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Beyond Re-Animator: Collector’s Series (Blu-ray Review)

Vestron Video returns after a little while of with an exciting release of a film many have been asking for; Beyond Re-Animator. Now, I don’t think this particular entry is anyone’s favorite in the series, but us Blu-ray and horror collectors are also completionists and our collections need a buddy to place after Bride of Re-Animator on our shelves. And, every one of Jeffrey Combs wonderful turns as Herbert West should make the format jump, regardless. This is the first time the film will be available as a single release on Blu-ray, too. It contains all new interviews with Jeffrey Combs and director Brian Yuzna to go with a new restoration of the film for your visual pleasure. You can pre-order a copy to have it when it comes out at the end of the month on July 24th.

Film 

When he was young, Howard Phillips watched his sister get torn apart by one of Dr. Herbert West’s reanimated corpses. Phillips, now a doctor, is so eager to learn more about the mad doctor’s attempts to bring back the dead that he accepts a position at the prison where West is being held. Phillips delves further into West’s gruesome research, which attracts the attention of a local reporter and the cruel prison warden.

Brian Yuzna and Jeffrey Combs return to take the reigns of another Re-Animator 13 years or so after Bride of Re-Animator. Beyond Re-Animator would be the last one of the series as we know it, though word or thoughts on a fourth film would creep up in the years following this release. A rarest of rarities in the horror (And film in general) of just having a trilogy and no more.

With the third film, its apparent right away that budget is really low on it. Our setting is a prison that is rarely left and when they do go somewhere its nothing spectacular. The monotony of the penitentiary setting definitely hampers watching the film and almost adds a sense of boredom even though you’re watching Re-Animator unsanity unfold. There’s not a whole lot new here, but something could have been done to make this more interesting and instead becomes a more of the same experience. It also feels like a made for SyFy Channel kind of movie too.

Jeffrey Combs is strong once again. You can’t limit him with a setting. And director Brian Yuzna is able to deliver his goopy gore that he’s known to do, no problem. Not helping those factors are a weaker script, the aforementioned setting and a lot of bad acting from this cast. I was excited to see Elsa Pataky in the film (Did not remember her being in this), but she’s no better than anyone else when it comes to acting chops, but she is given a much more fun role to play than a lot of the people.

Beyond Re-Animator I see as just some extra time spent with Jeffrey Combs in his signature role of Herbert West. He’s solid as always and the movie around him delivers blood and guts, even if the setting and characters are a bit boring. I don’t know if I want to call this bad as much as it sort of is a ho-hum kind of movie. No real harm, no real foul, just constricted by budget and unable to capitalize or make interesting the setting with which the whole thing is forced to take place.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Beyond Re-Animator’s Blu-ray transfer from Vestron is overall pretty solid. Its god a nice bold and crisp look. Details in medium and lose shots reveal some very good texture and details like the wrinkling of prison uniforms and hospital gowns. You can even see some of the fogginess of the plastic oof the syringe. Surfaces like the grates show scuffs and paving markings. This is a pretty solid image that will more than do the trick but I imagine some might think it could do better. In terms of comparison’s to previous Vestron releases, it does look better than the 3rd and 4th Wishmaster movies which are from around this same time.

Depth:  There is a solid depth of field here between foreground and background. Though when focus is up front, background isn’t too impressive or detailed. Movements are natural and smooth.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and rich. You can still mostly make out textures, details and stuff on surfaces, clothes, hair and the like though detail can be lost in darkness.

Color Reproduction: Colors are all rather…blue. There’s a lot of it here in difference tints and tones. The green glow from Dr. Wests chemicals does pop. Some of the more CG elements do look at bit dingier, probably due to their low resolution origins.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish. Facial features are quite impressive throughout. Wrinkles, scars, make-up, moles, lip texture, make-up, facial grease and more come through well at any given distance. It may be the shining star of the transfer.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: Beyond Re-Animator has a very solid 5.1 mix to bring this prison-resurrection tale to life. Its a front-heavy experience, but does manage a balanced mix wit some fun environment building. This does get the trick done, but it could have been given just a bit more weight.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Some action brings a little pounce to the subwoofer and the score has some good basslines that resonate. Overall, the subwoofer is effective, but on the lighter end of impact.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is a front heavy track, but early on does have some fun interplay with the rear channels. Movements and volume are accurate to onscreen events. At times there are some footsteps or someone yelling from outside the scene that adds some fun to the rear channels.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and plenty audible throughout.

Extras 

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Brian Yuzna
  • Isolated Score Selections & Audio Interview with Composer Xavier Capellas

Beyond & Back (HD, 18:50) – An interview with Director Brian Yuzna. He wallows a lot on how he wanted to make many more Re-Animator films and then delves into how this developed with Stuart Gordon from a TV project and wanting to find somewhere enclosed other than a hospital to have the film take place. Also he talks on wanting to pick things up from where Bride finished.

Death Row Side Show (HD, 20:09) – An interview with Actor Jeffrey Combs. He opens discussing a slate of films that Beyond Re-Animator was a part of and it go pushed to the tail end of it. Combs talks about the Spanish company that was producing it and a lot of the enforced rules and laws that went long with it as well as communication breakdowns. He found the bones of the script and the ideas good, but he found a lot of it to be clunky.

Six Shots By Midnight (HD, 16:13) – An interview with ST Joshi, author of I Am Providence: The Life And Times Of HP Lovecraft. This guy gets into the history of Lovecraft and Re-Animator, his beliefs and talks about the relation to the cosmos and such. He has a sort of geeky charm to him and is really enthused talking about it.

Production Art Gallery By Illustrator Richard Raaphorst (HD, 4:38)

Still Gallery (HD, 17:07)

Vintage EPK Featurette (SD, 17:17) – Features a lot of on-set footage with cast and crew interviews including Brian Yuzna, Jeffrey Combs and Elsa Pataky.

Dr. Reanimator “Move Your Dead Bones” Music Video (SD, 4:28)

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:28)

International Trailer (HD, 1:52) 

Summary 

Beyond Re-Animator caps the series off on a rather ho-hum entry. However, I think its worth it if you’re a fan of the first two movies and want to see Jeffrey Combs at it again as Herbert West. Vestron Video brings the film to Blu-ray for a nice terrific audio and video performance. It also features a nice slew of extras (Would have been cool if they had gotten Elsa Pataky for an interview, too) that really round this out to be worthwhile for the Re-Animator fan and collector. This was a good pick on Vestron’s part and good execution to boot.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “Beyond Re-Animator: Collector’s Series (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Alan Toner

    Am looking forward to buying this, but why have they left out the Elsa Pataky, which was on the DVD? Shame on you, Vetron!