BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR: DVD
Thirteen years after the events that led to his imprisonment, incarcerated doctor Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) is still managing to conduct his experiments into re-animating the dead, and has found a way to harvest the soul of a subject at the point of their death. With the help of sympathetic prison doctor Howard (Jason Barry), West delves further into his experiments, testing on those inmates unfortunate enough to succumb to ill health. When saucy journalist Laura (Elsa Pataky) uncovers the story after investigating the prison and its sadistic warden (Simon Andreu), the two doctors are forced down a path that has horrific results.
Review by Craig Miller:
Zombie flicks have been a staple in the horror genre pretty much since George A. Romero redefined them in his low budget masterpiece Night of The Living Dead more than thirty years ago. While that was severed head-and-shoulders above Beyond Re-Animator, Romero’s influential work paved the way for every schlock horror zombie flick following it, and the Re-Animator series is no exception.
This third installment continues with the plight of maniacal doctor Herbert West to bring the dead back to life, and from the outset we are bombarded with an array of gruesome scenarios and horrible creatures hell bent on making the viewer wriggle and squirm. And that’s just the actors! Yes, in true b-grade style Beyond Re-Animator is, like most other straight to video horror (DVD in this case), up to its slit throat in all the clichés that you’ve come to expect from this genre, and in no small part thanks to the efforts of director Brian Yuzna.
Yuzna has been involved with this franchise, from the original Re-Animator project back in 1985 to 1990’s Bride of the Re-Animator, either in a producer, writer or director capacity, and his knowledge of how this film series flows, including what his audiences want, helps this third outing reach its bloody potential as one of the better gore-fests recently released.
Shot in Spain to stretch those Hollywood dollars even further, Beyond Re-Animator captures everything you need in a movie of this type: a painfully simple script, second and third rate actors, a mad scientist, witty one-liners, inappropriate nudity, blood, several hundred various body parts strewn about the place and a rat dueling with an animated severed penis (yes, that is correct, and has to be seen to be believed!)
What does surprise is that for the first two thirds of this splatter-fest there is a real reservation to cut loose. Yuzna gives us a good death every 20 minutes or so but it isn’t until the final act, where the prison is overrun by the re-animated warden, that the film really starts to let fly.
Cult films like these are often seen as second-rate cinema, and for most they certainly are, but thanks to younger audiences which are always in the mood for a good scare and willing to look at things that can turn the strongest stomach, there will always be a market for these, and thank god, because growing up just wouldn’t be the same without them.
As for the special features, various regions have been lucky enough to have a director’s commentary included in their package, a luxury not afforded our region I’m afraid. There is however a better than average making of documentary which investigates the film’s shoot, focusing on interviews and the film’s visual effects and a series of interviews with cast members and the director which can be skipped as they are repeated throughout the 17 minute making of featurette.
Published March 11, 2004
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BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR: DVD (R)
CAST: Jeffrey Combs, Jason Barry, Elsa Pataky, Simon Andreu, Enrique Arce, Santiago Segura, Joaquin Ortega, Raquel Gribler
DIRECTOR: Brian Yuzna
SCRIPT: Jose Manuel Gomez (Screenplay), H.P. Lovecraft (Story)
RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes
PRESENTATION: 16:9 widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1
SPECIAL FEATURES: Making Of featurette, Interviews, Trailer
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Magna Pacific
DVD RELEASE: March 10, 2004 (rental only)