Mad scientist Herbert West continues his work and
discovers a way to create human life from dead flesh.
Bride of Re-Animator (1990)
Directed by Brian Yuzna
Written by Zeph E. Daniel, Rick Fry, Brian Yuzna
Starring Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, David Gale, Mel Stewart, Claude Earl Jones, Fabiana Udenio, Kathleen Kinmont
Sequel to 1985's Re-Animator
Based on characters created by H.P. Lovecraft
Just when you thought you’d seen it all with the hilariously gory antics of Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator in 1985, Brian Yuzna (who produced the first film) jumped behind the camera for this delightfully demented sequel that James Whale would have been proud of. Is that a bold statement? Maybe because I don’t know the director personally but I suspect that he’d have appreciated his own sequel Bride of Frankenstein getting a new interpretation through the lens of H.P. Lovecraft’s own maniacal scientist, Dr. Herbert West, and his hunky assistant/accomplice Dan Cain.
What do you do if you’re Herbert West (Combs) and your groundbreaking research was halted by a disembodied head with a god complex? Take your good friend, Dan (Abbott), and go to Peru and volunteer as medics during a bloody civil war which allows you to continue your work of course! This is where we find my favorite mad scientist and his handsome Igor when Brian Yuzna’s flick opens. It’s been eight months since the events at the hallowed halls of Miskatonic University that saw Dr . West not only prove his theory but demonstrate its effects in a gory way. Arkham comes calling once more for the dynamic duo to continue their corpse revival hijinks though their return doesn’t go unnoticed. They’ve taken up residence in a formal funeral home, a truly perfect macabre homestead for these two, where West has continued to push the boundaries of his own work: he’s not just reviving dead bodies, he is MAKING new creatures and his ultimate goal is to make a woman! It is not all sunshine and puppy dogs for these two as Detective Chapham (Stewart) is questioning people at the hospital where it all happened and he has his eyes set on West and Cain for answers. To complicate matters even more a woman who worked with West and Cain, Francesca (Udenio), has come to Arkham to find Dan and continue their relationship. Why is it always the strange guys doing strange things that get the girls? As Dan rekindles his romance with Francesca, West procures parts for his newest creation and assembles his new creation/experiment/monument to his success in their basement/lab which also shares a wall with a nearby crypt! Seriously, who was the realtor and what was that conversation like? We’ll never know. While West has continued to be consumed by his work, Dan has struggled since the first movie losing his girlfriend Meg and has taken a personal interest in a terminal patient named Gloria (Kinmont). Though he knows that she is beyond saving and will die, Dan cannot fathom this happening and it drives him mad. When Gloria finally does die, he goes so far as to open her chest and attempt to start her heart. It is a truly mad scene and really shows that Dan has begun to follow in his mad friend’s footsteps. It is that desire to save Meg that aids West in bringing his creation to life. Earlier in the film, we meet Dr. Graves (Jones) who is in charge of the body parts left over from the first movie in a closet along with a vial of West’s serum…what could possibly go wrong? Among those items is Meg’s heart which West takes in order to manipulate Dan later on. Now, this wouldn’t be a proper sequel if we didn’t have a return of everyone’s favorite dickhead, Dr. Hill (Gale), and we have Det. Chapham to thank for that as he brings the head to Dr. Graves which is hilarious because, as he is trying to nail West and Cain for what happened from the first movie and to his wife, he is the catalyst for the events of this movie! I would go on but the events of this movie have to be seen to be truly appreciated. This is a special effects heavy, mad movie and one that has to be enjoyed with a packed house.
How could this film possibly top the gore and guffaws from the first film? Use the aforementioned Bride of Frankenstein as your template and let Screaming Mad George (he’s done demented work in A Nightmare on Elm Street and Society so you know he’s got a damn good imagination) and KNB FX (they are legends in the horror world for a reason) run wild with ideas, that’s how! You want flying, talking murder heads? You got it! Finger Cyclops? Check! A pooch that goes the extra mile to shake? Hell yeah! Mix all that in with a twisted story of love, loss, and severed limbs and you’ve got yourself a pretty damn good sequel in my opinion! Though the ending seems to be the final curtain call for our mad man of science, we are not done yet. There is still more to the tale as we go Beyond Re-Animator!