Re-Animator: Millennium Edition (1985) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
THX Trailer
THX Optimizer
Audio Commentary-Stuart Gordon (Director)
Audio Commentary-Brian Yuzna (Producer) And Actors
Additional Footage-16 Extended Scenes
Deleted Scenes
Interviews-Crew-Stuart Gordon (Director) And Brian Yuzna (Producer)
Interviews-Crew-Dennis Paoli (Writer)
Interviews-Crew-Richard Band (Composer)
Featurette-Interview With Tony Timpone ( Fangoria Editor)
Storyboards-Multi-Angle
Featurette-Music Discussion With Composer Richard Band
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Gallery-Photo
TV Spots-5
Credits
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1985
Running Time 85:38
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (49:04)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Stuart Gordon
Studio
Distributor
Simitar DVD Starring Jeffrey Combs
Bruce Abbott
Barbara Crampton
David Gale
Robert Sampson
Gerry Black
Carolyn Purdy-Gordon
Peter Kent
Barbara Pieters
Ian Patrick Williams
Bunny Summers
Al Berry
Derek Pendleton
Case ?
RPI ? Music Richard Band


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (1536Kb/s)
Isolated Music Score Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) is a man dedicated to his chosen profession as a scientist, with a healthy distaste for plagiarists and a plan to revive the dead via a reagent he injects directly to the deceased brain. After a disastrous stint in Germany assisting a professor with his experiments, West returns to an American college campus to continue his work on animal subjects. Through the application of the reagent, the now maniacal West has managed to re-animate deceased animal tissue - returning it from the dead, so to speak. He takes up board with a student living on campus, Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) and sets up his lab in the basement - working all hours of the night and successfully creeping out his housemate.

    Dan is an everyman, studying hard and close to graduating with a scholarship in his hand - the last thing he needs is a reputation for associating with a mad, albeit reputable scientist. He's also in a loving relationship with the Dean's young daughter Megan (Barbara Crampton), and all-too-conscious of the pressures associated with such a commitment. When he is woken late one evening he ventures into the basement, only to witness one of West's experiments in action. Initially very reluctant to participate, West blackmails Dan into assisting him further with his work, only to realise the true monetary potential of West's discoveries. Mayhem ensues as the pair broaden the scope of their experiments to include human subjects, and Dan is forced to choose between his love or his work.

    This film began as a serial of six short stories written by H.P. Lovecraft, titled Herbert West: Re-Animator and published monthly in a pulp magazine. The screenwriters gave the story a contemporary setting and a female lead character, initially intending to create a television series out of the story. Producer Brian Yuzna came on board and proposed to condense the script into a film, which meant that many plot lines had to be incorporated into the feature runtime. There is a lot going on in this film but the often frantic pace is entertaining, as much as the gore and outstandingly wacky humour.

    Director Stuart Gordon is aided by an excellent cast, featuring Barbara Crampton - recognisable as a star of daytime soaps Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless during the 90s, and more recently The Bold and the Beautiful. Jeffrey Combs is superbly insane as the scientist Herbert West, while Bruce Abbott contributes a performance any ordinary man could easily relate to. The film was initially submitted for classification and was refused outright, so the filmmakers made the decision to release the film unrated, which back then was a rare occurrence. It turns out that this decision only fuelled more discussion about the film, helping it to easily recoup its production costs. The film went on to receive a jury award at Cannes, and deservedly so.

    As far as low budget horror films go, in my opinion Re-Animator is up there with the greats. For it to receive such an outstanding Special Edition treatment is proof of the fan base this film has generated over the years, and the love the filmmakers still have of their product. The film spawned two sequels - Bride of Re-Animator (1990) and Beyond Re-Animator (2002). I haven't seen either, but I do know that they both include actors Bruce Abbott and Jeffrey Combs in their original roles.

    The concept of re-animation is nothing new to the medical profession; like the effect of a shot of adrenaline to the heart, the same theory can easily be applied to reviving the brain, and is certainly not inconceivable. Is this film simply a case of fiction being stranger than truth? It may have lost a little of its edge over time, but you have to see it, and decide for yourself.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    I have no doubt that this is the best treatment a transfer of this film has received outside of its theatrical exhibition.

    This NTSC transfer is presented in an aspect of 1.78:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement. This transfer is slightly window boxed and pretty close to its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    I had high expectations for this, being a THX approved transfer, but found that the source material let the side down a little. Given the age and low budget of this production, I'm prepared to cut it a bit of slack in this department. The transfer is a bit soft in places, mainly due to shifts in focus, and issues in the source print. There are many good examples of sharpness, with clear textures visible in close-ups and the like. A little film grain is evident on occasion, but doesn't become a problem at all. Shadow detail is good, and blacks have adequate depth. There was no low level noise evident in the transfer.

    Most colours are well saturated, with no bleeding whatsoever. Skin tones appear realistic and consistent.

    Some minor artefacting can be seen, concentrated around the reel transitions. These don't extend beyond the normal specks of dust and dirt you would associate with a film of this age. Telecine wobble is present at several points during the film, most notably during the opening scene. There are no MPEG artefacts to be found.

    There are no subtitle streams included on this disc.

    This disc is dual layered, with the layer transition placed during the feature at 49:04. The layer transition is seamless and barely noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are an impressive six soundtracks to choose from on this disc.

    The English dialogue is always prominent in the mix and easy to understand. The ADR is relatively faultless, and doesn't present any major problems. Audio sync is spot-on.

    The use of the surround channels is lightly enveloping, with preference given to the film's score, giving it a broad and spacious feel. Voices are commonly confined to the front centre channel and rarely stray.

    Obviously, the dts option with its broader bitrate serves the soundtrack well, however the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack certainly does an excellent job. The inclusion of the film's original mono soundtrack is an excellent choice on the part of the disc's authors.

    The score by Richard Band is orchestral and jazzy at times, with many delightfully insane touches. The score is discussed extensively in the extras, and makes for very interesting viewing.

    My subwoofer let out a little rumble now and then, but wasn't used to any great degree.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This is an excellent collection of extras and a superb edition, bursting with info for fans of the film. The cover slick is beautifully embossed and a colour one page insert is included, outlining the scenes of the film.

    All of the extras include Dolby Digital 2.0 audio and are presented in an aspect of 1.78:1 with 16x9 enhancement, unless otherwise noted.

Menus

    The menu pages are animated with graphics from the film's title sequence and include audio clips from the score. The page transitions are very smooth and make it fun to navigate.

Disc 1

THX Optimizer

    This is a typical THX feature, the same that can be found on any other approved DVD transfer.

Isolated Score

    It's great to hear this score highlighted on its own and in 5.1 surround. There are more silent passages than I was expecting, but generally this is a worthwhile score to sit through.

Audio Commentary-Stuart Gordon (Director)

    Stuart discusses how Re-Animator came about, his experience in discovering the story, and reveals that the script was originally intended as a one hour television pilot. There's also some interesting insights into the film's production, the research he carried out in morgues, ER rooms, and forensic pathology. He also shares some funny experiences he found in the film's test screenings. This is an above average commentary, and genuinely interesting from a filmmaking perspective.

Audio Commentary-Brian Yuzna (Producer) and actors Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Robert Sampson and Bruce Abbott

    This is a fairly entertaining commentary for its duration, with only a few awkward silences. With so many people together, they often talk over one another but there are many amusing stories to be heard.

Disc 2

Additional Footage-16 Extended Scenes (23:04)

    Acres of footage is included here, much of it character development and not really pivotal to the story. Some pieces are interesting, such as Cain's marriage proposal and the Dean being lobotomised. If you select the play all function, these scenes are played in chronological order.

Deleted Scene (2:39)

    A pretty good dream sequence, set in the morgue and featuring a major confrontation between characters. We also get to see more of the beautiful Barbara Crampton.

Interview-Stuart Gordon (Director) And Brian Yuzna (Producer) (48:44)

    The two gents sit at a table and discuss their prior work, as well as the many projects that led up to their collaboration together. There are many amusing anecdotes offered and the guys obviously have a lot of respect for one another's work. All of the interviews are presented in an aspect of 1.33:1, full frame.

Interview-Dennis Paoli (Writer) (10:39)

    Dennis talks about his initial contact with director Stuart Gordon and the challenges involved with adapting H.P. Lovecraft's story for a contemporary audience, and the big screen.

Interview-Richard Band (Composer) (14:41)

    Richard is a very interesting speaker and touches upon many of the different elements that make up this unique score. He reveals his intentions regarding the score's obvious similarities with a composition by Bernard Herrmann, namely the Psycho theme. Richard also explains the thoughts behind his decision to use a smaller string ensemble rather than a fully blown orchestra in the film's score.

Interview-Tony Timpone (Fangoria Magazine Editor) (4:34)

    Tony offers his thoughts on where Re-Animator fits in the horror genre, and shares an anecdote regarding his experience seeing the film for the first time as a teen.

Storyboards-Multi-Angle (3)

    Three short scenes from the film are included, with an additional angle showing relevant storyboard sketches. This extra is nicely presented with 16x9 enhancement.

Featurette-Music Discussion With Composer Richard Band (4 Scenes)

    Richard introduces each of the four selected scenes from the film, explaining his intentions with the score. The scenes are accompanied by an isolated score track in Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s). Richard's interview scenes are presented in 1.33:1 full frame, but the scenes from the film are 16x9 enhanced. This is a great feature, one that deservedly highlights the superb score of this film.

Cast & Crew Biographies and Filmographies (12)

    Six cast and six crew each receive several pages of info regarding their career in the industry.

Theatrical Trailer (1:56)

    This is an average two-minute trailer, touching on the film's plot and revealing a little gore.

Gallery-Photo

    An extensive gallery, with more than 100 photos taken during production showing special effects and other great behind the scenes angles.

TV Spots (5)

    Five different thirty second advertisements (2:36 in total), all of which explicitly warn viewers. Since they were made for TV, they are presented in 1.33:1 (full frame).

DVD Credits

    Three pages of credits for those who worked on this awesome package.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This title is essentially identical to the Region 1 NTSC package, which is coded for all Regions. Therefore, Regions 1 and 4 are identical. Tartan released this film on DVD in Region 2 UK, censored of course.

Summary

    Re-Animator is a classic horror film, full of many humorous touches. This is without a doubt the definitive release of this film on DVD, and a must for fans.

    The NTSC video transfer is great for a low budget, twenty year old horror film. This is a THX approved transfer, which says enough in itself.

    The audio transfer is similarly impressive.

    The extras are numerous, extensive and entertaining. The package as a whole is thoughtfully compiled and presented with an eye for quality.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Monday, August 16, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Why no proper R4 release -
Short Changed! - Adam Barratt (symbiosis)
Pricing? - Miklos (my stinkin' bio) REPLY POSTED