BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR (2003)
Director Brian Yuzna @ 96 minutes
He produced RE-ANIMATOR (1985), and directed the second in the series, BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR (1989). For BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR (2003), he went to Spain, found a fine level of expertise in the crew, and had a nice budget of 6 million bucks to spend on the third film in the series. In the DVD Extras, when looking at the MAKING OF short, a bunch of questions came up; scenes from the film were shown, and the Spanish actors were speaking in Spanish–even their interviews were in Spanish, without sub-titles; scenes with Jeffrey Combs, or Jason Barry & interviews were mostly in English, but scenes of them were in Spanish. Obviously they dubbed their dialogue in for the Spanish version of the film. The Spanish actors were probably dubbed in English, but the translator-actors were not credited. Puts me in mind of those great stories American actors told about making Spaghetti Westerns, where up to five languages were spoken on the set. Oddly, when Yuzna spoke Spanish, it did not seem dubbed. Perhaps he is fluent in Spanish, & that might be one reason he chose to shoot this film in Spain.
The film starred Jeffrey Combs as Dr. Herbert West.
Jason Barry as Dr. Howard Phillips.
Elsa Pataky as Laura Olney.
Barbara Ellorieta as Nurse Emily.
Santiago Segura as Speedball.
Lolo Herrero as Sgt. Moncho
Simon Andreu as Warden Brando.
Nico Baixas as Moses.
Enrique Arce as Prisoner Cabara.
Taglines: Welcome to death row, the Doctor will see you now.
They thought prison would be the death of him–but for Dr. West
death was only the beginning.
Trivia: The movie was filmed completely in Spain, in Barcelona, and at the abandoned
old Modelo Prison in Valencia. Director Yuzna was very impressed with the professionalism of the Spanish crew.
Interestingly, this film premiered on the Sci-Fi Channel, though it was produced independently, and it was acquired for cable only as a distributer–of course the showing was cut to a PG rating; no tits in the premiere whatsoever. The DVD was released with a hard “R” rating. It also received a limited theatrical run here in America.
There was a Rock Video done for the film by Jordi Cubino, entitled MOVE YOUR DEAD BONES. Actually it was fairly cool, well done in the UK, using hard rock score over scenes from the film, interspersed with good video effects, & numbers by dancers dressed like they were right out of ROCKY HORROR SHOW.
Jason Barry’s character is named Dr. Howard Phillips, which is a tribute to H.P. Lovecraft. Potaky’s character is called Olney–Lovecraft wrote Thomas Olney into his story THE STRANGE HIGH HOUSE IN THE MIST. At one point in the story, while Laura is suffering from being undead twice over, Barry says, “It’s alright, Elsa, we’re going to take care of you,” calling her by the actress’ real name; then later calls her Emily, which was his slain sister’s name, & the Nurse’s name. When sister Emily is searching the house for the strange noise, the camera is visible in a large wall mirror for the whole tracking shot. We can see a boom mic when West is talking to Sgt. Moncho in his cell. When actor Arce is being the legless corpse coming down from the ceiling after West, we can get a glimpse of his legs off to the left. As mentioned previously, there will be a fourth film in this series, called HOUSE OF RE-ANIMATOR, with William H. Macy, and I, for one, can’t hardly wait to see this bitch.
AWARDS: This film won the Grand Prize of European Fantasy at the Swedish Fantastic Film Festival in 2003, and it took 3rd place for the Best Direct-to-Video Film at the
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards.
Jason Barry is an Irish actor, & like fellow actor Colin Farrell, he does a fine American accent. He has made 33 films since 1991, including TITANIC (1997), MIRROR MASK (2005), & VALKYRIE (2008).
The musical score was done by Xavier Capellas, though under the opening titles we hear the jazzy Bond-like original score by Richard Band. He has composed 67 film scores since 1989, including FAUST (2000), THE OTHERS (2000), CITY IN HEAT (2006), & HOTEL TIVOLI (2007).
The cinematography was done by Andreu Rebes, who has lensed 39 films since 1994, including NICO & DANI (2001), DUTCHMAN’S ISLAND (2001), IN THE CITY (2003), A GUN IN EACH HAND (2012).
SYNOPSIS: During the prologue we meet two young boys camping out in a backyard next to Christchurch Cemetery, telling each other scary stories; then one of them says,
“Wait a minute, there’s someone out there.” Cut to inside the house, where a cute blonde wearing a skimpy robe, hears a strange noise. Searching the house, the boys scare her, just a Zombie appears, kills the blonde, and tries to drink milk from a carton, but since it is missing its jaw, this becomes comic relief. Cops break in and shoot the monster.
The taller blond kid cries, “Emily, come back to me.” Later we find out that she was his sister. Kid goes outside, where an ambulance is taking his friend to the hospital; & the damn meat wagon uses that European-sounding siren. Cops are all over the place, hunting other zombies. The kid sees Dr. Herbert West sitting in the back of a cop car. This is the eve of the Miskatonic Massacre. As the car drives off, the kid picks up a full syringe of green re-agent; the plot thickens.
Cue the titles, which were excellent, using the original Richard Band score, sounding a lot like Bernard Herrmann. The CGI graphics of human anatomy are excellent.
Cut to 13 years later, where we find Dr. West experimenting in his jail cell on a rat.
We meet two inmates looking for their pet rat. Guard Sgt. Moncho tells him West was the culprit. Cabara, the tough one, confronts West, asking him if he took the rat.
West: “Gee, did you lose your pet? Does it have any special markings to differentiate
it from other rodents.?”
We meet Dr. Phillips, coming in reporting for duty, going to meet the Warden.
Dr. Phillips: In the movies they call this the death house. What do you call it?
Sgt. Moncho: The Death House.
Cut to the gorgeous Elsa Pataky as Laura, a reporter interviewing the vain, cruel, arrogant Warden Brando.
Laura: So I understand that you don’t believe in Rehabilitation, Warden.
Warden: Don’t be naive. Every prisoner in here is sentenced to death. I believe in what works (standing next to Old Sparkie, the electric chair) 2000 volts of raw power; now that works.
Dr. Phillips arrives, carrying his own medical bag; as he meets Laura, he stares into her sexy face, holding her hand a long time. She gets ready to leave and she sprains her ankle. Prisoner Moses, a skinny bald crazy bible thumper, is brought in after he has had a grand mol seizure. Dr. West is brought in, and they all work on Moses, who says,
“Don’t help me, I deserve this. I just had to eat it.” Moses dies on the table. Dr. Phillips is sad to have lost his first patient on his new job. We have met Nurse Emily, who is fond of showing some cleavage.
West: You’re wasting your time–he was already dead before they brought him in here.
Phillips: Dr. Herbert West–I know all about you. I was the kid outside the car the night they arrested you. (he shows West the old syringe full of re-agent). Now I want to work with you.
West takes the syringe and sticks in the corpse’s spinal cord. Moses come back to life, but then goes berserk; the Warden, Laura, the Nurse, & Sgt. Moncho have all returned. Moses attacks the Warden, before he is beat down & subdued.
Warden: Somebody tell me what the fuck is going on here?
Moses is taken back to his cell, the Warden, who has the hots for Laura, escorts her off.
West: My last partner turned state’s evidence against me. I’m expecting better things from you.
Phillips meets Laura in the parking lot. He sees her limping, so offers to drive her home. The Warden is visiting with Moses.
Moses: I know I died. Is this hell? As a response the Warden beats him severely with his fancy cane.
Cut to Laura’s apartment, where she admits she is looking for a “story”.
Laura: Why are you doing your residency in the joint?
Phillips: When I was a kid I saw my sister die. I’ve always wanted to bring her back from the grave.
She gets him to talk all about Dr. West; they clutch.
Phillips: Seize the moment (fondling her breast).
Laura: Go for it.
West & Phillips set up a new Lab in the prison basement. West explains that his research has led him to understanding NPE, Nano-Plasmic Energy, where right after death the electromagnetic energy of the brain can be captured, & used as a co-agent to the re-agent, keeping the re-animated patient “more normal”.
Cut back to Laura’s bedroom, where Dr. Phillips is having sex with her, while spilling all of his & Dr. West’s secrets.
Phillips; I know what you need now–some hard facts.
Laura: Yes, I do need that, but how will I ever manage it?
Phillips: Just go for it.
They roll around some, & we get a nice side-breast shot, but it pissed me off that the publicity stills showed a further scene where she is out of bed displaying her tits, & obviously that scene was cut; WTF?
The plot really begins to cook here; Laura returns to the prison, flirts with the Warden, who allows her to wander around to gather more data for her story. She bribes Sgt. Moncho to leave her alone with Moses. She tries to make Moses tell her what Dr. West did to/for him. The Warden shows up, & he is pissed off by her deceit. He beats Moses severely with his cane, before Moses attacks him, chewing off his ear. He puts the severed ear in his pocket, then slaps Laura around, first making her get down on all fours & bark like a dog; then demanding she give him head.
Cut to the clinic; first Moses is brought in dead, for a second time. West wants to inject him with the rat’s NPE, but Phillips objects on “moral grounds”.
West: This is science, not superstition.
Then Sgt. Moncho brings Laura in on a gurney, “She is dead too. The Warden found her in Moses’ cell. Moses must have killed her.”
Left alone for a moment, West produces a new syringe full of fresh re-agent; they must have made up a new batch.
West: “Well, make up your mind, she is not getting any fresher.”
They take her to the basement lab, inject her with re-agent, then with thorazine to keep her calm. Phillips is in love again, unbinding her restraints.
West: That is not a good idea.
Cut to Moses in his cell chasing the pet rat, which runs up Sgt. Moncho’s pants’ leg, making him dance the macarena.
Cut to the lab; the Warden arrives, carrying his severed ear, discovers the re-animated Laura, threatens to fire both doctors; West clobbers the Warden. The doctors argue about giving Laura the rat NPE, then decide to take it from the Warden, after they electrocute him; which they do.
Cut back to Moses, who is attacking & beating Sgt. Moncho. Another prisoner, Speedball is freaked out, so he opens all the cells and a huge prison riot starts.
Cut back to the lab; West gives Laura the Warden’s NPE, & at first she seems to come back to acting normal.
Laura: Oh Howard, where am I? Has something happened to me?
West: You could say that. The Warden strangled you, & we brought you back.
Then she freaks out as she seems to imitate the Warden’s voice & personality.
Laura: Jesus, we are having a riot! Where are all the fucking guards?
She fights off his influence on her, and rushes out of the lab. Inmates find her, & try to molest her, calling her the hotbox bitch, but she kicks their asses, and keeps running. Phillips goes out looking for her. West finds a change of clothes, and packs up the re-agent & the NPE, & plots his escape. But before he leaves, West re-animates the Warden, so that he could tell him about his upcoming escape; Before I leave, I want to thank you for 13 years of research; some of my best work! The animals are ruling the zoo. There is a new release program in effect, & I am eligible.
Cut to SWAT trucks arriving and suited-up squads of cops swarming into the riot zone.
Cut back to the lab; the re-animated Warden attacks West, & knocks his short ass unconscious. Then he takes the bag of re-agent, and wanders out into the fray. Sgt. Moncho appears, the Warden beats him to death with his cane; than laughing, he injects him with re-agent. Laura has killed several inmates,& is covered with blood.
The Warden catches up to her. Prisoner Speedball steals the medical bag, and begins injecting himself with re-agent, using it like heroin. Laura runs off during the action; Warden is re-animating dead inmates so that he can beat them to death again with his cane.
Cut to Speedball, who is experiencing the highest high of his life, screaming with delight as he re-injects himself with re-agent repeatedly.
Cut to Nurse Emily, sneaking along in a quiet spot, just as Moses appears & attacks her, tearing open her uniform, exposing her breasts, getting on top of her, putting his face between her tits, begging for forgiveness, before sucking on one of her breasts, trying to eat it.
Cut to West, searching for his medical bag, meeting up with Dr. Phillips.
Phillips: You were dead wrong–she changed completely.
West: Well, hell, it was only a theory.
Cut to Nurse Emily, running along screaming with a squad of SWAT running beside her, her blouse torn open, her tits bobbing. They catch up to Moses, & they shoot him at least 147 times.
Cut to the Death House, where the Warden finds Laura hiding behind Old Sparkie. She, for some reason does not fight him; he pushes her to her knees & demands another blowjob. She looks at the camera & smiles. She sucks him for a moment, and then bites his dick off & spits it onto the floor! You bitch, he said calmly, not in much distress. She begins screaming & laughing spitting out blood and penis-chunks. Phillips hears her, & he rushes to her aid.
Cut back to Dr. West, who seems fascinated with the several re-animated corpses the Warden had cut up, & beaten. Suddenly he is attacked by inmate Carbara, who has been cut in half, and still moves around with just his arms.
Cut to Speedball, who has injected himself repeatedly, twirling around like a dervish, screaming like a trannie in a fag pile; then crashes into his bunk, as his face & chest explode, his intestines splash out onto the wall; becoming a living skeleton.
Cut back to the Death House; Phillips finds Laura, who is barking like a dog, sounding like the Warden who is crouching dickless in the corner, while the pet rat has found the penis, & is both fighting with it, & log-rolling it.
Laura: It’s in me, the Warden; you’ve got to cut it out!
Phillips: I can’t.
Laura: You fucking pussy!
She leaps to her feet, ripping off her blouse & skirt, wearing a black sheer S&M Mistress of pain lingerie outfit. She picks up the Warden’s cane, and smacks him several times with it, before she attacked Phillips, knocking him down, & straddling him in high heels.
Cut to Speedball’s cell, as West shows up demanding he be given back the bag.
Speedball: Can’t do that–this shit really rocks! I must follow prison rules, we can’t share needles, & I need more for myself!
West leans over & picks up one of the inmate’s eyeballs & put it in his pocket, then reaches in a snags the bag. Speedball, just a bloody skeleton now, screams,
How about another hit! Got any more?
West: I’d say you’ve had enough.
Cut back to the Death House. The pet rat continues to do the rhumba with the rogue penis, while Laura is hitting Phillips repeatedly in the face, while forcing him to put his chin into her beaver. West shows up & confronts the dickless Warden, but West is attacked by the half-inmate. Finally a good opponent for the small man West; who manages an excellent beat-down on the trunk-severed prisoner; but then the Warden attacks West from behind, which he seems to enjoy.
Phillips has thrown Laura off him, and suddenly she bends over backwards & crab walks like the replicant in BLADE RUNNER, or the little girl in EXORCIST, strangling him with her smooth thighs, while pleading, Please, stop me!
Phillips picks up a machete and slices her throat three times, as she screams:
Yes, yes, kill me, kill me!
West has bested the Warden, beating him with his own cane, then strapping him into the electric chair.
Warden: Goddamn it, I am the Warden!
West: Guilty as charged!
West pulls the switch down & fries the Warden, old Sparkie humming, electricity zapping all over, sparks filling the air like fireflies of death. He picks up his bag, and soon comes upon Phillips, holding the double-dead Laura in his arms, her head severed.
Phillips: I had to kill her to save her–but now I want her back.
Some of the SWAT team arrive; one of the officers holds up Laura’s severed head.
Phillips: It’s alright, I saved her.
Cut to West pushing the triple-dead dickless Warden on a gurney, saying to some of the police: Let me through, I need to save this man’s life; need to get him to the Miskatonic hospital. They, of course, let him pass.
Cut back to Dr. Phillips staring at Laura’s severed head, as it opens its eyes, and begins to laugh like a maniac–as Phillips begins to laugh hysterically; they share a split screen,
laughing, totally mad.
Cut back to Dr. Herbert West walking free through misty foggy streets, holding his medical bag. We see he is holding & playing with Speedball’s severed eyeball. He tosses it into the grass. As he makes his exit, the eye comes to life, and hops after him.
The closing titles tell us that the special effects were done by Screaming Mad George.
In a sidebar we see the pet rat in a battle royal with the Warden’s penis; the dick seems to be getting the best of the rodent, dick-slapping it silly. Finally the rat gives up, & scurries off, not having the head for such a battle.
Rotten Tomatoes rated the film at 45% Critic’s approval & 40% Audience approval.
Wesley Morris of the BOSTON GLOBE wrote: “This movie suggests what real Porn might be like if it only existed to make you deathly ill.”
Walter Chaw of FILM FREAK CENTRAL wrote: “Definatly a plus, on the bright side, director Yuzna brought back the special effects Maestro, Screaming Mad George.”
David Nusair of REEL FILM REVIEWS wrote: “Brian Yuzna is clearly having a lot of fun with the absurd material, smartly directing the actors to play things straight.”
Jovanisa Vuckovic of RUE MORGUE MAGAZINE wrote: “Incredibly stupid, but still mercilessly funny–this movie stays with you for a few days.”
Connie Rainwater wrote: “It was fun to watch, a super follow-up. The direction was really good, & they threw in some creative crazy camera angles.”
Jonathan Holland of VARIETY wrote: “This blood-fest heavy fare is sometimes shocking, but never too scary, as it sprints from one gross-out moment to the next in a way that will appeal to those hardcore gore-hounds.”
Jason Buchanon of ALL MOVIE wrote: “This is a much more satisfying entry into the Re-Animator series. Jeffrey Combs has not lost any of his inspired madness, making the character of Dr. Herbert West one of the most memorable horror villains in screen history.”
I would agree, as horror movies go, this sequel was better written, better edited, and flowed faster than BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR. The production values were excellent, and the smoother story-boarding & cinematography were a big plus. I would rate this one, on the new HH scale of 10 stars, a solid 6+.