Re-Animator: Millennium Edition DVD Review
Written by Peter West
DVD released by Elite Entertainment
Directed by Stuart Gordon
Written by Stuart Gordon and William Norris, based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft
1985, Region 1 (NTSC), 86 minutes, Not rated
Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West
Bruce Abbott as Dan Cain
Barbara Crampton as Megan Halsey
David Gale as. Doctor Carl Hill
Robert Sampson as Dean Alan Halsey
Gerry Black as Mace, Miskatonic Security Guard
Herbert West is a medical student. While studying in Vienna, he discovers a re-animating formula that brings dead tissue back to life. After the death of his mentor Dr. Grüber, West enrolls in Miskatonic University in the small town of Arkham, Massachusettes. Answering an advertisement for a roommate from Dan Caine, a fellow medical student, West moves in with Caine. This was much to the dismay of Megan Halsey, Caine's girlfriend, who also happens to be the Dean's daughter. Caine soon gets involved up to his neck in West's outlandish experiments with drastic consequences. The movie evolves into the funniest gore fest to have ever hit the screen!
In 1967 I bought a paperback called "Dragon and other Macabre Tales", a collection of H.P. Lovecraft stories. At my tender age and the way times were back then, I was terrified reading them. The one story that stuck in my mind was "Herbert West: Re-Animator". Never had the written word left such a impression on me! When I saw that a modern day movie had used that story as it's basis, I wondered "How could Lovecraft be translated to the screen?" Well, they did it, and it was wilder than anything old H.P. could have dreamed of back in the late 1920's. There is one mistake Mr. Gordon makes in his commentary: "Herbert West: Re-Animator" is not out of print. You can purchase this and other H.P. Lovecraft stories from Arkham House, the publishing house dedicated to his memory.
Video and Audio:
The film is presented in a new THX Approved Digital Master, 16 x 9 Anamorphic WideScreen (Aspect Ratio 1.85:1). I own the two previous versions Elite released and this one is far superior to the previous releases. Colors are strong and vivid. This is the best the movie has looked since it was originally shown, maybe better.
The DVD has 4 seperate soundtracks: DTS 5.1 Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Isolated 5.1 Dolby Digital Music Score and Original 2.0 Mono mix. Not having DTS equipment I did not get to enjoy the that track, but I did listen to the others and they are incredible. The isolated soundtrack is enjoyable, as background music to do chores, homework, etc. Nothing has been spared audio-wise on this release!
- Animated Motion Menus
- New Video Interview with Fangoria Editor Tony Timpone
- 16 Extended Scenes (16 x 9 Anamorphic)
- Deleted Scene (16 x 9 Anamorphic)
- Theatrical Trailer (16 x 9 Anamorphic)
- 5 TV Spots
- Music Discussion with Composer Richard Band (4 scenes)
- Multi-Angle Story Boards (3 scenes)
- Behind-The-Scenes Photo Gallery
- Biographies and Filmographies of Cast and Filmmakers
Here's where Elite has truly provided everything the casual or rabid fan of this movie can enjoy! New video interview with Director Stuart Gordon and Producer Brian Yuzna, where they discuss everything from the inseption of the project, it's evolution into the movie (it was originally planned to be a series), to how everything was brought together for the filming. A new video interview with Composer Richard Band, where he confirms the long rumored foundation in Hitchcock's Psycho. A video interview with writer Dennis Paoli, where he discusses how the original Lovecraft story was adapted to the screenplay. I found these all to be interesting and enjoyable!
Commentaries include director Stuart Gordon, who gives a running blow by blow of the entire project. He talks about the actors, sets, and how effects were done. Overall, it is a Re-Animator lesson from the man who made it. The second commentary features Producer Brian Yuzna and Actors Jeffrey Combs, Robert Sampson, Barbara Crampton and Bruce Abbott. This is in my opinon a Re-Animator party/reunion! Laughs abound between the cast members as they reminise their roles. A running joke is Barbara Crampton refering to her scene on the gurney with David Gale's head as her mother's favorite part of the movie! One of the best commentaries out there!
What more could a fan of this movie ask for? I personally believe that Elite has given this movie a presentation that is unparalleled by any DVD studio release for a cult horror film. There are six hours of extras on disc two alone. I can not think of any DVD that can rival this! Vini Bancalari, President of Elite Entertainment, has provided Re-Animator fans with THE definitive version, as well as the best value dollar for dollar a DVD special edition can be!