Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Second Sight - RE-ANIMATOR 2 Disc Special Edition Blu-ray ""

Monday, June 2, 2014

Second Sight - RE-ANIMATOR 2 Disc Special Edition Blu-ray

RE-ANIMATOR is one of those very formative movies for me. I saw it at a young age (high school sometime) and it really stuck with me. Because of the 'man carrying severed head' similarities, I think it hit me even harder because it reminded me of the "Go To The Head of the Class" episode of AMAZING STORIES that Robert Zemeckis directed (which first showed on TV in 1986, about a year after RE-ANIMATOR). I caught "Go To The Head of the Class" first and it absolutely terrified me. I was unused to seeing anything like that on television and had perhaps sheltered myself from horror in general to that point. So a few years later I finally saw RE-ANIMATOR which was of course more intense that the AMAZING STORIES and it freaked me out, but I loved it. I hadn't really seen many performances like the Jeffrey Combs gives as Dr. Herbert West. It was this wacky, but oddly believable portrayal that is one of the great horror performances of the 1980s. If you've seen Combs in this film or others, you can understand why his cult appeal. His ability to play "unhinged" characters like Herbert West (his career defining role) is truly a sight to behold. He brings a whole new meaning to the words "mad scientist". Herbert West is my favorite character if this type without question. I had of course never seen Barbara Crampton before either and she was simply mesmerizing to me. She is gorgeous even this very day and I know I had a crush on her almost immediately back when I first saw the film. Even more than EVIL DEAD II (which I also saw around the same time and loved), RE-ANIMATOR was this perfect storm of sexual titillation and horror/fright that just opened up some craziness in my mind. Seeing it at that age when I was just getting heavier into seeing R-rated films on my own made it feel all the more verboten to me. Nothing pleases me more than to see her cropping up in recent horror films like YOU'RE NEXT as well as others. She is still as radiant as ever to this day.
RE-ANIMATOR has great source material obviously in H.P. Lovecraft but I wouldn't become really aware of that until years later. In fact, Stuart Gordon would basically spoil me for all other Lovecraft adaptations as his work with bringing the material to life is unrivaled in my opinion. Between RE-ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND and DAGON (all of which I like a lot) he does Lovecraft better than anyone else. One thing that helps along RE-ANIMATOR in particular is the casting of Jeffrey Combs. Another element to the success of RE-ANIMATOR is the film's score (by Richard Band). To call it Bernard Hermann inspired is being kind as there are several melodic elements that are more or less lifted whole hog the score to PSYCHO. Not that that's a bad thing mind you though as this sort of music plays amazingly well with a more contemporary gore film like this. Apparently Bands goal was to bring a level of camp to the proceedings with this score and I think it works. It sets a wonderfully sinister and yet oddly playful mood. One other quick thing I find fascinating, outside of the casting of the film, is that the source material was written in the 1920s as a serialized pulp story. That just blows my mind. Apparently, Lovecraft was none too pleased with the stories at the time as he was forced to 'cliffhangerize' each one, but he obviously was onto something as the Herbert West character and the stories themselves were enough to inspire one heck of an amazing movie. 
RE-ANIMATOR is for me one of those horror films that really throws down the gauntlet though. It really pushes the bounds of what horror fans were used to seeing as far as gore goes at the time it came out. Even today, it looks pretty gloriously gross in comparison to a lot of horror films to come down the pike in the past 15 to 20 years. It is quite the institution as a movie and I hope it continues to hold that status for many years to come. 
Bonus Features
--The ‘Unrated’ Version of the film in a brand new 4k restoration. This is one of the big selling points on this new set. The film has been released on Blu-ray before, but this transfer is quite lovely I must say. Also included in this set is the "Integral Cut" of the film which is a bit longer and incorporates elements of the R-rated version as well as the uncut (more plot-based scenes that were excised for the uncut).
--Audio commentary with director Stuart Gordon
--Audio commentary with producer Brian Yuzna, and actors Jeffrey Combs, Robert Sampson, Barbara Crampton and Bruce Abbott
--Re-Animator® Resurrectus documentary (68 mins) - a great retrospective documentary featuring all the principle cast and crew. Director Stuart Gordon and Producer Brian Yuzna talk about their choice to throw out the idea if leaving the gruesome horror to the imagination of the viewer and to be as audacious as possible to help make their film stand out. The doc touches on everyone's history with the project and how they went about bringing it to the screen. Any horror fan will likely love this look back and inside the making of a classic of the genre such as RE-ANIMATOR.
--Interviews with Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna, writer Dennis Paoli, composer Richard Band and Fangoria editor
Tony Timpone
--Extended scenes, deleted scene and trailers

No comments: