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Overall Rating

Awesome: 33.33%
Worth A Look48.48%
Average: 3.03%
Pretty Bad: 12.12%
Total Crap: 3.03%

2 reviews, 21 user ratings

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Beyond Re-Animator
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by Scott Weinberg

"Herbert West Goes to Prison-and all the creative zombie-making that implies"
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2003 PHILADELPHIA FILM FESTIVAL: To say that the original Re-Animator was an influential movie in my life is like saying that the original Re-Animator is a mildly gory film. The first sequel (Bride of Re-Animator), while certainly not a BAD horror movie (particularly for a Part 2), didn't enthuse me like the original did. (Loved the gore, but the sheer ingenuity of the first entry was sorely missed.) Now from the brains of Brian Yuzna and Jeffrey Combs comes the long-awaited Beyond Re-Animator - and damn if this flick's not a blood-spattered hoot.

First the bad news: Flick drags a bit in the mid-section. Truth.

OK, now that that's out of the way I can inform my fellow horror hounds that the third entry in the beloved Re-Animator series is absolutely a helluva good time; a flick that doesn't acheive the lofty greatness of the first film but does manage to improve upon Part 2's minor oversights.

And all three together will make for one bloody good triple feature. How many other modern horror trilogies can accurately make that claim? I'll save you the head-scratching: very few can, and I've seen 'em all.

Beyond Re-Animator picks up a lucky thirteen years after Dr. West's infamous zombie orgies, and our beloved anti-hero is firmly incarcerated in a maximum security prison. His mundane existence (you know: kidnapping his fellow inmate's pet rat and committing simply horrible acts upon it...that kind of thing) is interrupted by the arrival of a new prison doctor.

Howard Philips, young doc and brother of a girl murdered (in a roundabout way) by Dr. West thirteen years earlier, knows all about the glowing yellow formula that all Re-Animator freaks know and love - and this doctor is obsessed with advancing West's reagent. The ever-cool and certainly insane Dr. West accepts this news as any self-respecting mad scientist would:

To the lab!

This begins another gore-strewn and adorably icky chapter in the adventures of Dr. West, his inconveniently naive young protege, a love interest who's ill-fated in the most goopy way imaginable, a stunningly evil warden, and a few colorful inmates/eventual corpses for the Doc to monkey around with.

Clearly the Re-Animator formula isn't shaken up too severely. And I mean that in a good way.

Since anyone familiar with the earlier movies has to be wondering why an intelligent (albeit maniacal) physician would opt to use a reagent that clearly has horrific side effects, Yuzna and his fellow screenwriters have devised a clever conceit:

Not only does West still adore his gleaming yellow goo, but now his experiments have yielded a technique that allows him to remove a person's 'nanoplasma' (a.k.a. soul) and inject it into the newly dead/hopefully soon-to-be-alive meat puppet currently lying on the slab.

So we've upped the ante here; the howling resurrected can potentially become 'fully normal' with a jolt of West's new gizmo.

Needless to say, things go a little amiss.

And by 'amiss' I mean dozens of dead and bloody quivering bodies hung from the prison rafters, an undead mutant who springs oddly spider-shaped legs, prison-yard bullies abbreviated into half-man/half dangling intestines, and a life form that can best be described as a dismembered...member. (And boy is that little weiner pissed!)

Sure, a lot of this stuff is little more than a clever and colorful rehash of what was first presented in Stuart Gordon's cult classic - yet it's wonderfully clear that Yuzna and Combs (delivering yet another brilliantly cool performance as the haunted doctor) have a real devotion toward this series. This is not the case of an actor and director hoping to score a few quick bucks on name recognition - but a situation where a few filmmakers, asked to deliver a sure moneymaker, have tried to craft a follow-up that pays homage to its lineage while marking a little new territory of its own.

My guess is that my Gorehound brethren will applaud their efforts. In a genre overloaded with garbage like Children of the Corn 11: Corny Bullshit and Leprechaun 8: Leprechauner!, a sequel that actually REFERS to its forefathers is due some hearty praise.

Following the screening there was a cool Q & A discussion with Yuzna and Combs. When I asked the pair what (original director) Stuart Gordon thought of the sequels they both responded that he enjoyed them both quite a lot. That alone speaks volumes about the quality of Beyond Re-Animator. Bottom line: horror fans should have a great time here; others already know to stay away. Sissies.

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originally posted: 04/05/03 17:11:41
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
For more in the Direct To Video Sequels series, click here.

User Comments

12/28/17 morris campbell the original is alot better 1 stars
9/13/13 Rosie Awesome - This was a fantastic movie and had a good plotline totally love Dr West ♡ 5 stars
2/03/07 Charles Tatum Not all that bad! 4 stars
12/30/05 Reverse_Bear-TRAP 3RD INSTANT CLASSIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
10/02/04 MorallySound In my opinion, the best of the Re-Animator series! One helluva good gore-omedy! Awesome! 5 stars
6/11/04 Mark Louis Baumgart What a blast. Check out the kung-fu fight between the rat and the dismembered penis. 5 stars
3/04/04 Decha Not so scary yet enjoyable 4 stars
1/22/04 Jimmy Jiggetts This film is perfect! Combs/West is THE BEST! Watch the end credits for a real HOWL! 5 stars
1/12/04 Charlie It was great. It fulfilled expectations. Combs and Yuzna are terrific. 5 stars
1/03/04 SethroTull Horrible Acting/Nice Gore/Amusing Rat v Severed Penis Battle 3 stars
12/27/03 ^ZuLu^ Beyond any budget and stupidity - boring but violent. No classic. 2 stars
11/04/03 American Slasher Goddess Combs as usual is good, but everything else is pretty much disappointing. 2 stars
11/01/03 champ brutal and cheap prison slasher, none of the originals retro atmosphere. 2 stars
10/17/03 Florian Rather disappoining, except Combs idiotic actors, parts 1 and 2 much more fun 2 stars
10/12/03 Gary GREAT 5 stars
10/05/03 John not bad, a little silly 4 stars
10/04/03 Joe Mama It Fights! 5 stars
9/02/03 . Very good 5 stars
8/03/03 Sauron I can't say how much I enjoyed this movie. 5 stars
5/16/03 joe biedron fun movie 4 stars
4/28/03 r.guerrero Paez herbert west at its best 5 stars
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  30-Dec-2003 (R)
  DVD: 17-Aug-2004



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