Lovecraft’s Re-Animator – Millennium Edition
Sound: B+ Extras: B Film: B-
The Millennium Edition series from Elite Entertainment
turned out to be quite short-lived (it brought about only three titles). All three were important, if sporadic;
entries from horror’s semi-recent past that have amassed sizable cult
followings. However, while Re-Animator
certainly deserves the right to be included in this prestige series, it is
probably the most obscure and is debatably less influential than the other
films brought to us under this banner.
Even if its inclusion does seem a tad out of place, I‘m not going to be
the one to complain. The only thing
this all amounts to in the end anyway is some nifty-looking packaging that
houses an excellent print of the movie, along with a slew of extra features...
all of which is cool with me.
The movie still today seems to be somewhat lacking the
audience it deserves, and remains largely undiscovered by younger horror fans
who are only now catching on to what the Evil Dead series has to offer, and
sadly not digging much deeper than that.
Luckily, a new (though lackluster) comic book series that bridges the
two franchises seems to be doing well enough to stir some interest. Perhaps a few of the uninitiated from the
Raimi camp will wander over into this yet-unfamiliar territory. For years after the success of Re-Animator,
director Stuart Gordon formed the majority of his movie career around its
general blueprint. Even now he
continues to adapt Lovecraft’s short stories into B-movie video fare, much like
Roger Corman had done years ago with much of Poe’s body of work. None of the few Gordon/Lovecraft films that
I’ve gotten around to seeing have really stood up to this one though each has
had some redeeming moments that have made it a worthwhile watch.
The picture on this edition is very good, and I commend
Elite for taking the time to give this film proper attention and elevate the
quality of the disc above any version previously available. Despite the transfer being a few years old,
the image still looks great and is anamorphically enhanced for 16X9
televisions, with the aspect ratio of 1.85:1.
As far as audio choices go, there are plenty of options to
suit enthusiasts with different preferences or to fit with their current sound
system. For those with an optimal setup
5.1 DTS surround sound is offered, but you’ll also find the obligatory mix for
Dolby - as well as the original 2.0 mono mix.
Those are all fairly standard inclusions for DVD audio, but on top of
that you’ll find the isolated musical score in 5.1 Dolby surround. How’s that
for added value?
In the bonus features department, you’ll find all sorts of
things to pore over, and a lot of it is worth going back later on and
rediscovering when you get the chance.
There’s a pile of recent video interviews created just for this edition,
and you’ll run across the theatrical trailer as well as some TV spots. But as far as I see, the coolest stuff lies
in the deleted and extended scenes.
Better still, you’ll find storyboards to go along with a few choice
scenes from the film. These are most
enjoyable for me since it offers a lot of insight to the creation process, and
it’s great to see something that was given life on film side-by-side with the
hand-drawn concept it started from. The
rest of the extras are minor ones, but they include a photo gallery and
biographies/filmographies of choice people involved in the production.
I recommend this edition very highly, as well as the other
two films that comprise The Millennium Series (both reviewed elsewhere on this
site). If you’re looking for a good
movie fix, you could certainly do worse.
At least try this one out, and then perhaps move on to some of the other
Stuart Gordon/H.P. Lovecraft combos.
They’re not quite up to par as much as they could and should be, but you
might appreciate them that little bit more if you’ve sat this one out
beforehand and came away impressed.
Here’s hoping that someday Gordon is again able to hit the nail on the head
and create another film that can someday also be looked on as both a genre
classic and post-modernist favorite.
- David Milchick