Re-Animator review

Stuart Gordon's notorious 1980s shocker gets a brand-new lease of life in high-definition

The 1980s were a particularly exciting time for horror fans. Filmmakers constantly tried to outdo each other by pushing harder and harder at the boundaries of good taste. Yet outside of the gallons of gore being unleashed on screen many of the movies contained little else of note. Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator was another matter altogether…

Based on H.P. Lovecraft's six Herbert West – Reanimator short stories, Gordon's film certainly doesn't skimp on the blood. Even now some of set-pieces are as outrageous and shocking as ever. But, remarkably, this is balanced by a healthy jolt of satire and some winning performances from the leads, resulting in characters that you actually end up caring about – and surely that is the biggest shock of all.

Picture: Second Sight's Blu-ray contains a brilliant new 1080p restoration. Image fidelity is strong, with plenty of fine detail evident in close-ups, and there's a nice contrast between the vibrant, sometimes gaudy, colours and rock-solid blacks. There are shots that suffer from a slight lack in sharpness, but we suspect this is down to the source elements.

Re-Animator has traditionally be presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, yet this BD opts for 1.78:1 instead. However, rather than crop the image slightly, this actually appears to have been achieved by exposing the full image on negative. A cursory comparison between a frame from the film's pre-credit sequence and the same shot from the bonus documentary (where it is framed at 1.85:1 - see comparison below) shows noticeably more information at left and bottom of the picture.

The alternate 'Integral Version' of the film (see the comments on 'Extras' below) has also been subject to a similar level of restoration.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: The uncut version of Re-Animator offers a choice of LPCM stereo or DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtracks (only the latter is available on the 'Integral Version'). Both sound pretty good for a 1980s horror, with excellent dialogue and music reproduction, as well as creating a modestly expansive front-end. The 5.1 mix sounds a tad more open thanks to subtle use of the rears for atmospheric effect, but not so much that it makes for a radically different experience.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: The only new extra here is the 'Integral Cut' of the film. Running 19 minutes longer than the original release, it restores all of the excised material previously only available as extended/deleted scenes. Due to resulting pacing issues it's more of a curio than anything, but fans should still be delighted by its presence.

The remaining extras are all familiar from previous DVD platters, but are just as welcome as ever. The 'uncut' version of the film is accompanied by a pair of fantastically fun and informative commentary tracks. The platter containing the 'Integral Version' also serves up five interviews, the hour-long Re-Animator Resurrectus documentary, a deleted scene, 17 extended scenes, six trailer and two photo galleries.
Extras rating: 4.5/5

We say: An astonishing hi-def debut for one of the most outrageous and exhilarating fright flicks of the 1980s

Re-Animator, Second Sight, Region B BD, £26 Approx