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Re-Animator on Blu-Ray

posted Jan 25, 2013, 11:25 PM by Vu Nguyen   [ updated Jan 25, 2013, 11:41 PM ]

RE-ANIMATOR (1985) - September 4, 2012
Image Entertainment

RE-ANIMATOR (1985) (Millennium Edition)
May 7, 2002
Elite Entertainment

RE-ANIMATOR (1985) (Highlighter)
March 20, 2007
Anchor Bay Entertainment

July 24, 2007
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Good deal: Re-Animator on Blu-Ray for $10 on Amazon and Best Buy. I am assuming the Best Buy price will be until Sunday, so you have a few days to make it down to a store.

I don't have the subsequent releases for RE-ANIMATOR from Anchor Bay Entertainment, but from looking at all the special features (particularly the two audio commentary tracks of the casts and Stuart Gordon), it look to me like all the source is from the Millennium Edition of RE-ANIMATOR.
The problem with the new Blu-Ray transfer from Image Entertainment is probably with the source material that they had to work with. Sure, they can spend the money to rescan frame-per-frame from the original film, but for a nearly 30 year old film, there's probably not a huge interest in it.  The BD still looks better than the DVD, but not that insane compared to more modern films where the source was shot in HD.

What's funny is that I remember reading an old interview with the Elite people who were bringing RE-ANIMATOR on DVD in 2001. They were watching VHS copies of the film on auction sites going for hundreds of dollars.  That's actually not a stretch, considering that some VHS tapes were exclusively sold to rental stores and the prices were usually $75 per cassette.

Re-watching the film on Blu-Ray (and then DVD for comparison), it did make me more excited to get my hands on FROM BEYOND (1986) on Blu-Ray in late March. Looking over the prices, it will cost around $10 or $15, which is great price - considering that DVDs were selling at $20-$30 when they were first introduced. The movie industry is doing the right thing of making films affordable. I think the main reason why people pirate is that they just can't afford to spend $20 for a movie they might not even like.  For $5, they can afford to throw down and take chances.  The other reason why people pirate is some films aren't available on DVD or Blu-Ray.  So my solution: make available movies in the highest quality for affordable prices. We want HD (at least I do), I'm willing to upgrade... unfortunately a lot of the Blu-Ray transfers are basically taken from DVD, so they don't really look that spectacular. 

Case in point: Fox's Blu-Ray are terrible. But they are cheap - I saw X-MEN 2 (X2) for $6 at Best Buy, but I'm not going to pick it up, simply because the DVD I already own looks just fine.  One of the best looking transfer I've ever seen is from BCI's OPIUM AND THE KUNG FU MASTER (1984), the night shots are amazing. 

Anyway, as for RE-ANIMATOR, the movie is still really good. If you've never seen it, they took six HP Lovecraft's "Herbert West–Reanimator" stories and threw them all into this movie. Originally they were quite faithful and wanted to do a six-part television serial... but because they couldn't find a network to pick it up, they decided to make it a full feature.  Also, originally, they wanted to save some material for a sequel, but at the time, they didn't know if the movie was going to be a success.  The movie spawn two sequels - BRIDE OF THE RE-ANIMATOR (1990) and BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR (2003).  I have seen both (own the latter) and they are not as gorey or filled with nudity/sex than the original. Personally, I think they should have tried and top the original - much like how comical EVIL DEAD 2 was to its original.

I wish Image had a 'deluxe edition' or had some kind of stand-out feature (perhaps a glowing green Blu-Ray case?), this is just a standard Blu-Ray one disc case.

Would I recommend spending $10 to upgrade to Blu-Ray? Sure, for the cost of an HP black ink cartridge, it's totally worth it. Pictures are brighter and sharper - but not amazing compared to other HD remasters, but you can't complain because of the budget price. If you don't already own the picture, then definitely get it on Blu-Ray.

I have screen capture the DVD and BD for comparison - check it out, the image is cleaner on the Blu-Ray.  Colors aren't as muddy, and things like the eyes and beaker lines are sharp.


PS I believe there is a new documentary (I haven't seen it before) on the Blu-Ray called "Re-Animator Resurrectus", which ran about 30 minutes (or longer? It seemed really long). All special features are in 480i (main feature is in 1080p). Audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.