Posts Tagged ‘Re-Animator’

Now, The Immortalizer is one of those rare B-movies that actually has a great basic set– up with  tons  of potential (even thou it did exist before, at least since the The Atomic Brain) but movie makers (veteran Joel Bender, editor on Power Ranger: The Movie) never got to actually follow it trough. What we got instead was a mess of a movie that follows a crazed doctor and his endless brain- swithings procedures,  often  with a hilarious results– a film like that would feel more at home among the SF movies of the 50’s. It would have been interesting to see what would have someone like Carpenter, author with a clear vision  done on the same budget with the same basic idea, but that’s not to say we didn’t have tons of fun with what we got, ’cause we sure did.

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Who wouldn’t trust a man with a face like this?

The movie starts with a Dr. Divine (Ron Ray) with a crazed look in his eyes injecting the screaming blonde woman with green, florescent liquid (where have I seen this before). Remember this, ’cause it will be (semi) important later.

We now jump to a couple of high- school students (brothers Gregg and Darrell) having fun with their dates (movie and pizza).  They can’t really come to an agreement which one get to sleep with which of the ladies but unfortunately for them they don’t make it that far anyway- not by a long shot!  They should have known that going straight into a dark alley is never a good idea, especially if you’re in a horror movie!

Now you would expect some kind of criminal or a junkie to attack them but no- it’s actually a monster? Some sort of zombies jacked up on steroids!? Man, I would shit my pants too If I ever saw something like that. Even the regular living death can be enough trouble as it is ,not to mention these obviously performance enhanced ones! Now good for them, police actually hears them and shows up (well, just one  cop but still)- but to no avail! All four of them end up kidnapped- cop didn’t even get to be that lucky, zombies throw him onto a brick wall and henchmen then proceed to decapitate him with the wheels of their van (man, that’s a nasty way to go).

Darell wakes up in the private hospital with the rest of the gang still sedated. He hides in the corner hoping no one will notice him. That doesn’t really work out.  Then when he finally runs for it he manages to alert half of the patients. He finally manages to escape by  jumping out a window and for some reason he tries hiding in the car of one of the doctors. He ends up up in a scrap with that doctors and the security too but he makes it out and jogs straight for the Sheriff ‘s Office. He may be dumb as f*@k but Gregg is in great shape.

Unfortunately for him the Sheriff’s Office is completely empty (I’m sure there are regulations against just that) so he calls the Sheriff the only way he knows how- by throwing stones and activating the alarm!? Man, he’s dumb- for sure there’s an easier way to do this. Sheriff then arrives with a record timing. He concludes the only logical thing– that the boy is on drugs and forces Gregg to spend a night in a jails cell. Man, this is really not his night.

Finally the Sheriff arrives to the sheriff’s station? Did he have a more important place to be?

In the morning the Sheriff finally listens to him and he  takes him to Dr. Divine’s place where they deny everything. Desperate Gregg manages to dupe the Sheriff and he runs away again. He then proceeds to recruit the old lady from the Dr. Devine‘s neighborhood (I guess she always suspected something). And you shouldn’t underestimate that lady- the  amount on weaponry she has in her place is unbelievable! 

Now, we see Dr’s goons playing with the zombies and they are christening the newest one Quinnie. Not only is this hulk of a woman the same lady from the beginning she is actually played by a minor celebrity- Bodybuilder and American Gladitator: ZapRaye Hollitt She is also interestingly a former wife of our WM alumni Ted Prior (Deadly Prey, The Final Sanction, Aerobicide).

Head Nurse is jealous and she desperately wants the body of the redhead that was promised to the rich,  irritating grandma. She even went as far as to “damage” her just so she can keep her. Bodies seem to be nothing but kid’s toys to these king of people.

In the end the rich old lady is beyond herself with joy (even though she got a blonde replacement and not original  redhead she wanted). Also we have to note that she kept her old woman’s voice even in this new body. How is that possible- I have no idea!

Now grandma infiltrates the compound but then the goons fuck things up by electrocuting zombies and the whole hell breaks loose.  Nurse uses opportunity to cheat on her husband with another Dr. this one. In the meantime the head nurse is cheating on her husband Dr.Divine with another doctor  who looks a bit like current president of USA Donald Trump.

Hilariously when Gregg finally catches Dr. Divine he is no longer he– you see he switch brains with the young Dr. and in this moment we really have no idea who’s who– and who has his original brain in the original body.

Fighting his way out of the house Gregg manages to save the redhead but Dr. meets his destiny via zombie and meatgrinder- nasty as it gets. But what happened to our  benevolent Dr. Divine you might ask? Well, three months later we see him (in his young man’s body and his old man’s voice) welcoming another client so I guess for his- it’s business as usual.

Verdict: Interesting thing to note, highly acclaimed Horror by Jordan Peelee Get Out uses the same “transfer of the brain” The Immortalizer set up, abelt with more of a social commentary and with a lot more attention to detail (it actually manages to sell its fantastical medical procedure to the viewers) and that showed just how great the idea really is- if you can make it work. But like they say- the devil is in the detail.

 

And despite all the parallels with the Gordon/ Yuzna franchise (glowing, green liquid we’re looking at you) the good Doctor aka Jeffrey Combs himself would have actually been perfect casting for this movie. His dead pen yet quirkie delivery would have elevated this kind of material into something a lot more meaningful. Unfortunately we are left with Ron Ray as a Doctor and he is fun but nothing more than that. But you never know what they’re going to remake next- so there might still be a chance.

 

 

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It’s always fascinating to think about the crazy, CRAZY movies that almost happened- like Tim Burton/ Nicolas Cage Superman or Albert Pyun’s Spiderman but that list now has a new and unexpected addition. Through the Blumhouse‘s horror podcast Shock Waves  we found out about the script for an unprocessed (Charles Band’s) Empire Pictures Horror directed by Stewart Gordon (Re-Animator, From Beyond) featuring none other but the The Governator himself Arnold Schwarzenegger!!! This was supposed to be Schwarzenegger movie after Raw Deal (1986) and it would have probably come out in between Predator and The Running Man (1987).

It turns out that Schwarzenegger’s Terminator stunt double also had a role in Re-Animator and that led to the friendship between Gordon and Arnold. They considered working together and came up with the idea of a wrestler that loses his mind because of super- steroids, and then naturally going on a murder spree all through New York city. I mean, Schwarzy yelling like a madman and ripping  arms and legs left and right. I would so pay to see that! Thankfully there is one piece of promo artwork saved in the archives, so you can get the idea.

That also sounds a bit like the real murder- suicide of the famous WWF wrestler Chris Benoit. and Joe Begos actually found out about this movie talking about the case with Gordon.

empire51Movie was originally going to be called STEROID but they later changed it to much more awesome- BERSERKER!

Trivia: Another cool, random Arnie-fact made a comedy/ drama Stay Hungry with the young Jeff Bridges in the 70’s!

At certain point in the 90’s Full Moon Entertainment (Demonic Toys, Dollman) had the rights to make Marvel’s Doctor Strange. Remember, those were the days when Marvel movies were made by people like  Corman or even better Pyun. Anyway they had the right for Dr. Strange, but NOT for long. Marvel’s license expired before the production officially began and instead of paying for extension producer  Charles Band decided to just go ahead with it. He cleverly removed mustaches and renamed his hero Doctor Mordrid leaving everything else virtually identical to the original script (and comicbook).

Movie starts with Mordrid (legendary Jeffrey Combs) talking with space eyes, we have no idea what the hell is happening. Then it jumps to Rio de Janeiro just in time for us to witness the evil Kabal (always fun Brian Thompson) in medieval regalia with hip 90’s sunglasses.He chants some complicate gibberish but his fantastic baritone (he sounds like Schwarzenegger who miraculously lost an accent and gain acting ability) makes it sound cool. His fledgling killed  a man transporting some sort of (mystical?) goods and the chant made it disappear into another dimension (with 90’s style drawn electricity- painfully  absent in today’s films)

Doctor Mordrid_2avo_[torrents.ru].avi_000154988Hello Space Eyes!

And we’re back to Dr.  ̶S̶t̶r̶a̶n̶g̶e̶  Mordrid’s lair full of arcane books, mystic artifacts and TV’s for some reason? He seems disturbed from his astral projection and  easy listening music and goes out to find what’s happening. It turns out some neighbors (he lives in an apartment building?) are having argument about a dog. Police woman with big hair (who also lives there) Sam seemingly resolves things and Mordrid exchangers couple of words with her and then flashes her with his amulet and she forgets everything. Watching Mordrid’s TV collection we learn that the shipment that was stolen was platinum and that rings a bell with Dr. We also learn that his raven is appropriately named Edgar.

Mordrid uncovered magic ball and uses it to summon a gateway that takes him to the another world and… the flying fortress (and that’s all we see of that mystic world). He almost gets killed by a keeper Gunner but it turns out they are old friends. It tuns out he was blinded while the others were killed during the Kabal’s escape. Gunner still stayed weak as he is to keep others locked and by others I mean demons from the other dimension. He returns to his apartment just to find out that his neighbor police woman called the firemen. She was snooping around and saw the smoke coming from his place. He finally gives up and invites her in.

Doctor Mordrid_2avo_[torrents.ru].avi_001244993

In the meantime we are presented with bloodsucking, terrible pair of satanist- one of them a lady satanist who enjoys singing disco hits and dancing appropriately. She hopes to score with  Kabal but he decides to sacrifice her instead.

It’s Satan’s Dance!

Feeling particularly powerful he uses astral projection (sorry- it’s called transportation of the soul here) to taunt Mordrid. They get into a  confrontation of sorts but without some terrible ramifications but soon enough police comes to arrest Mordrid,  it turns out the symbol from his amulet is found on some dead bodies and he becomes  prime suspect. During the interrogation he tries to explain that the evil alchemist is behind both the murders and also the stolen plutonium but they kinda don’t believe him.

Doctor Mordrid_2avo_[torrents.ru].avi_002434056“Kabal’s intentions are worse than evil!”

Sam, the police woman drops by to check on him and he shows her the visions of his childhood. He also uses the paper napkin to hypnotize her.We see the rivalry of the Kabal and Mordred since they  were kids, and gain all we see of the other world is the flying castle- they really should have filmed something else too (it gets really old, really fast). Sam accepts to steal his amulet and help him  escape but Satanist number two shows up (with the enchantment of indestructibility)and just when you expect a ruckus nothing happens. Yeah, Satanists are just that stupid. Sam freezes time and gets Mordrid out. Mordrid does the next logical thing, he decides to falls asleep aka project his soul in the middle of the park and Sara stays to watch over him. Kabal breaks into the Metropolitan Museum and steals the philosopher’s stone who’s sole purpose is in fact being the cauldron for cooking all the alchemical stuff.

Doctor Mordrid_2avo_[torrents.ru].avi_003628082Today in cooking with Kabal!

Just when you though he finished cooking Mordrid (aka his soul) appears and they start the spell- war that escalates into a dinosaur skeleton vs mastodon skeleton finale. Then when you expect something really impressive to happen mastodon impales Kabal, stops the demon invasion from another dimension and everything is fine again.

Yeah, also Satanist tries to kill defenseless Mordrid but being stupid but his powers stop working and he almost gets killed. The movie ends with melancholic Sam celebrating Christmas, getting drunk with Edgar the raven… when Mordrid mysteriously shows up from the another dimension and new adventures are ready to begin! Unfortunately we won’t see them.
Verdict: Like many other Full Moon features this one also suffers from the lack of the third act, and I don’t mean like in the John Rambo (purposely extended second act), I mean more like Bakshi’s Lord of  the Ring where you can just see that they run out of budget and abruptly ended the movie without real climax or resolution.

On the plus side Jeffrey Combs’s overacting fits perfectly with the theme of this movie and his literally chewing scenery. Too bad the movie is not up to par.  I would really love to see Combs more often as a leading man (outside of Re-Animator franchise).

Trivia: For a (very) short while this movie was called Doctor Mortalis and Band even managed to bring in the legendary Marvel artist Jack Kirby to do some concept drawings. Unfortunately that didn’t continue (wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he run out of money to pay him- wouldn’t be the first time).

DoctorMOriginal Kirby sketch for Dr. Mortalis

NevermoreHynesJeffrey Combs is NEVERMORE? Right on!

Just as we were talking about the genius that is Jeffrey Combs we found out about a new and exiting project featuring non other than Mr. Combs himself.  The project is low budget biopic of Edgar Alan Poe that reunites Mr. Combs with his Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon! The only thing missing is the producer Brian Yuzna (but I wouldn’t be too surprised if he showed up too). They started the campaign on Kickstarter some days ago so if you want to donate and make this film a reality you can do that right here, right now. Campaign fittingly ends on Halloween.

What happens if you are a fan of H.P.Lovecraft who get overwhelmed by nostalgia for good old 80s horror movies, but you got no budget? Nothing, renting a  video is the only solution. But, if your name is Brian Yuzna, having no budget and no actors won’t stop you from defiling one of the greatest horror writers  of all times!!! And if your name is still Brian Yuzna, you will make nostalgic incoherent 80s horror sequel, which has nothing to do with above mentioned  horror writer, with the same crew from the first part (adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s “Herbert West – Re-animator”). But unlike Yuzna produced “Dreams of the Witch  House”, “From Beyond” and “Dagon”, this piece of fun can’t be considered as a quality movie. Hilarious yes, but not quality.

Glava

That this is going to be some really weird shit, we noticed before movie even started, when floating head of West’s mentor Dr Carl Hill (played by David Gale)  appeared in front of us, holding a monologue about his vengeance upon young Dr Herbert West, who, if you have watched the first part, decapitated Dr Hill, and  then re-animated him using a strange green liquid he invented, which caused serious massacre after. But enough about the first part. Sequel takes us 8 months later and 10000 miles away from the massacre at Miskatonic medical school. Dr Herbert West (played by Jeffrey Combs) and his friend Dr Dan Cain (played by Bruce Abbot) are at low budget field hospital in low budget war zone of civil war in some far country. They volunteered as  medics and they are near the end of their tour. No one actually bothered to explain how the hell Dr West had survived being torn apart by bunch of the angry  zombies at the end of first movie!!! Did he re-animated himself? Nevertheless, he is alive and more than ever devoted to his job. A lot of corpses and deadly  wounded soldiers are around him, and you know what that means? SPARE PARTS!!! Dr West feels like a kid locked in candy store. Of course, he is carrying his  green liquid invention with him! One soldier is still alive and he is on the table, but Dan and West fail to save him due to enormous shrapnel inside  unfortunate soldier’s chest. Dr West notices that soldier’s nervous system is still intact and decides to do the only reasonable thing one doctor can in such  situations – he is going to re-animate him using his trusty old green goo. Losing a patient gets the completely new meaning!!! Showing no gratefulness for being re-animated, the re-animated soldiers attacks Dr West, trying to choke him. A moment later, cute Francesca (that looks like Serbian folk singer Dragana  Mirkovic) storms in the field hospital and announces on very bad English that they have to retreat since their front lines are weakened. She arrived just in  time to see Dr West ending his fight by shooting zombie in the head. Why did he re-animate him if he killed him a moment later? Some kind of sick fun? Anyway,  Francesca (played by Fabiana Udenio) warns them about incoming enemy and then storms out. She is Dan’s ex girlfriend and no one bothered to explain what the hell she was doing 10000 miles away from her home in the middle of civil war. Not liking the Herbert’s idea of staying there and collecting body parts for further research, Dan entered the discussion with young doctor. Just in the  middle of West’s monologue about reptiles being the key for creating the new life, enemy soldiers entered the field hospital and attacked them. Both of our  doctors have shown us amazing skill with weapons, shooting one enemy soldier after another. Eventually, Dan saved West’s life but got wounded during that act  and that was the sign they should go back.

Govor

Now we are back to Miskatonic hospital. Dan is talking to Gloria (Kathleen Kinmont) who is seriously ill and is preparing for surgery. Seems that Dan has a  hot spot for her, unlike Dr West who sees her just as another body part depository. Dan noticed that, and another argue between doctors started a moment  after Gloria has been taken away. We’ll leave them discussing as we are going to pathology wing of the hospital. Dr Graves (funny name for pathologist), has  received a delivery from Lt Leslie Chapham (played by Claude Earl Jones). Dr Graves (played by Mel Stewart) is a cheerful pathologist who is in charge for the remains of the night of the massacre, and Lt Leslie delivered him the head wrapped in newspaper. The head belonged to no one else than Dr Hill.  Apparently it turned up on sidewalk in front of Arkham (so much about proper waste disposal), and, after 8 months, it’s still well preserved. Lt Leslie takes  the tour through chamber when other remains of the massacre are being held. There he had brief conversation with Dr Graves, who seems to be real nuts,  considering his black humor jokes he is making all the time. Also, besides other well preserved remains of the massacre, detective finds a green goo, which  Dr Graves jealously takes back with the explanation that he wanted to identify it first thing in the morning. The case of massacre is closed but detective  wanted to investigate a missing body parts (including the missing feet of ballet dancer). Dr Grave has only one thing to say about it – Who would like to  steal body parts? I think I got some idea.

It's mine

It’s mine!!!

Sometime later, Dr West visits the chamber with massacre remains, finding it’s new resident. Yes, it’s Dr Hill’s head. Good doctor doesn’t miss the chance  to have a little chat with his old friend and mentor, ending up in argue with severed head and slapping it with severed arm.

Who would want to steal body parts THIS GUY

Who would want to steal body parts? THIS GUY!!!

The same evening, Dr Dan comes to the laboratory in basement of the house where he and Dr West are living. The house happens to be adjacent to cemetery (how convenient). Dan wants to say something to Herbert, but good doctor is too much occupied by extracting green ooze from the lizard to care for Dan’s words.  Dan silently watches Dr West while he is making a stop motion spider made of wires, severed (and the most probably stolen) human fingers and human eye.  Seeing that, Dan decided that he finally had it enough and announced his intention to move out the house, while yelling that West’s research is madness and blasphemy. Shaken by what he just heard Dr West decides to reveal his true plans. He wants to assemble Dan’s love of the life, a woman named Meg who died  long time ago. To prove his intentions with evidences, West shows Meg’s preserved heart. That was enough to convince Dan not only to stay, but to help Dr  West in his research bu stealing more body parts. At that point it was clear to me that this is gonna be the most shameful “Bride of Frankenstein” rip off!!! In that time Lt Leslie pays them the visit in order to question them about missing body parts and Dr West’s research about re-animating the dead tissue. During their conversation, West noticed that creature he made escaped while he wasn’t paying attention and now roams freely through his living room. Spider  eventually comes on couch next to detective, who accidentally crushes it with Atlas of Human Anatomy, without even noticing that. There is no  particular  reason why Yuzna wanted to film this….I believe it was a comical relief.

This eye is missing one finger

This eye is missing one finger.

Always cheerful and ready for joke Dr Graves is keeping his promise. Remember his plan to try to identify the green ooze? Well, now he is testing it on dead  bat. Bat gets re-animated and attacks clumsy stunned pathologist. After some fight, Dr Graves wins by cutting both of bat’s wings. It seems that he had it  enough. But no, he now injects green ooze into head of Dr Hill. Seconds later, head starts talking to him. A couple seconds later head starts insulting our,  until now, always in good mood pathologist. Excited by this event, Dr Graves invites the guy who works at crematorium to show him a miracle. But head  wouldn’t talk to him. Completely crushed by this and previous insults he had to listen, Dr Graves finally loses his mind (not that he had much to lose  anyway) and starts crying like a little baby. While he is doing that, beneath him, our two doctors are stealing another body from crematorium. That’s the  corpse of another young woman, of course. More body parts to be harvested. On their way out, Dan meets Francesca in front of hospital. His smile is telling  us that he intends to impale his flag on her Moon, thus cheating his soon-to-be-re-animated girlfriend.

Weekend with BernyWeekend at Bernie’s?

Lt Leslie didn’t notice the obvious attempt of corpse smuggling, but he did notice Francesca, so he used his chance to take a tour through hospital with her, questioning and hitting on her in the same time. Interesting thing is existence of zombie reserve, located right behind children ward. Even more interesting thing is that employees in hospital don’t find it to be strange at all. Also, Francesca got attacked by zombies, but brave detective saved her.

Back to the laboratory. Our two doctors are doing last preparations for re-animating Dan’s long lost love. Only one part is missing – the head. After a brief professional discussion with Dr West, Dan decides to take a brake with Francesca, who has just arrived to their rendezvous. 5 minutes later, they are both in bed, thus fulfilling Dan’s plans about cheating his dead girlfriend. Meanwhile, in the underground laboratory, Dr West is fighting with leg he re-animated moments ago. Actually, leg is trying to strangle him (?!) Whit what, I am asking you? And all of this with Lt Leslie who is monitoring their house from his car parked across the street. Eventually, he storms in the laboratory, finding there good doctor experimenting with missing body parts, including the parts of his wife. Dr West was forced to kill detective and then re-animate him (damn, that man surely loves re-animating). As it always happens, re-animated detective goes berserk and tries to kill everyone around him, including half-naked Francesca upstairs. But her dog heroically sacrificed it’s life (and it’s leg) to save the beloved owner, for which it was rewarded with re-animation and human arm. Lt Leslie escapes and Francesca discovers their secret.

Detektiv i pas

Quick, someone call P.E.T.A!!!

Now, do you remember that our doctors are missing one final part for assembling the bride of re-animator? Remember that that part is the head? Well, Dr West managed to find even that. No, they didn’t put the head of Dr Hill onto woman’s body (though, it wouldn’t be too much surprise even if they did, considering this movie). Remember the Gloria, the patient from the beginning of the movie? She died shortly after surgery and Dr West managed to steal her head right before her body was sent to crematorium. Below them, Dr Graves is trying to have a little peace with disobedient head of Dr Hill, which is sleeping at the moment (apparently, even severed heads needs sleeping). But no luck. Head had woke up, immediately starting to give orders to pathologist. Dr Graves, refusing to obey the orders, stuck the apple into the bigmouth head mouth’s and throws it in trashcan, which forced Dr Hill to use it’s telepathic powers to call upon all zombies.

Two wise headsTwo wise heads.

Lt Leslie visits Dr Graves for the second time, but this time as a zombie who is under control of Dr Hill and who’s head is holding in his hands. He locks in terrified pathologist, taking his scalpel and performing a surgery on head of Dr Hill. On his way out, he tried to rape Francesca but no luck with that (I guess green ooze didn’t re-animate his sexual powers). Despite the fact that she doesn’t approve the work of Dr Dan and Dr West, after raping attack, Francesca run away to house of her beloved Dan, where re-animating of bride was already in progress. But she is not alone. Zombie detective is there too.

Freeze, reanimating police

 Freeze, re-animating police!!!

Gloria gives Dr West the lecture about blasphemy and sickness of his work, on which he replied that he created something not even God or woman could ever create. And what about with woman ability to give birth to a completely normal human baby, who has all the right parts and clear mind? I think he hadn’t thought of that. Being encouraged by successful re-animating of woman who has been assembled with body parts of every girl who died in this movie and by the fact that she actually recognized her beloved Dan (and immediately started hitting on him), Dr West even dared to call himself a God (not completely unexpected). Meanwhile, jealous Francesca tries to brake apart Dan and re-animated Meg. Bride of re-animator (also played by Kathleen Kinmont), didn’t like that idea a bit and seconds later we got ourselves a good old girl wrestling (well actually, one bad acting girl and one monster made of several girls, bolts, and wires). That feud seems that was enough for Dr Dan to make a decision with which girl he will stay. It happens to be Francesca. Seeing that, Meg torn out her broken heart from her chest followed by stop motion decomposing. Ah, love can really hurt.

My God, they made the sequel

 My God, they made a sequel!

But that’s not the end of troubles for Dr West. From the crypt side of the wall, an army of zombies is swarming into his laboratory with intention to rip his body apart. They are led by head of Dr Hill, who becomes a flying mobile monstrosity after fusing a pair of bat wings to the side of his head. Dr Dan and Francesca managed somehow to escape from grand monster based finale, just in time before the entire house, together with the crypt, collapsed onto head of unfortunate Dr Herbert West. Now he is dead for sure. Or is he?

Leteca glava

Conclusion: After extremely tragic, yet short, life and long, painful death, H.P. Lovecraft doesn’t even have peace of grave since imbeciles continue to defile his life’s works, and keep putting his name onto craps which have nothing to do with him (as is the case with Bride of Re-animator). Besides that, the movie is a constant battle to see who can chew the most scenery, combined with Yuzna’s dry writing and over-the-top effects (such as neon lights, shitload of fake blood, etc). I should not forget to mention  Dr West’s cracking one liners completely straight faced during this whole movie and some decent special FX effects of Screaming Mad George. Still, one thing is for sure: When I die, I don’t want to be RE-ANIMATED!!!