sides of a similar coin, and the morality of this whole thing.
Meanwhile, down in the morgue, Dr. Graves gets paid a visit by the detective in charge of investigating last movie's massacre, Lieutenant Chapham. And he brought the doctor a present, a severed head!
The good doctor shows the detective the rest of the remains from the massacre, establishing that none of the remains are showing any signs of decay. It's a pretty efficient way to set that up and that there's still some life in there.
Graves and the cop head down to the incinerator where other fragments have been burned, just in time to see a cremation. Of a body whose feet have gone missing. Is that a plot point? A clue: Yes.
Chapham raises an eyebrow at body parts going missing, but Graves just tries to laugh it off with a, but who would want to steal body parts!
In fact, West is doing that right that very second, as he pokes around the remains of his massacre...and it's never really addressed how he even survived the first movie, but whatever.
West digs around his old playmates, and finds the heart of Meg, from the first time around. Which is still somewhat alive, as they've said. He also finds Hill's head sitting there, and taunts it, not realising it's Not Quite Dead.
Dan heads home, still living with West, and oh, this time they've moved into an old funeral home. Which also has convenient tunnel access to the tombs next door. This can't possibly go wrong.
West is like the living embodiment of "FOR SCIENCE! :D" The man will do anything, just to see if he can. Morality and whether or not he should, be damned. All he wants to do is try shit and see what happens. Because science!
As evidenced by his proceeding to piece together a bunch of fingers and an eyeball, which meld together and become a single entity with the new and improved reagent. Because why not? FOR SCIENCE!
Dan chooses this moment to announce he's moving out, because he's fed up with, as he calls it, morbid doodling with human body parts. And that is such a great phrase.
West barely manages to convince him to stay, by promising to help bring Meg back to life. He does express some concern about the police finding them, but West reassures him no no, the police will NEVER come here.
So of course the doorbell instantly rings, and it's Chapham behind the door. This movie loves setting something up and immediately paying it off in perfect comedic fashion.
They chat about the night of the massacre, since Chapham still has unanswered questions, naturally. All while Handy is running around.
My only regret is that they could've made even more of this scene than they did, with the cop just barely missing seeing the critter. But in fairness, it probably would have become too much.
Later, Graves is experimenting with the reagent, trying to figure out, oh, what it even is. He's tinkering with a dead bat, half open for an autopsy, when it springs back to life, flapping it's pinned down wings.
I...I know intellectually this is just a puppet, but something about the flailing, the screeching, the sheer pain this thing conveys, makes this one of the single most uncomfortable, horrific things I've ever seen. And I've seen Human Centipede.
After it frees itself and attacks Graves, he manages to grab it and proceed to graphically slice off its wings. Okay NOW this is the most horrific thing, geeze. The Re-Animator movies DO NOT LIKE ANIMALS. Remember the dead cat bounce?
Meanwhile, West steals a body so he can build a better Meg, and Graves starts experimenting with Hill's head, reanimating it, much to his surprise. I mean, it's not every day a severed head comes to life and starts talking to you. He tries to show it to one of the lab techs, but Hill goes quiet whenever anyone else is around.
And of course, Hill is still a bit grumpy about what West did to him, so he begins to plot his revenge, with Graves help. Because Graves has hands. And legs.
While Herbie and Danny are doing there best Weekend at Bernie's, they run into Francessca, whom they met down in South America, and who saw some of their experiments. Which makes it strange when she's surprised and/or horrified by them later. You really shoulda known they were a bit off. But no, she comes over for a dinner date with Dan anyways!
She runs into Chapham, who tells her about the Miskatonic Massacre, and how it was orchestrated by Mister Sinist...er, wait, wrong massacre. He also shows her the dead but not dead survivors it was blamed on, including his wife.
Back at Herbert's House of Horrors, they're piecing together a woman from all the best parts they can find, sticking pieces together, wiring them up, stapling them together. This seems like a terrible way to revive Meg.
Fran shows up to make dinner, while Herbert continues to doodle in the basement, and this can only end badly. At least no one ate a piece of someone.
I love watching West tinker with body parts. It's one of the pure joys of this movie, just sticking random shit together to see what happens. FOR SCIENCE!
And it helps that the effects work is top notch, creating some truly unique and horrific monsters. It wouldn't work if the creatures weren't any good. But most of the fun stuff comes later, for now he's just sticking random limbs together like I did with Modulok.
While Dan and Fran make love upstairs, West wanders around and finds the cop waiting in his living room, demanding to see the body West stole.
Chpaham forces his way down into the basement and sees all the dead bodies and pieces laying around. He freaks out, angry over this, and his reanimated wife from the first movie, and attacks West. Herbie uses an ether like gas he developed to kill the cop, and hey! Fresh corpse! Opportunity knocks! FOR SCIENCE!
Dan walks in during all this, and reluctantly goes along with it as a test before the Megsperiment. After being revived, being unhappy about this, and getting his arm chopped off, Chapham wanders upstairs to crash on the couch.
Francessca's dog smells something off though, attacks, and pays the price by having its own arm ripped off. Like I said earlier... But it's okay, West can staple them together!
Since that pretty much ends his relationship with Fran, Danny heads back to the hospital to see how that terminal patient from the start of the movie is doing. And West looks for a head.
Turns out she ain't doing too well, since she dies right on the spot. But hey! Two plotlines solved with one corpse!
Meanwhile, down in in pathology, the head of Hill is still just sitting there, randomly shouting out "DAMN YOU WEST!" I wonder if he does this every so often? Just sits there, grumpily breathing, and at random intervals just, "DAMN YOU WEST!" Graves will be eating lunch, and then...
Since Graves isn't exactly being a willing partner, Hill uses his mind over deader powers to summon the nearby reanimated to his side, including Chapham.
As he gathers his forces, West shows off his creation, explaining where all the parts came from, how they were all perfectly chosen to make the perfect person. Nice to have all the right people die at the right time.
Back at the hospital, Graves is being coerced a bit more forcefully to cooperate, and he attaches the severed batwings to Hill's head. Because why not? See, West would've just gone ahead and done it. FOR SCIENCE!
They repay his good work by locking him up in the freezer never to be seen again, while the cop goes to leave a box of Hill at West's front door.
Meanwhile, we pan through the hospital and see that a massacre happened while no one was looking. Well, where is the fun in that?
The boys finally piece together their collection, and wait for her to come to life, but the door buzzer rings again, and West grumpily goes to see who is bothering him now. You can tell he really wants to be there to see his creation come to life.
He finds the package waiting on the stoop, and takes it inside. Because of course you would bring in and open a mysterious box no one ordered, with no address for who it's to OR from.
West opens it up, and the flying head of Hill chases him around. Well, his shadow does, because budgetary issues.
Downstairs, the Megloriastrosity awakens in all her....glory, while outside lighting cracks, because Frankenstein. Also, Hill's Horde are hunting Francessca, and chase her inside, so everything is at least converging properly.
Herbie hunts for the head of Hill, but gets interrupted when Dan shows off their creation. She sees West and shies away from him. He is visibly hurt by this. His ego, his god complex, thought a creature he created would be more grateful to its father, its creator, its god.
The reanimated horde burst in before West's ego can be too damanged, and chase everyone down into the basement. Dan presents his new girlfriend, who is his old girlfriend, to his previous new girlfriend, who is no longer his girlfriend because he reanimated his old girlfriend to be his new girlfriend.
Francessca bluntly says that Zed's dead, baby, and it gives Dan pause. He realises what he's done, tampered with life, and with the best will in the world, that creature is not Meg.
The deadbarians are at the gate though, even though it takes them awhile to claw their way through the door. It's a good thing they don't have a Jason on their side, or they'd be on top of West and friends already.
Dan rejects his creation, and she does not take it well. She literally falls to pieces at being dumped. So that's at least one problem dealt with before the monsters come calling.
I love that as she's falling apart, the dead are crawling in, and with West trying to escape, he still has time and presence of mind to want to take notes of how the experiment went.
West tries to escape through the hole in the wall into the crypt next door, but he gets stopped by the flying batwinged severed head of a dead man, as well as all his attempts at doodling.
Everyone crawls into the crypt, or flies I guess, but the structural integrity has been seriously compromised. The place is already falling down around their ears, which for some people, are attacked to their nipples.
Anyways, the place collapses, and coincidentally, the only people to make it out of there alive are the living. You would think the guy who can fly would escape, but no. Everyone who's still alive at this point magically gets out.
The movie ends with our mad scientist walking off into the sunset, and Dan and Fran walking fast in the opposite direction to get away from him.
Video: Another release from Arrow Video, and it looks great. They are doing top notch work.
Audio: And the sound is just as good.
Sound Bite: "My god. They're using tools." More for Combs amazing deadpan delivery than anything else.
Body Count: Re-Animator films always bring the bodies. And bring them back! And kill them again!
1 - Herbert West kills a guy who's already dead with a gunshot to the head, 2:30
2 - Dan gets a raiding soldier in the head with a machete.
3 - West shoots another soldier.
4 - And another
5 - Poor Handy gets crushed.
6 - Lt. Chapham dies from magic gas.
7 - Francessca's puppy gets flung around and loses a limb.
8 - A rare occurrence of natural causes taking Gloria's life.
9 - A nurse gets murdered off screen
10 - And at least one other.
11 - The Megloristrosity falls apart.
12 - Bunches o' bodies buried.
Best Corpse - The Gloriastein creature falling apart is simply amazing.
Blood Type - B+: There could've been more red painting the screen, but we got a good amount. But where the movie really shines is the effects. The eyefinger creature, the amalgamations, the Meglorian thing...all great.
Sex Appeal: Naked corpse boobs!
Drink Up! Every time Doctor Hill wanders back into the movie.
Video Nasties: My love of Jeffrey Combs is well known, or should be by now. And he has a great speech in this movie, spitting in the face of God, and showcasing West's hubris in full effect.
Movie Review: This is a solid movie. The plot is pretty clear, and it rarely gets boring, with something always happening, or just around the corner. My biggest problem is that there's almost too much going on. I get why we wanted to have Doctor Hill come back, but he doesn't really DO anything. You could remove his part from the movie almost entirely, and the plot would be unchanged. It would be easy enough to have the reanimated escape and search out West, if Hill wasn't there to control them. The only thing he brings is his presence, his revenge, and okay, fine. HE'S A GIANT BAT WINGED SEVERED HEAD. Which is awesome. I'll forgive an overly busy plot and otherwise useless presence for that. Four out of five dog paws.
Entertainment Value: The effects are the big watchable draw here. They're amazing, and are sadly few and far between, until the final attack. But the mad doodling is tons of fun, and looks great and monstrous. It's the next level of Doctor Frankenstein. As always, Combs is amazing and chews scenery as appropriate. But the true scenery chewing goes to Doctor Hill, and the ladies. Gloria's acting, and Dan's when she dies are just...so amazing. Their acting is so over the top, especially the Gloria creature. It's so camp, almost becomes too much, and while I'm sure it will cross that line for others, the overacting is a definite draw for me. It is the Bride of Frankenstein as seen through the 80s and mad ideas they never would've thought of back in the era of black and white and beehive hairdos. Four out of five fingers...with a bonus eyeball.