I like about half of this film. Which isn’t to say I don’t find the other half un-enjoyable. As this film is very good overall. My issue is that some of the plot lines feel incredibly forced, mostly the romance between Francesca Danelli and Dan Cain. In fact, most of what I didn’t find enjoyable was centered around Dan Cain. The character just wasn’t like-able and a bit stupid. He also has this weird co-dependence with Herbert West that the film never takes the time to address. But they do still shine at times, mostly when they argue morality. Not because of how West always convinces Cain to do what he wants, but because their exchange back and forth is still worth it.
Bride of Re-Animator picks up a few months after the end of the previous film with Doctor Herbert West (Jeffery Combs), who somehow survived the end of the previous film and Doctor Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) working as field doctors in the Peruvian Civil War. This is due to the large amount of fresh corpses to continue West’s research into Re-Animation. Which has now somehow perverted into a desire to create new life, seemingly no longer content with simple re-animation. Their camp gets overrun by enemy combatants, but they are warned to leave in time to narrowly escape by Francesca Danelli (Fabiana Udenio), who I thought was part of the guerrilla army. But no, she’s an Italian Journalist. How I messed that up I have no clue. Anyway back to the plot, the pair manage to escape and return to work at Miskatonic University Hospital with West even returning to the basement of Cain’s home and continuing with his experiments. The pair quickly fall under the scrutiny of Lt. Leslie Chapham (Claude Earl Jones), who is investigating the Miskatonic Massacre (The conclusion of the previous film). In which only West and Cain normal survivors. The only other survivors are some the zombies raised by West’s Serum, now kept in a mental institution. Including Chapham’s dead, but re-animated wife. Chapham returns Dr. Carl Hill’s (David Gale) severed head, which had been found in a side-show off screen, to the Miskatonic Pathology Department ran by Dr. Graves (Mel Stewart). Graves has been trying to identify West’s Serum, some having been discovered after the massacre, using some to re-animate Hill’s head. West and Cain start stealing and assembling body parts, centered around Meg’s heart (Cain’s fiance from the previous film), when Francesca comes to town. She and Cain instantly fall into a relationship, because that’s the only reason her character is in the film, leading to complications in Cain and Wests relationship. Lt. Chapham eventually forces his way Cain and Wests home and performs an unlawful search, discovering their basement laboratory. He attacks West, though West manages to kill Chapham with a poison soaked rag. West and Cain re-animate Chapham, to cover up his murder. Which goes sideways about as fast as you think it would. This leads to Chapham leaves the house, murdering Francesca’s dog on the way, to the graveyard outside. Dr. Hill sick with Dr. Graves summons forth Chapham. With Chaphams aid, Hill forces Graves to stitch a pair of bat wings to Hills’s head. Which gives Hill back his mobility. After the death of one Cain’s patients Gloria (Kathleen Kinmont), West collects the last piece they need to create new life. A head. But just as their creation comes to life, Dr. Hill and the other zombies lay siege to the house. Francesca is also there, because love interest.
I have a few gripes, as in multiple. So let’s get down to them. First Dan is beyond being morose and seemingly unable to get past the death of ex. Except when he’s you know past it. His character is just all over the place. I kept wondering if he was insane, not just unbalanced. But has had a complete disconnect from reality. Honestly much about his character doesn’t bother me. But he often feels like a cheap version of Fritz (Frankenstein’s assistant), who’s been a little dolled up to me. It would bug me less if he didn’t consume most of the screen time. I would have preferred more West and less Cain.
There’s also Francesca, who other than being in this film for the sole purpose of having a love interest, I have no issues with. She’s brave, loving, one hell of a survivor and over all a solid character. He only flaws come from that her character is incredibly forced and if shows. Also I do have to admit that I liked the character more when I thought she was a guerrilla fighter.
But the rest is good. Like really good. West goes completely off the deep end. Becoming beyond obsessed. The antagonists of the film are fantastic. With Chapham being a very interesting character with a decent amount of thought put into him and Kathleen Kinmont absolutely knocks it out of the park as the creation during the films climax.
Final thoughts, the climax alone is worth the price of admission. From the creation waking up to the end credits are absolutely worth slogging through to get to and I can’t state that enough. The visuals are amazing as is the direction. So, yes parts of this film are rocky. The other parts, though. They shine. 8/1o