Bride of Re-Animator

Year 1990

Jeffrey Combs as  Herbert West
Bruce Abbott as Dan Cain
Claude Earl Jones   as Lieutenant Leslie Chapham 
Fabiana Udenio as Francesca Danelli  
David Gale   as Doctor Carl Hill
Kathleen Kinmont as Gloria/The Bride
Director - Brian Yuzna
Screenwriter - Brian Yuzna

Bride of Re-Animator is at least as strong as the original Re-Animator. For one thing, it isn't the same movie all over again like the Jaws series was. There's progression in the saga of Herbert West and a few new twists to this second in the series that allows it to stand apart from the first movie.

The two protagonists from the first movie, Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott), are back. They have decided that after the debacle in the first movie, they should go to Peru for a while. In Peru, working in a type of MASH unit, they perfect the serum (they think) so circumstances are right for their return to the States. While West thinks of nothing but his serum, Cain is pining away for his girl friend.

This brings up some plot holes from the first movie. For example, these two men who were on the verge of being thrown out of medical school in Re-Animator are suddenly doctors in this sequel. Then there's the fact that the fuzzy ending of the first movie is interpreted in this second one but the reasons behind the interpretation aren't explained. The biggest gap to me was that no attempt was made to explain how Herbert West even survived. (Milk that cash cow!)

But, since this movie is done tongue and cheek, these flaws can be easily overlooked. Add to that the fact that Bruce Abbott's acting has improved since the first movie. That's not to say all of the acting is good. In fact some, like that of the investigating detective, is lame. But that's not enough to ruin the movie.

The best thing about this movie is that it covers a lot of topics. It's not a simple "man creates monster, monster goes berserk, man kills monster" kind of tale. There's a revenge sub-plot, a romance plot (do I take the girl I have or the old flame that I can re-animate), another revenge sub-plot involving the detective, the concept of creationism is addressed a couple of times, and the ever present threat of past failures threatening to expose West's "illegal experiments". All these situations come to a head at the end.

In the Re-Animator movies, you can count on some things:

The new things about this movie involve Herbert West re-animating individual body parts and creating some weird resultant monstrosities. Not only is there an Addams Family Thing-like creature made out of fingers and an eyeball, but Cain's old girlfriend is made up of old parts. Think Frankenhooker and you get the picture.

There are lots of references to the old Boris Karloff Bride of Frankenstein movie and I'll be darned if the re-animated girlfriend didn't remind me of Elsa Lanchester.

One ding is frequent blasphemy. But there is a diatribe by West comparing his patchwork results to creationism, so it doesn't seem too out of place.

Herbert West as the re-animated are breaking into a room. They're using tools!

Dan Cain: What's that sound?
Herbert West: Rats in the walls.
(It's the title of an H.P. Lovecraft story)

Herbert West as a creation deteriorates: Make a note of it, Dan tissue rejection.

The movie starts with a bang and drags a bit while all of the pieces needed for the ending are introduced. There's some nudity (looked like a body double). But the ending is great. It was a touch scary, but mostly it was suspenseful. The frantic tension of West and Cain being trapped in a lab with the revenge seeking Dr. Hill, while the single-piece re-animated creatures are breaking in on one side and the spare parts things are breaking in on the other, was contagious.

I recommend seeing it with the first movie Re-Animator and the last one Beyond Re-Animator. Like West's amalgamations, they play well together.

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