Bride of Re-Animator (1990)

“Do you believe dead is dead, Dr. West?”

Perhaps the most insane hour and forty minutes of cinema to come out of 1990.  I love Bride of Re-Animator!  How can you not be sucked into a movie that immediately assaults your eyeballs with a floating severed head swearing revenge and cackling maniacally?  If you can look away you are far more easily distracted than myself.  The principal characters from the 1986 dark comedy/horror classic, sans Barbara Crampton, return in fine form.  Bruce Abbot returns as Dr. Dan Cain, David Gale returns as the head of Dr. Carl Hill and Jeffrey Combs returns as the scene chewing Dr. Herbert West.  Throw in a gorgeous Peruvian freedom fighter in the form of Fabiana Udenio, a statuesque cancer victim cum titular bride portrayed by Kathleen Kinmont,  and a gumshoe detective with an axe to grind played by Claude Earl Jones.  This is pretty much the Citizen Kane II of late 80’s early 90’s horror. 

One of my favorite creatures in all of horror-dom!

It is a rip-roaring madcap good time for sure.  It plays more like Frankenstein on speed than the previous installment.  In fact it seems to be more Bride of Frankenstein than Re-Animator.  The film maintains the same dark while being extremely campy feel of the first and even though it expanded the scope by opening in Peru, much like the first opened in Switzerland, it quickly contracts back down to Arkham, Massachusetts to provide the insular feeling of the Miskatonic University. There is zero explanation as to how Herbert West extracted himself from the angry innards of Dr. Hill–which helps show the playful nature of the series.  West is still the madman frequently laughing crazily at his own jokes/bad humor etc… and he once again assumes center stage while everyone else just seems to revolve around him.

Three really nice puppies in this picture.

The film has a seriously twisted role for Dan Cain.  He has a girlfriend who is alive and another who is dead, but alive again, and made up of different parts.  Not quite CEMETERY MAN action but close.  Really weird yet fun shit.  Before she was Alotta Fagina, Fabiana Udenio was Francesca, Dan Cain’s living love interest.  Before she was fucked by Michael Myers with a shotgun, Kathleen Kinmont was Gloria a cancer patient who provided the head to Franken…Herbert West’s creation for Dan… huh.  If you wondered if West was still mad, for some inexplicable reason he connects the forearm of a dog’s killer to the dead dog and reanimates it…a mad scientist is gonna do mad scientist shit I suppose.

One of the primary settings is the mad scientist lab in the basement of West and Cain’s house next to the cemetery. Here West continues his work and spouts off one liners such as “Here they are, cast off remains of a meaningless existence.”  Another fun thing about this flick (there really isn’t much that isn’t)  is that it actually uses quite a bit from H.P. Lovecraft’s serial story “Herbert West–Re-Animator”.  Chiefly the scene where West kills and re-animates Detective Chapham comes to mind.  When he becomes fully re-animated he looks at West in fear and says “Get away from me with that cloth!”  

The nightmarish Dr. Hill 2.0 flying at the forefront of his minions.

West and Cain bring the Bride to life, wedding dress like gauze and all, unaware that Dr. Carl Hill has been plotting his revenge against them.  The final showdown is what can be expected if you saw the first RE-ANIMATOR.  Shockingly graphic and brutal violence that seems to have come from the fever dreams of a schizophrenic.  Dr. Hill uses his psychic link to the reanimated to bring the cast offs of West’s experiments to attack the mad scientist lab from the hole in the mausoleum wall. Overall, everyone in this movie is absolutely stark raving bonkers.  The doctors, all four of them–West, Cain, Hill, Graves and the cop.  The only primary character with a shred of sanity it the scrumptious Francesca who is a very good stand in for the incredulous viewer! Even the Bride herself is mad when Dan rejects her advances the sewn up body begins to reject its component parts.

This film really is one of those that has to be seen to be believed.  It is dark, atmospheric, humorous and full of fun at once.  The strongest thing about this film has to be its heart.  It has a lot and it is willing to give it to you!

If you are reading this, I don’t know why you wouldn’t have seen this movie, but in case you haven’t you need to now!  Check it out a worthy successor to the original!

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