Bride of Re-Animator (1991)
Release Date: February 22nd, 1991 MPAA Rating: R
Director: Brian Yuzna Actors: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Claude Earl Jones, Fabiana Udenio, Kathleen Kinmont
n Peru, South America, doctors Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) finish their tour as volunteer medics in a bloody civil war, where they’ve found a key element for their experiments: plenty of freshly dead bodies on which to study their re-animating serum. It’s been eight months since the Miskatonic Medical School massacre, where zombies wreaked havoc; and although they’re 10,000 miles away, the mayhem can’t stay away from the states forever. One scene later, the unorthodox duo is back in Arkham, Massachusetts at the medical school, operating on new patients.
Overweight and shrill-voiced Lieutenant Lee Chapham (Claude Earl Jones) is still investigating the murders in Miskatonic, having recently come across the decapitated head of Dr. Hill in a carnival sideshow just outside the city. When he questions pathologist Wilbur Graves (Mel Stewart), who stored the many severed limbs from that grisly night, the doctor reveals that there is apparent cellular activity still coursing through the pieces. Meanwhile, Herbert has been lifting human body parts for use in new experiments he’s been conducting in his basement – to re-animate mixtures of appendages into odd monstrosities. But his ultimate goal is to place Dan’s ex-girlfriend’s heart into a new body and bring her back to life, forcing the two mad scientists to continue their twisted collaboration.
To ferry back Dan’s lover Meg, it would seem that the heart is much less important than the brain. But this sequel errs in a comparable manner to Herbert’s logic, lacking the creative spark, pacing, and quirkiness of its predecessor. It does feature the same giddy music, neon green reagent, and mediocre acting, along with a similarly low budget look – with sensational attention to amusingly nasty gore (“Tissue rejection!”). Dissection, cadavers, spurting wounds (hilariously, most often directly into faces), flailing machetes, slashing scalpels, and buckets of organs are just a few of the delightfully disgusting surprises in store. The makeup effects, prosthetics, and gallons of bright crimson blood are once again spectacularly potent, and the primary reason to see this follow-up feature.
Although it picks up shortly after the original, it doesn’t do a particularly effective job of bridging the gap or reminding audiences what happened previously, until nearly twenty minutes in. Fortunately, all of the lead actors return, and the plot doesn’t deviate exceedingly from the key objectives seen in “Re-Animator.” There’s a new love interest in reporter Francesca Danelli (Fabiana Udenio), as well as with dying patient Gloria (Kathleen Kinmont), while the head of the ruthless Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale), who lost his body in the first film, commands new minions in his effort to reap revenge on the re-animator specialists. They’re easily distracted and duped as the story takes on an obviously more “Frankenstein”-like approach. Here, the bride is not for another monster, but for the re-animator himself. The conclusion is slightly rushed and open-ended, which sets up another opportunity to continue the theatrical journey of West – although this project certainly couldn’t muster the cleverness necessary to warrant further adventures.
– Mike Massie