Episode 25 – Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

or “The Doctor is In(carcerated)”

Featuring: Jeffrey “From Beyond” Combs , Jason “MirrorMask” Barry , Elsa “Skate or Die” Pataky

Director: Brian “Society” Yuzna

Writers: Xavier “Working Class” Berraondo , Jose “Working Class” Gomez , Miguel “Revenge of the Nerds” Tejada-Flores

Origin: Spain

Sequel to: Re-Animator / Bride of Re-Animator

Review_____

The soul is an invention of primitive witch doctors.”

25 episodes! Woohoo! My chronic general disinterest in life and unwillingness to stay committed to projects has given me enough leeway to make it to the silver review! Sure, four of said reviews were reruns, but they did require re-viewings of the subject materials, massive re-editing of the original material (if you think my current rantings are bad, my shit was WAY shittier 7 or 8 years ago), writing the intros and xtros (still get a smirk out of that every time I type it), along with entirely new screenshots and captions. As such, they’re really not so much reruns as they are remasters. I just didn’t want to sound like some uppity dickshit by actually calling them that. Anyway, for the big two-five, I wanted to break out something a little special to mark the occasion. Re-Animator is the movie that really showed me what horror movies could accomplish beyond killer dolls and masked slashers, so it’d be the perfect subject for a milestone like this. However, since my self-imposed “nothing before 2000” rule prevents me from reviewing the original Re-Animator (or even the not-as-good-but-still-pretty-good follow up Bride of), well…some Herbert West is better than no Herbert West, so…here’s Beyond!

For starters, Jeffrey Combs is the only original Re-Animator cast member returning this time. The gorgeous Barbara Crampton (my throwback boner factory in high school) hasn’t been a piece of this puzzle since the original, Bruce Abbott bowed out after Bride (good riddance), and David Gale cashed in his 401Korpse in 1991 after playing Fulton Balcus in the live-action Guyver (no, not MacGuyver, ya knob) movie, so his final parlay into the mythology will have to be remembered as Gale with bat wings grafted to the sides of his head. Behind the camera is director/writer/producer Brian Yuzna is back from Bride, and since he was also a producer on Re-Animator, that makes him the only person other than Combs to be a part of all three movies. Special effects man Screaming Mad George also returns from Bride to contribute to the gore and oddities for Beyond, so expect less in the way of traditional living dead, and more in the way of “how is that even a thing?!” mutants. No one else I’d trust to put together a silhouette fight between a mouse and a penis though…don’t worry, we’ll get to that soon enough!

When we last saw Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs), he and he his friend assistant Dan Cain (not to be confused with Dean Cain, praise Isis) were pulling a Bride of Frankenstein on Dan’s dead ex-girlfriend Megan…whose death somehow made her transmogrify into someone who wasn’t Barbara Crampton. And to paraphrase Officer Barbrady, “If you’re not Barbara Crampton, I don’t give a rat’s ass!” As with anything West gets his hypodermics into, the whole affair went tits up and the mad doctor was thought lost in a cave-in, the victim of his own affronts to nature. Aside from re-animating the dead, West’s made a name for himself by escaping certain death before, and if he can survive full-body strangulation by a pissed off intestinal python, having a crypt dropped on his head isn’t exactly a guarantee of expiration.

Beyond picks up with one of West’s errant creations seeking out a refreshing drink of milk at a house near the cemetery where the doctor set up his chop shop, but the jawless freak collapses the skull of a teenage girl in the process. Never stand between a re-animated corpse and his moo juice. The local pigs show up and nab West, leading to a lengthy incarceration in Arkham Prison. Now, it’s not made clear if this is immediately following the finish of Bride and the cops were there following up on the ruckus resulting from said movie, hence why they were on the scene so quickly. It’s possible Herb escaped the crypt collapse only to be grabbed by the black & white, or it could be that the police dug him out of the rubble and tossed him straight into the back of a cruiser rather than an ambulance. I’m assuming this mishap is completely unrelated to Bride though, since the graves our spitters in the face of mother nature were robbing previously were from, I believe, Arkham Cemetery, while the boneyard from which West is removed in cuffs here is ChristChurch Cemetery; which sounds to me like a place you’d find in Spain. (This feature was made under the banner of Brian Yuzna’s Fantastic Factory movie production company out of Barcelona.) Which also explains the HUGE amount of people in Arkham, Massachusetts with Spanish accents and Latin features. As for the immediate police response? Well, after two previous such massacres in the area, you gotta figure the Arkham PD put together an Emergency Anti-Zombie Task Force who spent every shift until now just sitting by their special phone line awaiting just this call to come in! Makes sense to me.

Semantics aside…wait…I just realized that “semantics” would be a great way to describe people who find semen romantic. Anyway, my diminutive attention span notwithstanding, West somehow survives 13 years of incarceration (after Dan seemingly turned state’s evidence according to West himself), continuing his experimentation with whatever bits and bobs he can scrounge up and using rats as his test subjects. Out of the blue, he gets notice of his assignment to a new work detail: assisting the prison’s new head physician, Dr. Howard Phillips (Jason Barry playing an allusion to Lovecraft that’s about as subtle as a stick of dynamite going off in a priest’s ass in the middle of mass). Howie’s requested placement in the prison position (that just sounds dirty) is in no way due to his supposed interest in “institutional medicine”, but because he sought out Dr. West and this is the culmination of his 13 year plan to pursue our titular madman. See, Howie’s sister Emily (whom he had a creepily physical relationship with [see screenshots below]) is the girl whose murder-by-monstrosity led to the West arrest in the first place. The nerd’s not here to take his revenge though, he’s here because he recovered a hypodermic of reagent at the crime scene (yep, the cops managed to overlook the BIG GLOWING GREEN NEEDLE sitting next to their car) and held onto it so he could apprentice under the unstable doctor in the science of Dead Raising 101.

In an “only in the movies” moment of convenience, one of the prison’s residents (a cannibal named Moses, played by Michael Berryman understudy Nico Baixas) dies of a heart attack not 5 minutes after West and Phillips are introduced. Before you can say “Dan Cain’s coif”, Howie’s returning the recovered stash of reagent to Dr. Opposite-of-East, and our intrepid would-be Victor Frakenstein wastes no time jamming it into Moses’s neck. Yeah, given his shitty luck with rampaging experiments in the past, you’d think West wouldn’t be so quick to shoot up a CANNIBAL with a concoction that turns EVERYBODY it’s injected into into MURDEROUS ZOMBIE BERSERKERS! My love for you is raging ghoul, BERSERKER! Would you kindly stroke my tool, BERSERKER!

Of course, this poor judgement results in a small rampage that leaves a guard with a large big bloody hole where part of his arm used to be, drawing the ire and suspicion of the prison boss, Warden Brando (Simón Andreu). He’s a textbook case of Lord Acton’s summation about how power corrupts and all that. Speaking of Brando, he’s not in the mood for any of that psycho zombie bullshit, because he’d much rather focus his attentions on trying to seduce sexy blonde local reporter Laura Olney (Elsa Pataky). She’s visiting the big house to do a story on their institutionalized education program. Being an attractive dame, Laura has a less-than-8% chance of escaping to the end credits without being turned into a topless zombie drenched in someone else’s gore and offal. Actually, given that Howard’s assisting nurse Vanessa (Raquel Gribler) is a busty Latina whose topless factor is somewhere around “Absolute Certainty” (“It’s over 9000!”), Laura’s mammaries may go unexposed. The rest of that previous estimate though? Put a ten spot on it and let it ride!

Because the downfalls of Herbert West are always somehow the blame of a woman (or at least his partners’ weaknesses for them), Phillips and Laura hit it off at first sight and are staining sheets together within mere hours of meeting because, again, movie reasons. Laura starts investigating West’s sordid backstory, abusing her womanly wiles to try and exhume the truth of what the two doctors are really up to in the basement the hoosegow. Speaking of, West’s new twist for this movie’s experiments is Nano-Plasmic Energy. He’s discovered that when the human body dies, it loses a spark of energy that can be captured and maintained. Religious people would call this a “soul”, but West sees it as the way to restore full brain function to his test subjects post-reanimation! By infusing his “patients” with a zap of NPE, their bodies achieve their natural balance, stop decaying, and learn how to repair cellular degeneration. Naturally, the problem with NPE is finding “donors”, since you’re stealing their life force, thereby killing them. West believes NPE to be an entirely neutral energy, so you don’t necessarily need a human spark to jump start the re-animated as, say, a rat “soul” would fill in the blanks of this medical mad lib just as well! Yeeeeeeeah…there’s NO way this could possibly become yet another fustercluck in this man’s history of similarly clucked fusters. Remember kids, book smarts do not equal common sense, but they can absolutely lead to big greasy stains on the record of humankind.

Dr. Howard (“Paging Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard.”) goes along with West’s plan to implant rat NPE into Moses to see if he regains his senses. Before they can get the chance, Laura’s already bribed her way into some face time with the adult version of Bat Boy for her investigation, which predictably turns into a life threatening situation. Brando walks in on the proceedings though, gets his ear bitten off by the maniac, then beats Moses to “death” with his big dumb Larry Talbot cane before trying to force Laura to give him a trouser friendly good night kiss (or good morning kiss if you’re from the Southern Hemisphere)… after making her get on all fours and bark like a dog. Hey, Barry Simms, do you think Laura wears crotchless panties?

The preceding joke was meant only for viewers of Halloween: the Curse of Michael Myers, starring a young Paul Rudd. If you didn’t get the joke, please send a self-addressed, postage paid envelope to “Halloween 666” and frankly, if you don’t get your mail returned to you for just putting “Halloween 666” as the mailing address, your mail person probably just threw it down the nearest storm drain. Don’t expect a response.

When she refuses to get her tonsils whitewashed, Laura’s also beaten to death by Brando and his aforementioned ornate walking stick. The warden plays it off as Moses beating Laura to death, then attacking him too before he was forced to beat off the lunatic (perfect title for a punk song) in self-defense. As if by clockwork, Laura ends up on the business end of a re-animating (toldja!) and when the warden finds out, he ends up on the business end of Herb’s infamous problems with authority and gets brained, strapped to a table, and milked of his nano-plasm. Howie refuses to let West put rat NPE into Laura, for fear of it turning her into Splinter or something, but he okays her infusion with Warden Brando’s essence since he was human. Well, on a biological level anyway. Despite West’s theory that NPE is neutral, Laura ends up going split personality with the skeezoid using her body as a timeshare like Lily Tomlin hosting Steve Martin’s ghost in All of Me. Wow, I just alienated everyone under 25 reading this right now.

Right around this time the prisoners incite an on-the-fly riot and the whole places breaks out in fires and violence. In the mayhem, Laurden runs off, get cornered by some would-be rapists, and dismembers the whole lot of them like frogs in a blender, because being fused with the soul of a sadistic dickhead turns her into Wolverine somehow?! While she’s making chop suey out of society’s hemorrhoids, Dr. Phil (hyuk hyuk) is running around trying to find her amidst the mayhem. As for Herbicide, he takes the chance to zombitize Brando and see what happens when rat NPE is plugged into a human nervous system. Despite some buck teeth and a tendency to crawl around on his hands and feets, Brando’s basically the same asshole he was before, which makes you wonder how much of someone’s personality is stored in their brain and how much comes from their nano-plasm. West intends to escape with a medical bag packed with syringes full of reagent (am I the only one who thinks it might be a better idea to carry that shit around in bottles or vials?), but Ratso beats his ass and runs off with the grave rave glow sticks to go add to the cacophony of craziness already falling down around everybody’s heads.

After re-animating his most mentally deficient guard (which results in NOTHING but a limp sight gag at the end of the movie), Ratty captures Laurden and informs her of his new plan to use the reagent to make his prisoners unkillable, allowing him to execute them repeatedly and prolong their punishments indefinitely! And she’s going to be his first victim. But first, he wants another shot and getting that blowjob. Now, since half of him now inhabits half of her, would killing her count as suicide? Would raping her count as masturbation? Now there’s some weird shit philosophy to ponder under your meditation tree!

The suck job turns into a castration when Laurden pulls an Efrey Guzman and bites off the rat man’s dangle meat, spitting it out for a re-animated rat to roll away with for the previously promised end credits fisticuffs later on. Back to West, he’s running around trying to find his bag of juice, and crosses paths with a pissed off torso (who he dispatches by lassoing with a noose and swinging around like some zombie wrangling rodeo cowboy) and a junkie named Speedball who shoots up on reagent and winds up painting the walls of his cell Viscera Red when his guts ‘splode out (a la Dr. Hill’s when West did the overload experiment at the end of the first movie). As for Moses, he’s off somewhere tormenting Vanessa the nurse. She fulfills her mandatory titty committee commitment (again, toldja) and the cwazy cannibal pulls a Burial Ground, biting off a mouthful of chest beef for himself. From here, the whole cheap muddled mess just continues to swirl down the crapper as Laurden attacks Howard, begging him to kill her while she tries to eviscerate him, as West turns Roadhouse on us and fights off both Ratso and the wayward torso man in a bigger physical display than Combs has portrayed in all of his other movies roles combined! Well, except Felony. Watching Jeffrey Combs do anything that requires stunt work is weeeeeeird.

Herbie manages to escape into the smoky Arkham evening using the chaos and Howie’s credentials to pass by the arriving cops, leaving Dr. Phillips in the prison to be found by the police who take him away while Laurden’s severed head laughs at him maniacally. As for the rat and the severed penis? During the end credits, the rat and dick get into a knock down, drag out, brawl for it all! By which I mean the shadow of a rat puppet and the shadow of a rubber dick are slapped against each for a few seconds for the sole purpose of having a rat fight a dick. Were you expecting more? Did I get your hopes up? Were you disappointed? Well, welcome to my fucking world, because those were my EXACT feelings following Beyond Re-Animator!

Remember that part in Zeram, where the titular bad-ass space horror tries to spawn a clone minion, and just winds up with a deformed imperfect retard clone of Uncle Fester that Zeram stomps to death out of frustration? That’s how I feel about Beyond Re-Animator: it’s an imperfect attempt at cloning the original Re-Animator that I’d rather stomp to death than keep around reminding me of how it’ll never be as good as the material it was born of. Oh, you don’t know what the fuck Zeram is?! Well, check >>this link<< to the exact scene I’m metaphoring on about. As I was saying, you’ve got West taking on an assistant who doesn’t want to sacrifice his morality in the name of science; you’ve got the assistant’s girlfriend getting in the way, then getting killed and shot full of reagent; you’ve got a re-animated animal attacking its former owner (in this case a rat rather than a cat); you’ve got a manipulative and corrupt superior figure who pervs on the assistant’s pretty blond girlfriend AND intends to steal West’s serum for his own purposes; you’ve got West killing said superior, experimenting on him which results in West getting his ass kicked and his reagent stolen; you’ve got an institution becoming the site of a zombie riot finale; you’ve got incomplete zombie oral sex (only this time reversed); you’ve got a human using the reagent as a stimulant (though that bit wound up getting cut from the original); and you’ve even got guts exploding out of somebody’s torso because of an overdose of reagent! West puts it best: “She’s not getting any fresher.”

And the elements that aren’t basically just re-hashed from the original? Crap. For starters, the writing isn’t great. The dialogue isn’t just poorly delivered, it’s poorly written. The comedy bits aren’t nuanced like they were in the original. They’re incredibly blunt and feel forced. Excessively forced. Like they’re being beaten into us with the warden’s cane after we’ve already been restrained with a straightjacket. The writers Mosesed us, is what I’m saying. Also, the audio’s bad, because despite the whole thing being shot in English, several of the actors had to be dubbed; likely to cover up their heavy-to-the-point-of-unintelligible accents. Half of the audio’s okay, but the re-recorded shit sounds like you’re listening to it with water in your ears. It throws off the whole thing. To add insult to injury, we don’t even get the original Richard Band classic “Psycho rip-off” theme music. We get something way less memorable that just starts us off on the wrong foot. An opening fumble from which the movie never really recovers.

The only real props I can give to Beyond are the heavy use of traditional physical gore in an age where the digital stuff refuses to stop spitting acid into my eyes, and the oddly well paced direction. It made a 95 minute movie feel more like an hour, so it doesn’t feel like it’s overstaying its welcome. Though things do get WAY too busy with fifty different stories leapfrogging all over each other at once, it doesn’t really give you a chance to get bored. Also, though I tend to hate most movies that shoot entirely in a single enclosed location as a money saving tactic, when your movie’s sole setting is a prison (barring the opening and the short trips to Laura’s apartment), it’s an appropriate sense of isolation. Beyond that though (no pun intended), there’s really not much for me to enjoy here. I’m generally too insulted by the lazy photocopy approach of re-using most of the first movie to have a good time.

As a painful bit of irony, for the first time in the series, we actually end on a set up for a sequel, and for the first time in the series, WE WON’T BE GETTING ONE! We were supposed to get a whole new trilogy of Re-Animation back in 2006, starting with the proposed House of Re-Animator. This return-to-awesome would reunite the core of the original, including stars Combs (YAY!) and Abbot (boo!), and the creative force of writer/director Stuart Gordon and his frequent collaborator and co-writer, Dennis Paoli! The script revolved around Dr. West being brought into the White House to work his glowing green juice magic when the President of the USA croaks. A riff on then-Presidente Bush Jr.’s regime, Gordon’s said that they had trouble nailing down financing because investors were uncomfortable with the idea of pissing off the sin-eaters on Capitol Hill. Too bad they’re apparently not still down with the idea of making House, given that Bush’s been flushed down the toilet of history and the time for such a movie’s passed. Which is bullshit, because the government is always ripe for a punch in the neck. Too bad they don’t seem too keen on doing any of the other planned installments of the trilogy, otherwise you’d think they’d be all over Kickstarter getting some fan backing. Shit, legit actor William H. Macy was on board to play the president for House, so don’t tell me his name doesn’t carry some kind of financial influence! Damn it, I blame the failure to make House of Re-Animator happen for Jeffrey Combs being reduced to doing movies like Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation to keep the lights on. Son of a bitch!

Maybe if we, the collective fan community, got together and came up with the budget ourselves, the cast and creative would be willing to shoot it? I’ve never been good at getting people to donate money to anything myself. In my house, when it came time to sell candy bars to pad the school budget, I only made about $15 off of my immediate family and wouldn’t set foot outside of the house to try to unload the rest. I am good at ideas though, so how about this: “Samuel L. Quackson” – a cartoon done in the style of those Disney duck adventures from the ’90s starring an anthropomorphic Anseriformes that wears a leather tranchcoat and eyepatch and goes on adventures. Sam Jackson is probably way too busy to do the actual voice acting, but maybe we can get the guy who voiced Nick Fury in LEGO Marvel Superheroes to fill in. We’ll shop a pilot around, and if it sells, we use the money made from this venture to fund House of Re-Animator!

…or we can just face facts and let the series die at three. Instead of mourning its passing though, let’s celebrate the good times these movies gave us (and my birthday, while we’re at it). Drink a bottle of something that glows in the dark, shoot your veins full of something green (I find old boxes of Ecto-Cooler refreshing), and Re-Animate Your Feet!

Moral of the Story: This. THIS is the only truly memorable thing to crawl from the fallout of Beyond Re-Animator.

Screenshots_____

This shot courtesy of the camera hidden in the trees by the creepy neighbor who was required by law to introduce himself to everyone when he moved in.


If I was ever between my sister’s legs like that… I’m sorry, I can’t complete this caption. I’m too busy vomiting uncontrollably all over my keyboard.


Well, he has the “got milk?” part down, now he just needs to figure out the “got jaw?” thing.


I’d ask him if he has any Grey Poupon… but he looks like he might stab me in the eyes with his keys if I do.


Jeffrey Combs shows us his derp face.


Rusty Griswold (well, one of them) finally grew up.


And so did Bat Boy!


“Damn it, these don’t look ANYTHING like the sea monkeys in the ad from the comic book!”


Some would say he’s being a professional by not looking up her skirt right now. The truth? He’s got a worse foot fetish than Quentin Tarantino.


“No, the movies are NOT considered canon! Peter Cushing is NOT an actual Doctor! What do you not understand about this!?”


If this were a ’60s biker movie, that guy would be the turncoat who sells out the leader of the hero biker gang for a bag of drugs from the evil biker gang.


Somewhere in the world at this very moment, there’s a guy jerking himself into a chaffed fury over this picture while you read this.


A never-before-seen private photo of Courtney Love during her first drug overdose, as seen in her autobiography “What Did I Snort Last Night?!“.


And this picture’s from her 7th overdose.


“Hail Hydra.”


Man, Edward James Olmos has just stopped caring at this point.


Yes, to satisfy your curiosity, there ARE horror groupies who will have sex with Michael Berryman.


Visine: because THIS could happen to you if you try to save a few dollars by buying generic eye drops!


Warning: Taco Bell is not responsible for side effects that may result from customers who eat one of every item from our new breakfast menu in one sitting.


From that day forward, Howard learned to always keep track of his wife’s monthly cycle before initiating oral sex.


Raoul’s obsession with beating the world pull-up record has reached dangerous new levels.


The Kama Sutra always seems like a fun kinky thing for married couples to try out when the want to reignite the cooled flames of their passion, but actually putting the positions into practice is a whole other story…


Sometimes, all you can do is step back, take a look at your life, and laugh… just… just laugh…

Anubis will return next time in
“Everybody’s a Critic”

Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

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