Archive for Bruce Abbott

Bride of Re-Animator

Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on July 16, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Eight months after the events of Re-Animator, Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and Dr. Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) are working as medics in the middle of a bloody Peruvian civil war. In the chaos of battle and with plenty of casualties to work on, they are free to experiment with West’s re-animation reagent. When their medical tent is stormed by the other side’s troops, West and Cain decide to return home to Arkham, Massachusetts. There, they resume their former jobs as doctors at Miskatonic University Hospital and West returns to the basement laboratory of Cain’s house to continue his research.

Using parts pilfered from both the hospital’s morgue and from the cemetery conveniently located next door, West discovers that in addition to whole corpses, his reagent can also re-animate body parts by themselves. He becomes determined to create an entire living person from disparate body parts.

West discovers the heart of Meg Halsey, Cain’s fiancée who died at the end of the first film and was thought to been reanimated by Cain with West’s reagent (it is implied that the re-animation backfired Cain was forced to dismember her afterwards), in the hospital morgue. With the promise to use the heart to re-animate a new Meg, West convinces Cain to help him with his project. Also stored in the morgue is the rest of the evidence from the “Miskatonic Massacre” (seen at the end of the first film). Inside, pathologist Dr. Wilbur Graves (Mel Stewart) discovers a vial of West’s reagent and the severed head of Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale). Using the reagent, he re-animates Hill’s head.

Meanwhile, police officer Lt. Leslie Chapham (Claude Earl Jones) begins investigating West and Cain. He bears a grudge against the pair, as they were the only unaffected survivors of the “Miskatonic Massacre” in which his wife’s dead body was re-animated into a crazed zombie. Chapham suspects West and Cain are responsible. When he stops by their house for a second time to question them, he discovers West’s corpse-filled lab and the two get into an ugly confrontation. West tells Chapham that he knows he killed his wife in a domestic violence attack. A fight ensues and West ends up killing Chapham by suffocating him with a cloth. West then re-animates the police officer with the intention of covering up his crime. Chapham violently wanders out of the house and into the cemetery next door.

Hill also bears a grudge against West, as West was responsible for his decapitation, the destruction of his body, taking away his crush and obsession Meg and having better theories about reanimation than Hill. Using his hypnotic powers, he commands Lt. Chapham to force Dr. Graves to stitch bat wings onto his neck, giving him back his mobility. He also extends his mental control to all of the zombie survivors of the “Miskatonic Massacre”, as well as newly-created zombie Chapham.

When one of Cain’s patients, the beautiful Gloria (Kathleen Kinmont), dies, West collects the last piece he needs for his creation: her head. With a complete body stitched and wired together, West and Cain inject the re-animation reagent into Meg’s heart. While waiting for the reagent to take effect, a package is delivered to their house. West retrieves and opens it. From inside, Hill’s winged head flies out. Simultaneously, all of the zombies he controls break into the house. West retreats back to the basement lab, where his creation, the Bride, has awoken.

A catfight breaks out between the Bride and Cain’s current girlfriend, Italian journalist Francesca Danelli (Fabiana Udenio), whom he met in Peru. Cain rejects the Bride’s love and sides with Francesca. Heart-broken, the Bride rips Meg’s heart out of her own chest and then literally falls to pieces. West diagnoses this as tissue rejection.

Hill and his zombies force West, Cain and Francesca to retreat through the wall of the lab and into a crypt in the neighboring cemetery. Inside, all of West’s prior re-animated body part experiments arise and make their way towards him (stopping only when Herbert commands them to). The unstable crypt begins to collapse, trapping Hill, West and the zombies. Cain and Francesca manage to escape the debris and they claw their way to the surface of the cemetery together. Hill, stuck in the debris, laughs manically, while Meg’s heart, still in the hand of the bride, stops beating.

REVIEW:

I must apologize for the briefness of this review, its been a long night, and I was barely able to stay awake through the film.

It isn’t very often that I watch a series of films out of order, but through some weird ordering on my Netflix queue, it happened that I skipped over Bride of Re-Animator after watching Re-Animator, and went to Beyond Re-Animator. Honestly, I don’t think it matters that much. These films aren’t made in a way that you have to see on so as to not be lost in the others.

What is this twisted tale about? Well, it picks p where the first film left off, only Dr. West is in Peru continuing his experiments. After some kind of infiltration, he and Dr. Cain decide to return home,. where they return to their previous jobs at the local hospital. This allows West to continue his experiments in Cain’s basement, and apparently dig a tunnel to the cemetery next door.

West’s new plot is to create life with these reanimated parts, and of course Cain is none too thrilled about the idea.

After some needless filler in the middle that introduces all the ancillary villanous characters and develops the plot just a bit further, we arrive at the climax which involves the head of Dr. Hill from the previous film, zombies, and of course, more re-animated parts.

As with the other films in this franchise, the acting is not what you signed up to see. If you did, I have to wonder what is wrong with you.

The special effects in this aren’t that great, but yo have to remember this was released in 1990, and didn’t exactly have the summer blockbuster budget we’ve all grown accustomed to in this day and age.

In conclusion, Bride of Re-Animator is ok. There isn’t anything necessarily bad about it, but there isn’t anything great about it either. For me, it was nothing more than an average flick. Feel free to check it out, though.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Re-Animator

Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , on December 22, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

At Zurich University Institute of Medicine in Switzerland, Herbert West brings his dead professor, Dr. Hans Gruber (Al Berry), back to life with horrific side-effects because, as West explains, the dosage was too large. When accused of killing Gruber, West counters: “I gave him life!”

In the emergency room of the hospital at Miskatonic University in New England, medical student Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) tries in vain to revive a patient after other medical personnel have given her up as dead.

Dan is dating Megan (Barbara Crampton), daughter of school dean Alan Halsey (Robert Sampson). West arrives at Miskatonic in order to further his studies. West rents a room from Dan and converts the building’s basement into his own personal laboratory. There is an instant animosity between West and faculty member Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale). West declares that Hill stole the theory of brain death from West’s late mentor, Dr. Gruber. Dan discovers that West has re-animated Dan’s dead cat, Rufus, with a glowing reagent. West recruits Dan as his partner in research to defeat death. Megan dislikes West, especially after discovering Rufus re-animated in a state of dismemberment.

Hill manages to turn Halsey against both West and Dan. Barred from the school, West and Dan sneak into the morgue to test the reagent on a human subject in an attempt to salvage their medical careers. The corpse revives and goes on a rampage, attacking the duo. Dean Halsey stumbles upon the scene originally to force them out of the morgue for trespassing and, despite attempts by both West and Dan to save him, is brutally killed by the re-animated corpse. Armed with a bone saw, West finally manages to dispatch that which he has only just brought back to life. Hardly fazed by the violence and excited at the prospect of working with a freshly dead specimen, West injects Halsey with the reagent. Halsey returns to life, but in a zombie-like state.

Hill discovers West’s work and gains guardianship over Halsey whom he puts in a padded cell adjacent to his office. Dan and Megan break into Hill’s office where they find evidence that Hill has a secret obsession with Megan and has lobotomized her father. Hill has gone to confront West in his basement lab and threatens to blackmail him to continue his research so that Hill can take credit for West’s reagent. While Hill is distracted, West decapitates Hill with a shovel. Overcome with curiosity, West re-animates both Hill’s head and body. While West is questioning Hill’s head and taking notes, Hill’s body knocks out West. The body carries the head and steals West’s reagent, returning to Hill’s office. Exercising mind control over Halsey, Hill sends him out to kidnap Megan from Dan.

West and Dan track Halsey to the morgue where they find Hill’s body holding his head in a compromising position over a restrained Megan. West distracts Hill while Dan frees Megan. Hill reveals that he has re-animated and lobotomized several corpses from the morgue to do his bidding. However, Megan manages to get through to her father, who fights off the other corpses long enough for Dan and Megan to escape. In the ensuing chaos, Halsey is torn to pieces by the corpses after he destroys Hill’s head and West injects Hill’s body with what he believes is a lethal overdose of the reagent which began to destroy Hill’s body. Hill’s body mutates horribly and attacks West, who screams out to Dan to save his work as he continues fighting.

Dan retrieves the satchel containing West’s reagent. As Dan and Megan run from the morgue, one of the re-animated corpses attacks and kills Megan. Dan takes her to the hospital emergency room where we first saw Dan. He tries in vain to revive her. Finally in despair he injects her with reagent. Just after the scene fades to black, Megan screams as it implicates her re-animation backfires just like the previous re-animated

REVIEW:

 While watching Santa’s Slay the other day, I came across a trailer for Beyond Re-Animator, which is apparently the third film in this series. Being curious, I decided to check out the entire franchise, starting with Re-Animator.

I’ll be frank with you. I didn’t really know what to make of this film. On one hand, I liked the oddity of it, but on the other hand, it seemed a bit like a bad B-movie…even for something from the 80s.

Apparently, this film is based on a short story from the early 20s. If you look closely, you can sort of get the idea that it was written back then.

The story centers around a med student who wants to bring back the dead. In his mad quest to re-animate life, he inadvertently involves his new roommate and his fiancée, and creates enemies out of the dean and professor.

I’ve made statements in the past about horror movies that seem to be more about the suspense and not the gore, most recently, Prom Night, but this one is proof that a little bit of gore goes a long way. Of course, this was the 80s, when stuff like this wasn’t as commonplace as it is today. Damn those Saw movies!

The mixture of horror, camp, and comedy is what makes this film work. In a manner similar to The Toxic Avenger and that entire franchise (not counting the cartoon version, of course), this film seemed to have nothing worthwhile, but once you sit down and watch it, you find yourself hooked, and not really sure why. That is the mark of a good mixture of elements. I applaud those involved with writing this script. They did an excellent job of not making this into something that was too much of this or that.

Seeing as how this was made in 1985, one wouldn’t exect the best special effects, and so we don’t get anything spectacular. However, this is the 80s, so effects were done with actual make-up and not computers. The makeup artists outdid themselves with the corpses, that’s for sure.

Acting is not the strongest part of this flick, that’s for sure. These actors all sem like they were plucked right out of acting class.

In the end, I’m still not sure what I think about this film. I didn’t love it, but at the same time I think it was half way decent and far from sucking. There are plenty of things to be said on the pro and con side of this film. Still, this is not a bad flick and a decent time  can be had watching it.

3 out of 5 stars