House of Re-Animator (Stuart Gordon, 2008)

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DrewReiber
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#1 Post by DrewReiber » Wed Dec 27, 2006 8:23 pm

BRIAN YUZNA INTERVIEW

Eaten Alive

Bryan Yuzna drops details on the next Re-Animator trilogy, including titles and summaries (*spoliers* abound). I have to admit that I presumed his earlier comments about using House of Re-Animator to start a new trilogy was just made up, producer PR... but Re-Animator Unbound! sounds extremely interesting and ambitious. Re-Animator Begins sounds pretty pretentious and pointless, but if he even gets that far I'll definitely give it a chance.

House of Re-Animator is supposed to star Jefferey Combs (Herbert West), Bruce Abbott (Dan Cain), William H. Macy (The President), George Wendt (The Vice-President) and Barbara Crampton (Mrs. President). Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator, Edmond) will be directing from a script he wrote with Dennis Paoli. He's been developing the idea for years now, but only just recently got Macy and Yuzna committed. Hopefully they'll get it funded and he can start production sometime next year, as soon as he's done with his latest film Stuck.

PsychoAU
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#2 Post by PsychoAU » Wed Jan 03, 2007 10:52 am

I have only ever seen the first Re-Animator, but is there enough to the story to be able to make quality sequels? Or will this end up being "Hellraiser 12: Pinhead Breaks His Hip" or something... :)

DrewReiber
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#3 Post by DrewReiber » Thu Jan 04, 2007 4:09 am

PsychoAU wrote:I have only ever seen the first Re-Animator, but is there enough to the story to be able to make quality sequels?
That's a very good question that I believe Yuzna is trying to answer with this attempt to revitalize the series.

To be fair, the Re-Animator franchise never dropped to the pits of Hell like the Weinstein-produced fare such as the Halloween or Hellraiser films. If anything, Re-Animator continued to stick to it's unique qualities such as humor, morally ambivalent characters and absurd effects. I believe Jeffrey Combs' performance as Dr. Herbert West might even be enough to sustain any film on it's own merit. However, it's clear that the departure of Stuart Gordon and Dennis Paoli was responsible for the ensuing imbalances in both tone and execution in the sequels.

In terms of the printed Lovecraft story, the filmmakers were picky enough in the original, loose adaptation to leave remaining material for the sequel. However, as their intentions were clearly to repeat many of the highlights in the first film, they needed some kind of twist to validate its existence. While "Bride of Re-Animator" borrowed the concept of a female frankstein monster, it also ported over the cause of said construction due to the questionable relationship, and perhaps sexual tension, between the two main scientists.

By respecting the core essence of both the original "Bride of Frankenstein" and "Re-Animator", I believe that helped "Bride of Re-Animator" rise above that of a straight parody and push the bond between West and Dan Cain to a familiar, yet logical breaking point. They weren't simply carbon copies of Dr. Frankenstein and Dr. Pretorius, but fleshed out characters whose natural inclinations led them to a similar conclusion. Though the end result of the film was a mixed bag of amateurish direction (Yuzna had taken the reigns) and cliched writing (the girlfriend, yikes), the sequel somehow managed to retain its dignity.

Thirteen years later and Yuzna attempted this kind of blend again, in "From Beyond", by (unfortunately) preying upon his and Gordon's own body of work via "From Beyond". Though his skill set and tone were improved, I think it was clear he trying to find contrivances to explain and replace the all-too-important Dan Cain. The film was more entertaining and funny, but it lacked the originality and character dynamic found in both the original classic and it's uneven sequel. Jeffrey Combs' performance was fantastic as usual, but now the series seemed to be far too reliant on his delivery to make up for the lacking bits.

To reiterate, I do enjoy and own all three movies, but the latter two have their problems. If anything, I am amazed that 3 films produced over 18 years have managed to keep some level of self-respect. However, with that said, I felt that "Beyond" was evidence that Yuzna was biding his time until he could come up with something better for the character to do. It felt more like a bridge to something else, which I quickly learned was precisely his intent.

Apparently Stuart Gordon had been pitching "House" for a while, but Yuzna was very concerned as to the problems such a project might create. He wanted to put it off for the time being, which may have ultimately worked out in his favor. Remember... when the idea was first presented to him, 9/11 had just occurred and attacking George Bush was not the most commercial or safe idea around. I am not defending Yuzna so much as acknowledging what his concerns at the time must have amounted to. Fastforward to 5 years later and the political environment has become far safer for presidential criticism and jest.

So yes, Yuzna was apparently running out of ideas, but at least he had the sense to buy himself some time to figure out who might be best suited to offer new ones. Bringing back the original cast and crew for "House" not only serves to re-energize the franchise, but this course layout Yuzna has provided gives me an added confidene that he (or they) have worked out enough story to validate a few more sequels. Now I'll admit that "Re-Animator Begins" sounds extremely contrived, but if they're some how able to pull off both "House" and "Unbound!", then I think its more than fair to offer him a line of credit on one final entry.
Or will this end up being "Hellraiser 12: Pinhead Breaks His Hip" or something... :)
In my personal opinion? Not as long as the creative teams behind franchises like Re-Animator are somewhat consistent and the features are independently produced. The Weinsteins are the last people I would see as staunch supporters of creativity and true genre diversity. Rotating mercenary-like shooters on horror series to continue producing assembly-line, direct-to-video product is not something I would want to compare to the likes of Gordon or Yuzna (though Fantastic Factory started scaring me). Even ridiculous misfires like Robot Jox have charmingly misguided elements I find worth checking out. And I would definitely be more likely to drop $15-$20 on one of their weaker films than $5 renting another entry in the infinite abyss of crap that the Weinsteins produce (Halloween, Hellraiser, Mimic, etc.).

PsychoAU
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#4 Post by PsychoAU » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:29 am

I agree. The Weinsteins have always been able to spot a gem in little independent dramas, but they never quite hit the mark when it came to Dimension and their horror franchises. Then again, Halloween, for example, hasn't been aiming very high for the last 25 years (*cough* Busta Rhymes). And I guess whenever Doug Bradley needs a paycheck he just calls Harvey and Bob. It got so bad with Hellraiser that they were filming 2 or 3 sequels at the same time and releasing them a couple of months apart. There are only so many times I want to hear Doug Bradley say "I will tear your soul apart", and I reached my fill with Hellraiser III.

But back to the topic, I really enjoyed the original Re-Animator. And I had always assumed that the sequels were just for Combs to cash in (similar to what happened with the Phantasm series). I guess if the creators actually put thought into this, the sequels could be decent. I may have to check out the other two existing ones.
Last edited by PsychoAU on Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Fletch F. Fletch
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#5 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:31 am

I would say I'm cautiously optimistic for House... If they can get Gordon, Combs and screenwriter of the original Re-Animator Dennis Paoli back on board, then I'm there.

DrewReiber
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#6 Post by DrewReiber » Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:59 pm

Hey, Fletch, what were your thoughts on the two sequels? And have you seen Dagon, Edmond or Dreams in the Witch-House yet?

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#7 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:59 am

I thought that the first Re-Animator sequel was pretty good but the last one left me cold. It felt like everyone was sort of going through the motions. That being said, I really dug Dagon -- loved it, actually. The look and atmosphere of that small coastal village was excellent and the reveal of the ancient evil sect lurking within it was very well done. I also really enjoyed "Dreams in the Witch-House" which I thought was the best Masters of Horror episode of the first season (altho, "Homecoming" is a very close second). I haven't seen Edmond yet.

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#8 Post by DrewReiber » Fri Jan 05, 2007 6:58 pm

Fletch F. Fletch wrote:I really dug Dagon -- loved it, actually. The look and atmosphere of that small coastal village was excellent and the reveal of the ancient evil sect lurking within it was very well done.
I also loved Dagon. The movie proved to me that Gordon and Yuzna are still a classic combination, providing yet another reason for my anticipation of House.
I also really enjoyed "Dreams in the Witch-House" which I thought was the best Masters of Horror episode of the first season (altho, "Homecoming" is a very close second).
Larry Cohen's "Pick Me Up" was probably my favorite, with "Homecoming" second and "Dreams in the Witch-House" third. "Homecoming" had a lot of problems, though, and I would say "Witch-House" probably had the most consistent quality of the three. Gordon's next entry, an adaptation of "The Black Cat" with Combs as Edgar Allen Poe, is due out sometime this month, I think.

I still wish it was possible to see Gordon's original, 1988 production of "Witch-House" (from the unreleased "Pulse Pounders") back from his days at Empire Pictures. The cast was Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, David Warner and David Gale (as the rat). Apparently the film footage was abandoned when Charles Band ran out of money and was forced to walk away from the places that still had the materials (processing house?). Would have been neat to see, but I'm sure someone would have discovered it by now if it still existed.

I haven't seen Edmond yet.

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#9 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:21 am

DrewReiber wrote:I also loved Dagon. The movie proved to me that Gordon and Yuzna are still a classic combination, providing yet another reason for my anticipation of House.
Too true. And Dagon is just so head and shoulders above all of this gore porn stuff like Saw and Hostel. Those films bore me. No imagination or creativity at all. Gordon's films have plenty of gore but there is also something else going on that makes them interesting to watch and thought-provoking.
Larry Cohen's "Pick Me Up" was probably my favorite, with "Homecoming" second and "Dreams in the Witch-House" third. "Homecoming" had a lot of problems, though, and I would say "Witch-House" probably had the most consistent quality of the three. Gordon's next entry, an adaptation of "The Black Cat" with Combs as Edgar Allen Poe, is due out sometime this month, I think.
Ooh, yeah, I am really looking forward to "The Black Cat." I really dug "Homecoming" mostly for its aggressive political stance. Didja happen to catch John Carpenter's segment for this season? I thought it was excellent.
I still wish it was possible to see Gordon's original, 1988 production of "Witch-House" (from the unreleased "Pulse Pounders") back from his days at Empire Pictures. The cast was Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, David Warner and David Gale (as the rat). Apparently the film footage was abandoned when Charles Band ran out of money and was forced to walk away from the places that still had the materials (processing house?). Would have been neat to see, but I'm sure someone would have discovered it by now if it still existed.
Wow, I never heard of this project! I would love to see that. But you never know, it might still exist in some vault or warehouse somewhere just waiting to be discovered.

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#10 Post by ranaing83 » Mon Jan 08, 2007 4:48 pm

Fans of Re-Animator and Stuart Gordon don't get your hopes up too soon. AICN is reporting that the movie will be shelved (at least temporarily). Jefferey Combs stated that due to the shift of political power to the democrats, the movie, which was to skewer the Bush presidency, will no longer be relevant. Thus, the filmmakers have decided to stall their plans for the film.

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#11 Post by DrewReiber » Sat Jan 13, 2007 3:44 pm

Sorry, guys. It's been the first week of my last semester in college and I've been pretty distracted. Anyway, onto the discussion...
Fletch F. Fletch wrote:Too true. And Dagon is just so head and shoulders above all of this gore porn stuff like Saw and Hostel. Those films bore me. No imagination or creativity at all. Gordon's films have plenty of gore but there is also something else going on that makes them interesting to watch and thought-provoking.
I have to disagree about Hostel. It's one of the few horror films last year that I felt held any important, topical social-political criticism. The marketing and surface looks like a "torture porn" product, but Roth is still drawing heavily on his themes of cultural extremes clashing against each other over greed, exploitation and xenophobia (on both sides). After he clearly echoed The Wicker Man, I went back to Cabin Fever and discovered I was probably too harsh when I initially revisited it and had labeled it as empty. Yes, it was extremely derivative in it's approach and style, but Roth has since basically apologize for this and grown up (a little, at least) in that he is now trying to define his own. Otherwise, both his features have a surprising amount of honest confrontation over cultureal misconceptions, stereotypes, fears and illusions of superiority.

I was very much with Hostel and I only checked out toward the end, when his condemnation of the lead characters became confused with an obviously after-the-fact addition of that pointless, eye-for-an-eye showdown at the train station. I was sitting there dumbfounded as to why he would spend so much time judging and punishing his central figures, as he had with Cabin Fever, only to give such a questionable character a way out. I was convinced there had been some last minute tinkering with the ending, and sure enough, it turned out the original ending did not leave the "hero" off the hook.

Instead, it left him horribly damaged and on a potentially never-ending cycle of violence towards anyone, as that was pretty much the point of the entire film. The exploitation of others had no end and the violence and abuse would only continue to feed people until they became even more horrible monsters. However, the preview audiences were unable to cope with this and Lionsgate/Sony Screen Gems were able to coax a new, happier ending out of Roth that completely defeated the film's message.

I calmed down in my criticism of the resolution when Roth mentioned that the ending would find its way back into the film for home video, but then the film was a mega-hit and he quickly stopped talking about it. Upon release of the DVD, the original ending was nowhere to be seen and Roth announced that the sequel would pick up from the exact point that we left Jay Hernandez in the original. I was hoping this was a sign that he would take that kernal of an idea and do something appropriate with it, but that remains to be seen. He does seem pretty determined to continue Hernandez' descent into madness and self-destruction as the B-plot, but it also sounds like Roth will spend most of the film recycling the original story (but with girls) as the A-plot.

I have no idea if he's actually going to follow through and repair the damage left from the confused and immature theatrical ending to Hostel, but I feel he is a lot smarter than people give him credit for and will give the sequel a chance to go where it needs to. If he ultimately disappoints me, I may have to write off both films as casualties of commercial pandering and success. Meanwhile, I'm going to keep an open mind. Despite the problematic resolution, Hostel managed to piss off a lot of the gorehounds that the film was criticizing. As many of them put it, he didn't make the sex and torture as much fun as they thought they deserved and left many of them confused and angry. As a college student, I unfortunately happen to know some of these sick American tourist types who were pretty much the same as the main characters. The film seemed to hurt them enough internally that they don't even know why the movie makes them go into insecure rages. It even forced one of these people I know to admit his behavior in Amsterdam while simultaneously trying to justify his behavior. That's utterly fascinating!

Anyway, I wouldn't write off Hostel or El Roth so quickly if I were you. You may even want to reapproach his older material. In all my readings or discussions with people about it, most seem to have an extremely selective memory as to what was actually present in the films themselves. Chalking that up to PC sensitivities, ignorant bloodlust or just plain bordem, I rarely meet anyone who went into the film looking at it as anything other than just another attempt at pleasing the Saw crowd. I think I've only seen one review since the film debuted that even addressed the relevance of having a mirror American character paying to be able to kill secretly kill people for kicks. A panderingly conservative and xenophobic film indeed. :roll:
I really dug "Homecoming" mostly for its aggressive political stance. Didja happen to catch John Carpenter's segment for this season? I thought it was excellent.
Not yet. A number of people warned me not to. The reviews had been far less forgiving of Cigarette Burns, a film which had seriously offended me in how derivative it was. I think it had one inspired moment, and that was the burn at the halfway point during that godawful scene lifted wholesale from "8mm". I became really worried about "Pro-Life" when someone I knew in L.A. told me that Carpenter was already complaining about how bad it was and that he hated it. Then another friend of mine said he couldn't even find anything that defined it as a work of Carpenter's, though that sounded like an exaggeration. I tried to remain optimistic, but then I saw a clip from it and gave up. What do you recommend about it? An excuse to check it out would be pretty useful at this point.

Oh yeah, I finally got around to getting a copy of Dark Star. It's the only theatrically released Carpenter film I've never seen! It looks fascinating too! I'll probably watch it soon.
But you never know, it might still exist in some vault or warehouse somewhere just waiting to be discovered.
I don't know. The story about it's destruction, from Gordon, sounded pretty final.
ranaing83 wrote:Fans of Re-Animator and Stuart Gordon don't get your hopes up too soon. AICN is reporting that the movie will be shelved (at least temporarily). Jefferey Combs stated that due to the shift of political power to the democrats, the movie, which was to skewer the Bush presidency, will no longer be relevant. Thus, the filmmakers have decided to stall their plans for the film.
AICN made up half the context of that story and the rest came from a lot of confusion stemming from both Combs and Yuzna. Combs has an understandably pessimistic attitude towards the production since the producer, and Gordon, have been talking about "House" since before they completed "Beyond Re-Animator". Every word from Yuzna and Gordon of late has emphasized that they are trying to make the film, but there are still financing and timing issues.

Gordon is still in post-production on "Stuck" and Yuzna is trying to get a larger budget than they usually need. Yuzna's stated problems with the dated storyline of "House" has nothing to do with the Democrats taking Congress, as AICN randomly speculated, but moreso with his already stated concerns that the film might not see release *before* Bush is out of office. He has addressed this, though, mentioning that Gordon could potentially rewrite it. Anyway, Combs' comments on the film being "asleep" have already been contradicted by the same place that reported it in the first place. Here.

I think this is a classic case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing.

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Fletch F. Fletch
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#12 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:53 am

DrewReiber wrote:I have to disagree about Hostel. It's one of the few horror films last year that I felt held any important, topical social-political criticism.
Hmm... Well, after that rather passionate defence of the film perhaps I need to give it another chance. I did go back and watch the first Saw and it wasn't nearly as empty or bad as I had first thought.
reviews had been far less forgiving of Cigarette Burns, a film which had seriously offended me in how derivative it was. I think it had one inspired moment, and that was the burn at the halfway point during that godawful scene lifted wholesale from "8mm". I became really worried about "Pro-Life" when someone I knew in L.A. told me that Carpenter was already complaining about how bad it was and that he hated it. Then another friend of mine said he couldn't even find anything that defined it as a work of Carpenter's, though that sounded like an exaggeration. I tried to remain optimistic, but then I saw a clip from it and gave up. What do you recommend about it? An excuse to check it out would be pretty useful at this point.
Yeah, "Cigarette Burns" did not wow me either. I dunno, I thought that "Pro-Life" was a pretty scathing and brutal indictment of pro-lifer zealots who believe that they are saving lives by taking lives. You've got Ron Perlman playing a pretty fearsome father who goes after his daughter who is hiding out in a clinic. At first, it looks like its going to play out like an Assault on Precinct 13 siege film but then once the girl gives birth things go from bad to worse as her unearthly spawn decides to go toe to toe with Perlman. I thought it was the most visceral piece of filmmaking Carpenter's done in a long, long time. It actually felt like he was passionate about something instead of going through the motions as I felt he has been in last few projects. I was pleasantly surprised at how well done it was.
Oh yeah, I finally got around to getting a copy of Dark Star. It's the only theatrically released Carpenter film I've never seen! It looks fascinating too! I'll probably watch it soon.
Hippies in outer space! Let me know what ya think.

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#13 Post by DrewReiber » Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:35 pm

Fletch F. Fletch wrote:I did go back and watch the first Saw and it wasn't nearly as empty or bad as I had first thought.
Really? Well, I haven't had the guts to watch that yet as my first impression was that I would be disgusting by its approach. It also didn't help that most of my friends tore it apart, with the only ones who enjoyed it saying it was so bad it was good (Cary Elwes, especially). Then again, I never saw it so I can't really say, but the sequels definitely seem to fit that catagory we've been describing as mostly "torture porn".
I was pleasantly surprised at how well done it was.

Well, then I'll get around to giving it a shot. Overall, Joe Dante's "The Screwfly Solution" appears to be the only episode to receive a mostly positive response this season. Since it's becoming harder and harder to procure talent and the quality of the show is clearly wavering, I'm beginning to doubt they'll make it to season 3. Garrick keeps mentioning how he's approaching many more filmmakers, but they all have feature work so their inclusion seems very unlikely. In case you were curious, here's a list of the other directors he's approached since starting the project who either turned him down or have yet to find time in their schedule:

Alexandre Aja, Roger Corman, Wes Craven, Frank Darabont, Neil Marshall, Hideo Nakata, Sam Raimi, Robert Rodriguez, George Romero, Eli Roth, Takashi Shimizu, Bryan Singer, Tim Sullivan, Guillermo Del Toro, and Rob Zombie.
Hippies in outer space! Let me know what ya think.
I will. Btw, I just saw Andrew Leman's short feature version of "The Call of Cthulhu" and I thought it was pretty good. You should really check it out if you haven't seen it yet.

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#14 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Tue Jan 16, 2007 5:13 pm

DrewReiber wrote:Well, then I'll get around to giving it a shot. Overall, Joe Dante's "The Screwfly Solution" appears to be the only episode to receive a mostly positive response this season. Since it's becoming harder and harder to procure talent and the quality of the show is clearly wavering, I'm beginning to doubt they'll make it to season 3.
I agree. This latest season has left me very underwhelmed.
Btw, I just saw Andrew Leman's short feature version of "The Call of Cthulhu" and I thought it was pretty good. You should really check it out if you haven't seen it yet.
I have and loved it. Just goes to show what you can do with very little money, some ingenuity and sincere love for your subject matter. I thought it was great how they shot it as if it was done back in the day when Lovecraft would have been alive. The soundtrack was particularly excellent.

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#15 Post by DrewReiber » Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:38 pm

Re-Animator :: Exclusive: Re-Animator Comes to Masters?
apparently since there is such an issue with funding and because the script is a parody of the Bush administration, there is some talk of making House of Re-Animator Stuart's next Masters of Horror episode.
Well, if they can pull it off than it's better than nothing. I wonder if they're going to be able to keep the entire cast they had in mind, especially William H. Macy. Man, I hope, I hope, I hope...

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