Even after 27 years, Stuart Gordon’s zombie-filled gore fest from 1985 still wows newcomers to the cinematically-realized world of H.P. Lovecraft’s Miskatonic University, where graduate student Herbert West (played with maniacal zeal by Jeffrey Combs) conducts mad experiments on the dead. Honestly, were someone to claim in my presence that Re-Animator stands as the single most creative zombie flick ever made, I doubt that I could provide a viable alternative of my own. Because I’ve seen Re-Animator some dozen or more times over the years and the sheer wealth of zombie-related concepts crammed into this blood-soaked 86 minutes still amazes me! And I’m not alone in my adoration of Re-Animator. In fact, there are plenty of weirdos like me out there who have been chomping at the bit to get their sadistic little hands on a full-HD home video release of Re-Animator since Blu-ray technology came along. Fulfilling our sick desires at long last is none other than Image Entertainment, whose Blu-ray release of the film hit shelves earlier this month.
The image transfer on this HD release of Re-Animator surely constitutes an improvement over the previous DVD releases of the film. However, it’s probably not as much of an improvement as you’d think. The Blu-ray features a much clearer image with far more rich, vibrant colors than on any standard definition release of the film to date. Indeed there’s a lot of detail in this transfer, ensuring that even the most devoted Re-Animator fans will find something new about the film as a result of the added clarity. Unfortunately, the improved image is marred by rampant speckling and other damage, which may not be surprising given the age and relative obscurity of the material, but I have to admit that it saddened me to see such imperfections in an otherwise fantastic transfer. So even though this release surely marks an improvement in picture quality over the previous releases I’ve encountered, there’s been no great overhaul of the negative. And I find that sad. As one of my favorite films, horror or otherwise, I would have really loved to see Re-Animator get a full restoration. Additionally, I found nothing particularly noteworthy about the disc’s presentation of the soundtrack, even if it is presented here in a DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 transfer.
As for special features, there is sadly nothing new here. Everything included on the disc feature-wise appeared on at least one of the previous releases, dating all the way back to the laserdisc. These features here include:
-the documentary “Re-Animator Resurrectus,”
-audio commentary with director Stuart Gordon,
-audio commentary by producer Brian Yuzna and actors Bruce Abbott, Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton and Robert Sampson,
-an interview with Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna,
-an interview with writer Dennis Paoli,
-interviews with composer Richard Band,
-an interview with Fangoria Magazine editor Tony Timpone,
-deleted and extended scenes,
-the theatrical trailer,
-and TV spots.
Despite any problems with this release I may have hinted at above, I still have to proclaim this Blu-ray release of Re-Animator a mandatory upgrade from the previous DVDs, even if saying so in the face of such issues may sound a bit fickle of me. My love of the film runs that deep.