Review by David Paul Hellings
“Second Sight is delighted to announce the re-release of two seminal horror Blu-rays Re-Animator and Basket Case The Trilogy, both come in black case classic packaging and are packed full of outstanding special features.
One of the most celebrated, outrageous, and original 80s horror films Re-Animator is brought back to life on Blu-ray in all its gory glory.
One of the essential repeat rentals for any self-respecting horror fan in the early 1980s, Frank Henenlotter’s cult classic Basket Case and the gloriously psychotic sequels it spawned are collected together in one twisted trilogy”.
- via Second Sight.
March sees the welcome re-release of two cult classic names in the shape of “Re-Animator” and the “Basket Case” Trilogy, both mired in gore and pitch black humour.
“Re-Animator” remains the strongest of director Stuart Gordon’s HP Lovecraft ‘adaptations’, very loosely based on the story “Herbert West – Reanimator” and starring the excellent Jeffrey Combs as the single-minded and amoral Herbert.
Lovecraft’s work is notoriously difficult to bring to the screen. The wealth of ideas, intricacy and number of monsters, plus the period setting has meant that nobody’s yet prepared to put up big budgets for the work of a man whose opinions on race have been more in the news of late than his stories. Apart from a splendid silent version of “Call of Cthulhu”, and the animated short of “In the Mountains of Madness”, most other attempts at Lovecraft have also been by way of well-made short films that find more of an audience on YouTube than anywhere else. Director Gordon and Producer Brian Yuzna (“Society”) rightly concluded that a camp, humourous approach was the way to go, creating a film that retains its strong following and rightly made a B-movie star out of Combs as the wonderfully sick Herbert West, whose one-liners are often deserving of a Halloween stand-up show.
“Re-Animator” is gory, funny, silly, and is as entertaining today as it was on release. Lovecraft purists may be more critical, but if you’re a fan of HP or even just weird horror, the film is rightly popular. Herbert steals the show with the best lines and so it should be. The Blu ray looks very nice indeed, the colours sharp and true, retaining the often bright and over the top world of the crazy laboratory for scientists with big problems.
Frank Henenlotter’s cult classic “Basket Case”, and its two equally curious and twisted sequels, has stood the test of time surprisingly well, again probably due to the rich vein of thoroughly black humour than runs through its centre.
“Basket Case” and its use of cheap and bloody FX, coupled with elements of stop motion animation rightly deserved its ‘midnight movie’ status, reflecting a New York that hadn’t looked as seedy and run down since “Taxi Driver”: a place of freaks and misfits who don’t fit in with the world and a perfect location for Siamese twins on a mission.
“Basket Case 2” nicely picks up where the first film left off, choosing wisely to up the humour and the monsters. Imagine a black comedy horror version of Tod Browning’s “Freaks” and you’ll be near the mark. Equally bizarre and equally amusing, the sequel works well and delivers exactly what fans wanted.
“Basket Case 3: The Progeny” sees director Henenlotter take the approach of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and why not throw even more madness and monsters into the mix just for good measure”. It’s simply a continuation of the craziness and exactly the same tone. As with the second film, director Henenlotter’s attempt at the ‘us and them’ outsider social commentary is present, but it’s easy going enough and doesn’t weigh down what are still amusing stories.
For low budget films, the new releases look good. The first film was 16mm, so don’t expect the near miracles of 70mm, but this is a great looking package that is pleasing in terms of print and colour.
Both “Re-Animator” and “Basket Case The Trilogy” come with extensive and informative special features and both releases are highly recommended for comedy horror fans.
One of the most celebrated, outrageous and original horror films of all time, Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator® is a darkly comic tale that ‘upped the 80’s gore ante at a time when blood was already flowing freely’ [Total Film].
Brilliant, if somewhat deranged, medical student Herbert West arrives at Miskatonic Medical School and immediately sneers at his professor’s outdated views on death. West has his own outlandish theories and has concocted a serum that will bring the dead back to life. Roping in fellow student Dan Cain their shocking experiments work all too well with horrific and very messy results.
-via Second Sight
- The ‘Unrated’ Version – brand new 4k restoration
- The ‘Integral’ Version (exclusive to Blu-ray)
- Audio commentary with director Stuart Gordon
- Audio commentary with producer Brian Yuzna, and actors Jeffrey Combs, Robert Sampson, Barbara Crampton and Bruce Abbott
- Re-Animator® Resurrectus documentary
- Interviews with Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna, writer Dennis Paoli, composer Richard Band and Fangoria editor Tony Timpone
- Extended scenes, deleted scene and trailers
Basket Case The Trilogy
One of the essential repeat rentals for any self-respecting horror fan in the early 1980s, Frank Henenlotter’s cult classic Basket Case and the gloriously psychotic sequels it spawned are collected together in one of the most twisted and enjoyable horror trilogies ever made.
WHAT’S IN THE BASKET? – A look at the making of the trilogy with director Frank Henenlotter; actors Kevin VanHentenryck, Beverly Bonner, Annie Ross; producers Edgar Ievans and James Glickenbaus; make-up effects artists John Caglione Jr, Kevin Haney, Gabe Bartalos and writer Uncle Bob Martin
INTERVIEW WITH GRAHAM HUMPHREYS – The legendary film poster artist discusses his career up to the creation of the new ‘Basket Case Trilogy’ artwork
BASKET CASE: Video Introduction by Frank Henenlotter; Audio Commentary by director Frank Henenlotter, producer Edgar Ievins and actress Beverly Bonner; Outtakes & Behind The Scenes; 2001 Video Short – The Hotel Broslin; Trailers & Radio Spots; Photo Gallery – behind the scenes, promotional material, stills.
This review originally appeared on SFFWorld at: