brian yuzna

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Bride of Re-Animator (1989)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Bride of Re-Animator (1989)

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By Nick Durham

Oh Arrow Video, how you spoil me. No more having to watch that crap, out-of-print (and edited) DVD version from Artisan, here we are with a wonderful Blu-ray release of the underappreciated Bride of Re-Animator. Like they did with their Society release, Arrow has gone above and beyond with the treatment they’ve given this film, and this package is quite the sight to behold. This is a film I have held in relatively high regard, even if some of it feels a little cheaper in overall quality compared to the original.

This 1989 sequel to Stuart Gordon’s 1985 classic Re-Animator, Bride of Re-Animator finds Brian Yuzna (who produced the first film, as well as being the director of Society, Return of the Living Dead 3, and tons more) in the director’s chair this time around. The film picks up eight months after the massacre at Miskatonic, with Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and Dan Cain (Bruce Abbot) in Peru during a civil war as meatball surgeons. They’re both still testing the limits of West’s reagent serum, and eventually the two of them wind up back at Miskatonic. There’s a cop (Claude Earl Jones) scoping them out for his own personal reasons, a beautiful woman (Fabiana Udenio) that has caught Dan’s eye, and the re-animated head of Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale) has returned to wreck havoc. Oh, and the boys are trying to make their own Frankenstein-ish monster from dead body parts, including the heart of Dan’s late fiancé Megan (who was played by the great Barbara Crampton in the original film).

Yeah, things are a little convoluted to say it lightly in terms of the plot and story of Bride of Re-Animator. Some of the character’s motivations, particularly Dan Caine’s, are so all over the place it’s hard to really sympathize with him, especially when he makes puppy dog eyes to any female character with a pulse. Plus, as I had mentioned earlier, some elements of it feel kind of cheap. One thing I will say is that the grotesque gore and makeup effects from the then fledgling KNB Effects group as well as Screaming Mad George and John Carl Buechler are the bloody icing on the cake. Some of the puppet effects have definitely not aged well though, but in all honesty that isn’t too much of a surprise. Those flaws aside, I still find this film to be an underappreciated sequel that sadly doesn’t get enough of the recognition that it deserves.

What also isn’t a surprise is how much love and care that Arrow Video has put into this Blu-ray release. The film has been remastered in 2K for the unrated version, and the R-rated version is here too for shits and giggles. While the unrated version looks great, there is a noticeable degradation in the picture quality during the unrated scenes of the film (which honestly makes it easy to tell what got cut from the film during its original release). There’s a bunch of commentary tracks featuring Yuzna, Combs, Abbot, Kurtzman, and more besides; as well as a retrospective with Yuzna, a few looks at the film’s FX, deleted scenes, and more. This limited edition set from Arrow also features a booklet reprint of the awesome comic book prequel to the first film. Yes, this set is a thing of beauty.

So yeah, it goes without saying that you need to get your hands on this Bride of Re-Animator set from Arrow. It’s a beautiful sight to behold, and it’s more than worth your time and attention. Pick this up while you still can.

Rating: 5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Society (1989)

By Nick Durham

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Arrow Films, you treat me so good.

Long out of print on DVD, Brian Yuzna's delirious and insanely underrated Society is finally available on Blu-ray on this side of the pond, and holy sweet fucking Jesus, it's totally fucking amazing. This is quite possibly the definitive Blu-ray horror movie release not just of this year, but perhaps any year. Yes, even more so than Scream Factory's Nightbreed set. That's right, I said it.

Anyway, for the uninitiated, Society is about a teenage boy (Billy Warlock, which is probably the greatest name for an actor in a horror movie in the history of ever) who often feels out of his place with his wealthy family and contemporaries. Turns out it's because almost everyone he knows in high society is a humanoid creature that feasts upon the nutrients of the humans. Yes, the rich literally feed on the poor. The social commentary is far from subtle, but that is quite okay, because even to this very day, this 1989 (though not released until 1992) film remains shockingly and frighteningly relevant.

The real main attraction of Society is the makeup effects, which you probably already know about. Designed by Screaming Mad George, the effects here are shockingly imaginative, inventive, and totally fucking disgusting. The concluding "shunting" scene is something that you have to see to believe. Even if you've never seen the film nor have any desire to, look it up on YouTube, right now. You'll never forget what you're about to see, trust me.

I had mentioned in the beginning that Arrow Films really went out of their way with this Blu-ray set, and I wasn't kidding. Packaged in a deluxe case/box and featuring a reprint of the comic book only sequel Society: Party Animal, as well as the typical Arrow collectible booklet. There's a new commentary from Brian Yuzna, as well as new interviews with Yuzna, George, Warlock, and others involved in the film. There's a featurette on the effects work, a Q&A with Yuzna, and tons more as well. This set is fucking brilliant to put it bluntly.

I could gush over Arrow's Society Blu-ray forever, but I won't. I know I've said to pick up every other Arrow Films Blu-ray release before, and I still mean that, but you should pick up Society first and foremost. This is an absolute must own. I'm not kidding, stop what you're doing right now and go pick this up. Thank me later.

Rating: 5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments