BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR BLU RAY REVIEW (VESTRON VIDEO COLLECTOR’S SERIES)

Beyond Re-Animator is a 2003 horror film produced & directed by Brian Yuzna (Bride of Re-Animator, Return of the Living Dead III, The Dentist 1/2, & Society). It’s the 3rd installment in the Re-Animator franchise. It follows the original & Bride of Re-Animator. It was a Spanish co-production. It premiered on the Sci-Fi Channel. For the past 13 years, Dr. Herbert West (played by: Jeffrey Combs from the Re-Animator franchise, House on Haunted Hill/Return to House on Haunted Hill, Feardotcom, & I Still Know What You Did Last Summer) has been serving a prison sentence due to a murder at the hands of one of his zombies. Due to limited resources & being watched all the time. He’s only been capable of performing only extremely basic experiments on rats. He can made a break through & discovered Nano-Plasmic Energy, an energy that can be extracted from the brain of a living organism through an electrocution-like process. The young & ambitious doctor Howard Phillips (played by: Jason Barry from Titanic, Monument Ave., Chaos, & Sons of Anarchy) comes to work at the prison, He had a tragic experience when he was a kid & it’s linked to the crazed Herbert West. He make sure to get him as his assistant. Journalist Laura Olney (played by: Elsa Pataky from Fast & Furious franchise, 12 Strong, Giallo, & Snakes on a Plane) is interviewing Warden Brando (played by: Simón Andreu from The Infiltrator, Die Another Day, Hidden Assassin, & Flesh + Blood) about her story on his prison. Herbert West & Howard Phillips do their first experiment together on the deceased Moses (played by: Nico Baixas from Perfume: The Story of a Murderer & Rec 2). They manage to bring him back to life & it ends up being a huge mistake! Howard Phillips ends up getting close to the beautiful Laura Olney. After an unexpected death, the doctors try to play god again & all hell breaks loose in the prison! A riot takes places & the inmates start to control the facility. The staff which includes Sergeant Moncho (played by: Lolo Herrero from The Cold Light of Day & Rottweiler) & Nurse Vanessa (played by: Raquel Gribler from Mr. Nice) tries to stay safe from the escaped convicts. The death row prisoners Cabrera (played by: Enrique Arce from Money Heist & Che: Part Two) & Speedball (played by: Santiago Segura from Hellboy 1/2, Blade 2, Pacific Rim, Killer Barbys, & Dance with the Devil) have nothing to lose & they are looking for blood. Can the infamous Dr. Herbert West make it past this living hell so he can continue his medical work????

 

I wish they would have called this “Re-animator In Prison” aKa R.I.P get it? LOL Beyond Re-Animator brings back the darker approach of the original film compared to the more silly & comedic Bride of Re-Animator sequel from before. This time they got rid of the usual hospital & medical environment for this 3rd entry in the Re-Animator franchise. Putting Dr. West in prison seems appropriate after all the chaos he has caused. It also kinda adds a new sub genre to the series which was breath of fresh air. Since it was a Spanish production, the overall production value & vibe is nothing like the previous two efforts. It has it’s own unique style to it. The new cast of characters are wacky & very odd so they fit right along with the H.P. Lovecraft universe. The budget on Beyond was much lower than the others & it shows at times but they made sure utilize the special effects on this follow up. The gore, the zombies, & deaths are executed with quality. It’s not as crazy as the original & Bride but it has some real memorable moments to keep you sickos entertained with a sadistic grin on your face while viewing it. Jeffrey Combs shines once again as horror icon Dr. Herbert West & it’s honestly one of my all time favorite characters in the entire genre. HIGHLY recommended to any Re-Animator, H.P. Lovecraft, Jeffrey Combs, & gory medical experiments gone wrong fans!!!!

Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Lionsgate! This 1080p (1.78:1) transfer completely blows away the previous DVD version! As far as U.S. releases go, this is definitely the definitive release for this sequel. It’s one of the best looking from the current Vestron Video Collector’s series line up. The English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track roars in my home system & it really adds the atmosphere of this production. It amps up & elevates moments from Beyond Re-Animator. It’s a huge a step up from the older release that I’ve owned for years. I am very impressed on big of an upgrade this film got from Lionsgate & it fits the Vestron Video brand perfect. It also includes English SDH & Spanish subtitles.


Let’s discuss all the awesome special features provided by Lionsgate for this Vestron Video release! “Audio Commentary” with producer & director Brian Yuzna. He talks about how he set it up like a more modern day horror film at the beginning. He mentions the whole cast was from Spain except for the two leads Jeffrey Combs & Jason Barry. He brings up the special effects for the production. He says they were going for a different approach for this sequel. He said in the 90s no one was really trying to do another Re-Animator film but when it became the 2000s the franchise was in high demand. He talks about why it was called Beyond Re-Animator & why H.P. Lovecraft was left off the title. He goes into detail about differences between Spain & American prisons. He says Dr. Howard Phillips is basically a newer & younger version of Dan Cain. He talks about other actors from the feature & why they were cast in their roles. He brings up the difficulties of finding actors in Spain that could speak English for this film. He chats about the environment & locations of the prison. He say it adds another sub genre to the picture. He brings up that Jeffrey Combs set the tone when he showed up to reprise his classic character. He regrets that they didn’t push the violence & have more gore in this. They were trying to appeal to everyone when making this so they didn’t go too far with it. He mentions a few roles that changed from the original script. He chats about the various crew members & locations of Spain for this. He also talks about their previous work in their own country. He points out Screaming Mad George’s special effects shots in this sequel & he talks about his work history with him. He says his voice was used during some dubbing for this. He brings up the comedy in Beyond Re-Animator. He mentions the advantages of using digital. “Isolated Score Selections & Audio Interview” with Composer Xavier Capellas moderated by Red Shirt Pictures Michael Felsher. Xavier Capellas talks about he got started in the music industry.

He chats about his early inspirations. He mentions Beyond Re-Animator was better experience than his previous collaboration with Brian Yuzna on Faust. He brings up how it was working on this project. He talks about the balance of horror & comedy in this. He says he didn’t really have much contact with Richard Band about his work on the other films. He discusses his biggest challenges on the project. He says the sequel surprised him at first but he got used to it pretty quick. He chats about where he recorded it at & the time restraints he was dealing with. It’s cool to get the opportunity to hear the music & score without any dialogue for this track. “Beyond & Back” is an almost 19 minute interview with producer & director Brian Yuzna. He says he wanted to do more sequels than they actually made for the series. He mentions he didn’t want to pump them out & do pointless ones like some of the other popular horror franchises out there. He talks about Bride had an unresolved ending & it really needed a follow up. He chats about all the years that went by since the last sequel. He brings up that he didn’t want to do another hospital setting & a change of atmosphere was needed. He says he always kept in contact with Jeffrey Combs & they talked about possible sequels before this was made. He talks about the changes West made to his research since Bride. He brings up how different it was working with an all Spanish crew compared to before. He mentions how the Spanish actors had to get English lessons & some had to be dubbed in the final cut. He brings up the scrapped House of Re-Animator sequel that was announced a long time ago but unfortunately had financial issues. It sounded amazing & it needs to happen somehow still. “Death Row Sideshow” is a 20 minute interview with lead actor Jeffrey Combs. He mentions the long waits between all the sequels. He talks about the appeal of his classic character Dr. Herbert West. He brings up Brian Yuzna’s deal with Spanish company Filmax. He says it was fun playing the role in prison.

He chats about some of the actors being dubbed. He chats about the screenplay having lots of issues & it was changed all the time. He appreciates that Beyond brought back the same tone as the original production. He goes into working experience with Jason Barry & how they became friends. He also talks about various other cast members from the feature. He says it was difficult to get made. He was disappointed it didn’t really get a theater run & ended up as a Sci Fi channel premier instead. He brings up how hard it is to get independent horror pushed to a bigger audience these days. He brings up that Beyond Re-Animator didn’t get the exposure it deserved. He talks about ideas for another possible sequel for the franchise. “Six Shots by Midnight” is a little over 16 minute interview with author S.T. Joshi. He gives a brief history about H.P. Lovecraft. He says he didn’t originally want to write the Re-Animator story but he did for commission at the time. It was the first time he was paid to write something. He didn’t like how he had to squeeze & extend stuff to sell various short stories in a printed format. He talks about how Jeffrey Combs was a great choice for Herbert West. He points out the differences & changes made from written to filmed material. He talks about how funny Bride of Re-Animator was & how it turned out different than expected. He points out additions to Beyond that had nothing to do with the author. He chats about how some of Lovecraft’s work got banned when it first got published. A little over 4 minutes of “Production Art Gallery” from Illustrator Richard Raaphorst. A 17 minute “Still Gallery”. A 17 minute “Vintage EPK Featurette” that has interviews with producer/director Brian Yuzna, actors Elsa Pataky, Jason Barry, Jeffrey Combs, Lolo Herrero, Simón Andreu, Raquel Gribler, Enrique Arce, & Santiago Segura. It has all kinds of behind the scenes footage. It has some real nice special effects shots. Brian Yuzna covers various subjects in this. Just a warning, most of the actors speak in Spanish & there’s no subtitles provided on this extra. 4 minute “Dr Re-Animator – Move your Dead Bones” a music video. Last but not least, “Theatrical Trailer” for the feature. HOLY SHIT, this disc is beyond loaded & it’s a must buy for any fan of the franchise! It also includes their awesome limited edition slipcover. Lionsgate gave this sequel proper Vestron Video treatment, it’s available everywhere next Tuesday!!!!