In 1962, the government was conducting secret experiments in the small town of Poesville, Mississippi. Due to their macabre forays into worlds beyond ours, they unleashed a horrible plague on the small town. Now, overrun by ghoulish creatures, one man will fight to save his family. And the world. And the civil rights movement.
THIS. IS. TRORROR.
Hey there, Rapper Person- please move the spotlight away from that respectable young woman’s buttocks. She’s someone’s daughter, for God’s sake!
Take one batshit crazy doctor with an affinity for reanimating dead people… and then let that same man find out that he can actually revive parts of dead bodies, and you got yourself a sequel to a movie that didn’t need one, but is even more awesome because of it.
Herbert West was killed at the end of the first film… or so we think. Needless to say, since we didn’t see him expire on camera, it didn’t happen. At the beginning of this film, West and his doctor buddy/accomplice Dan Cain are still knee deep in the dead and dying- West is still trying to further his research, while Dan is reluctantly along for the ride. Herbert’s got more than a bit of leverage on ol’ Dan- namely, his dead girlfriend’s heart. Herbert walks a fine line here- sometimes he’s actually acting like he’s looking out for Dan’s best interests, and other times he’s just a complete and utter ass. It’s this particular bit of duality that anchors the film and makes for some fun sequences.
After the first film, Herbert’s still under suspicion concerning everything that happened – countless deaths, anarchy, and everything in between. Hell, some of his experiments are still in the psychiatric ward because no one seems to know that they’ve been reanimated… except for one lone detective. Said detective has more than a bone to pick with West, as his wife ended up being one of his “test subjects”. The detective heads to West’s place, confronts him on the matter… and West proceeds to turn the tables on him, as it’s revealed that the detective quite possibly beat his wife to death. It becomes an interesting situation of who to root for- the shitty wife-beating detective that knows who responsible for all the bad stuff that’s happened in town, or the insane doctor that will do anything in order to further his own research?
THERE’S SOMETHING FUN GOING ON HERE
There are nuances and subtleties to Jeffery Combs’ performance as Dr. Herbert West that you have to see for yourself. You tend to root for him even though he’s doing all sorts of horrible things in order to further his own goals. There’s a bit of a horrific likability to the character- the bastard shouldn’t win, but damn it, it’s fun to see him go further and further as he attempts to conquer death.
Bride of Re-Animator keeps everything in place from the first film while moving forward. There’s a sense that for everything that’s happened between them, Herbert and Dan are friends. As crazy as things get, the two of them keep each other afloat… even when every single reanimated body part that Herbert’s ever toyed with tries to kill them both.
BUT THERE’S GOTTA BE AN ACTUAL VILLAIN, RIGHT?
Yeah, sure- in this case, it’s the reanimated head of Dr. Hill from the first film. With bat wings on his head. He’s pissed… probably because Barbara Crampton isn’t around for him to, uh… “talk to down South”, ifyaknowwhatImeanandIthinkyado.
AND WHAT ABOUT THE “BRIDE” STUFF?
Oh yeah, that. Well, Dan’s all distraught due to Meg’s (his girlfriend from the first film- remember when I wrote about the first film years and years ago? Hit up the archives!) death, and as life continues to beat him down, he goes along with Herbert’s plan of using her heart as the basis of a whole new creation- Herbert snags body parts from anyone he can in order to pull this feat off, and… well… it happens in a very gory fashion.
THAT’S FUCKING DISGUSTING
You try watching it, buster!
The kicker comes when, as mentioned, everything West has reanimated comes after him during the world’s worst thunderstorm. It’s a wonderful throwback to the end of Lovecraft’s actual “Re-Animator” story… of course, you can never keep a good, batshit crazy doctor down for the count. “Beyond Re-Animator” is lurking around here somewhere…
WHAT WORKS IN THIS ONE
Jeffery Combs and Bruce Abbott are gold. Charles Band’s score. Kathleen Kinmont as titular Bride. The dog with a human forearm grafted onto it for a leg. Random blood spurts because it’s an Eighties horror movie.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK IN THIS ONE
The fact that my copy of this film is so old and so out of print, it’s on a flipper DVD. The sacrifices I make to watch something unrated. That being said, I really like this movie. It’s a lot of fun.
THE ENDORSEMENT OF THIS PARTICULAR FILM HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY A FORMER REDSKINS COACH THAT WAS EVEN CONFUSED ABOUT HOW TO GIVE A PROPER THUMBS UP, NOT TO MENTION HOW TO COACH A FOOTBALL TEAM IN A WINNING FASHION
Until next time, gang.
Brick Prior has no objections with where this month is headed. It’s gonna be screwed up no matter what.