Re-animator 2 Review and Opinion


Bride Of Re-Animator (1990)
Director: Brian Yuzna

review by Ian Shutter

Bride Of Re-Animator (aka: Re-Animator 2) is a wickedly amusing sequel. Brian Yuzna, the producer of Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator, pulls double duty here producing and directing, and follows his successful Society with another gory tale about madness and distorted flesh.
   The surviving protagonists of the original, crazy scientist Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and his not-so-crazy assistant Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott), return to Miskatonic University where the loony West happily resumes his persistent inquiries into immortality. Yes, folks, he's the very scourge of death itself. This time, however, medical experimenter West isn't satisfied with resurrecting corpses from the hospital, he moves into the derelict mortuary next door, and takes advantage of a crypt wall access to steal fresh body parts straight from hospital's freezer storeroom.
   "We will create new life!" Stitching together fingers and an eye makes for a grotesque variation on that old horror flick motif, the severed hand, while dead pets and strangled nosy cops also get doses of the reactivating green serum. And yet, the central plot harks back to James Whale's gothic classic Bride Of Frankenstein (1935), as ambitious West's latest deliriously macabre project is to make a woman using the heart and brain from lover-boy Dan's deceased girlfriends, and various other choice body parts. Kathleen Kinmont (TV series Renegade) plays the monstrous bride Gloria, giving an affecting performance, despite being covered from head to foot in makeup prosthetics. In this, Yuzna's clever homage anticipates Frank Henenlotter's cult hit Frankenhooker (1990).
   Another curious medic, Dr Graves (Mel Stewart) rather unwittingly reanimates the dead head of Dr Hill (David Gale) - a casuality of the first movie, and there's nightmarish fun to be had when the leering Hill's head acquires bat wings, so he can fly around and slur his rival West by calling him a "stupid biped!" Overall, the acting is more like Rocky Horror Show pantomime than genuinely sinister or convincingly insane. But we know now that Combs is a master of this OTT style, and all Abbott has to do really is keep us amused through the non-gory scenes as the film's inarticulate romantic lead, while struggling and failing to fulfil his crucial role as West's moral conscience.
   There's little doubt that this sequel is inferior to Gordon's original, but Yuzna does his best to keep the lurid shocks coming from unexpected angles, and the high standard of effects creativity from the KNB F/X and Screaming Mad George ensures that nearly all the freak sideshow monstrosities on display here are queasily convincing.

Note: first released in UK as Re-Animator 2, this has since re-appeared on DVD as Bride Of Re-Animator - the film's original, and seemingly preferred, title.

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