Re-Animator: Anchor Bay Collection (DVD)

Re-Animator: The Anchor Bay Collection DVD (click for larger image)Starring Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale, Robert Sampson

Directed by Stuart Gordon

Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment

Re-Animator. What is it about this film that just keeps on going, much like its undead stars? To date there’s been a myriad of versions of this gut-wrenching gore-fest. Let’s tally them up for a moment, shall we? For starters there were the original VHS releases — rated and unrated. Then there was the Laser Disc version. God, remember them? You could friggin’ kill somebody with one of those things! Fast forward to 1997, and Elite Home Entertainment finally released the film on DVD. Elite then went on to re-release the film in a 2002 Millennium Edition. Now this baby was packing! It had everything a fan wanted and more. So is there a need to go to the well yet again? If you’re Anchor Bay Entertainment and you’re launching your new Anchor Bay Collection line, then the answer is a resounding “yes”! But before we get to what’s included, let’s take a quick look back at the film itself.

In 1984 Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna had a vision. A grisly vision. Having no money and no one willing to back their project, they started raising funds for their endeavor themselves. After many promises and deals production finally began on their little film. Re-Animator was unleashed around a year later, and it kicked the living shit out of audiences everywhere. To this day it remains one of the most beloved films of our genre and for good reason … it has it all. Blood, sexuality, more blood, zombies, great acting, more blood, spot on writing and directing, and oh yeah — more blood. Horror fans fell immediately in love, and the little film that nobody wanted has continued to rake in the dough.

I’m not going to bother to give you a plot synopsis. If you don’t know what this movie is about, then you shouldn’t be reading this website. Although, on the off chance that there is a budding horror fan out there that has not seen it yet, I order you to see this movie immediately. Click the little link below. Buy this NOW! It’ll change your life, man.

Re-Animator: The Anchor Bay Collection DVD (click for larger image)Maybe the reason for all the different editions of Re-Animator is because the film has changed so many lives. Honestly, I don’t think this is just your standard studio cashing in type bullshit. Companies like Anchor Bay make these discs not only to turn a profit, but to give fans the absolute best package they could hope for. So, do they succeed? Almost entirely.

The first thing you’ll notice about the DVD is its abnormally large box. So what’s the deal with that? Inside the box you’ll find not only the new two-disc set but also a neon green highlighter shaped like a syringe! Dude. It may be a little thing, but it’s pretty fucking cool. Still that’s not what the $24.99 price tag on this puppy is about. It’s about the DVD’s inside.

Let it be noted that this collection contains almost every single extra found on the Elite Millennium Edition (only the isolated score audio track is missing, along with some photos from the original galleries). This is where Anchor Bay’s newest Re-Animator release hits and misses. Truth be told, the features, while mostly the same, were just laid out better on the last release. On the Elite disc there were scene comparisons that accompanied the storyboards. Here we just get the boards themselves. Even more annoying the deleted/extended scenes play as one continuous feature void of any chapter stops. In the Millennium Edition you could skip to whatever you wanted to watch instantly. Mind you, these are minor quibbles, but if you’re trying to decide if you want to buy this newest release, they need to be addressed.

Re-Animator: The Anchor Bay Collection DVD (click for larger image)Now let’s talk about what you’re waiting for — the new shit! Kicking off the supplemental disc of this release is a feature film in and of itself titled Re-Animator Resurrectus. Clocking in at about seventy minutes, Re-Animator Resurrectus is probably the most in-depth look at the film ever. Everything is covered, from Re-Animator‘s birth as a half hour long TV show for PBS(!) to its afterlife, if you will. Once the ball gets rolling, this feature plays as if it were a near scene-by-scene discussion of the film. The best part here is that it’s not just your usual suspects being interviewed. Included are looks back from a great deal of the crew, and while you may not learn anything you didn’t know from them, it’s still great listening to folks with fresh perspectives. If only David Gale were still with us. I’m sure he’d have the best tales to tell. Considering he had the best view of the lovely Barbara Crampton, I’m sure he died happy.

Also new are a few picture galleries comprised of rather candid on-set shots courtesy of Yuzna and his pal Jack F. Murphy. These are a blast to check out and are pretty damned funny for still pics. Last but not least, for you DVD-ROM users we have the screenplay and finally the inclusion of H. P. Lovecraft’s masterpiece, Herbert West, Re-Animator. Pretty snazzy.

Anchor Bay shoots and scores yet again. If you don’t already own the film, this is without question the best package out there even with its slight shortcomings. Uber-fans and completists (You know who I’m talking about. Yeah, you with the thirty-seven editions of Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn on your shelf) will no doubt be chomping at the bit to add this to their prized collection, but the average Joe just may want to take a pass. That is if he can live without that snazzy highlighter!

Special Features
Disc One:
Commentary by Director Stuart Gordon
Commentary by Producer Brian Yuzna and Actors Bruce Abbott, Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, and Robert Sampson

Disc Two:
All-new 70-minute documentary: Re-Animator Resurrectus
Interview with Director Stuart Gordon and Producer Brian Yuzna
Interview with Writer Dennis Paoli
Interview with Composer Richard Band
Music discussion with Composer Richard Band
Interview with Fangoria Magazine Editor Tony Timpone
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots
Galleries of Production Stills, Behind-the-Scene Stills, Poster and Advertising
Storyboard Gallery
Stuart Gordon Bio

Herbert West, Re-Animator” by H. P. Lovecraft


5 out of 5

Special Features

5 out of 5

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

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