Archive for NPE

Beyond Re-Animator

Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on April 9, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

For the past 13 years, Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) has been serving his prison sentence for his role in the death of a teenage girl at the hands of one of his zombies. With what scant supplies he has on hand in the prison medical center, Dr. West has been capable of performing only extremely basic experiments on rats. However, his lack of supplies does not prevent him from uncovering a key element in his re-animation process. When a young doctor named Howard Phillips (Jason Barry) comes to work at the prison, he teams up with West to help him attain the supplies and tools needed to bring his experiments to the next level. Phillips is the younger brother of the teenage girl who was killed (he’s shown watching West being taken away by the cops) and came to the prison for the explicit purpose of working with West. In the meantime, Phillips gets a girlfriend, the journalist Laura Olney.

Dr. West has discovered “NPE” (Nano-Plasmic Energy), an energy that can be extracted from the brain of a living organism through an electrocution-like process, to be stored in a capsule resembling a small light bulb. The capsule can then be connected to a corpse and used in conjunction with West’s previously developed reagent to restore the former dead to a life-like state. The NPE prevents the degeneration seen in previous instances, where the reanimated are nothing more than mindless zombies. Used together with the re-agent, reanimated corpses regain their skills, memories, and motor functions and nearly fully resemble normal humans.

The warden of the prison uncovers West’s experiments, and is subsequently killed and re-animated a la Dr. Carl Hill in the first Re-Animator. However, West uses the NPE from a prisoner’s pet rat, causing some unexpected side effects in the warden’s behavior. It manifests itself as the prison descends into utter chaos as a riot breaks out, with vials of the reagent circulating through the population. Soon, it is unclear who is dead, who is alive, and who has been exposed to the agent. During the chaos, Laura is killed. Phillips is believed to be criminally insane by guards, when they find him weeping over Laura’s head, severed from her body.

West manages to escape the prison by stealing Phillips’ I.D., when he comes across him weeping over Laura’s decapitated body before the guards appear. In the end of the film, West is shown putting on his glasses outside the prison, once he has slipped past security. He then throws a human eye, struggling to move, onto the lawn of the prison. After witnessing this, West slips into the night to continue his research.


 Somehow, I skipped over the second film in the Re-Animator franchise, Bride of the Re-Animator, and went straight to Beyond Re-Animator. I will be getting to the second film soon enough, though.

This film continues the mad experiments that Dr. Herbert West was doing in the original Re-Animator. This time, though, we find him in prison and someone who’s life he affected as a kid now wants to work with him. As with the first film, this one is filled with bad effects, dead brought back to life, and supposedly attractive women that are supposed to be the female romantic lead.

The first thing that one notices with this film is how it seems to be a carbon copy of the original film, just in a different setting, and with a bigger budget…amazing what a few years can do, right?

The special effects are cheesy, yet for the tone of this film, they somehow don’t feel like they’re half as bad as one would think. I guess its because it is obvious that this is a bad, cheap film and we don’t really expect much.

I don’t really have much to say about this flick other than if you missed the first film, then you can pretty much see it again here in the third installment. As I said earlier, this is pretty much the same film, and yet it is still a cult favorite, for some odd reason. I have to wonder if that has anything to do with the books this was based on. I can’t really say this is worth seeing, but at the same time, I can’t say you should avoid it, either. The sheer campiness of it keeps it from being totally horrible.

2 3/4 out of 5 stars