Monday, February 5, 2018

THE RESURRECTED (1991) Blu-ray review

The Resurrected (1991) d. Dan O'Bannon (USA)

Private investigator John March (John Terry) is hired by the mysterious and beautiful Claire (Jane Sibbert) to uncover what her wealthy scientist husband (Chris Sarandon) is up to with his strange experiments concerning reanimation and immortality. Widely acknowledged as one of the more faithful H.P. Lovecraft adaptations, this retelling of “The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward” (also the source material for the Vincent Price vehicle The Haunted Palace) balances an urbane “modern noir” sensibility, slippery and slimy practical effects that recall Empire-era Charles Band, and the author’s famous sense of the uncanny with predictably uneven results.

Despite (or due to) intentions of fidelity to Lovecraft, O’Bannon’s heightened sensibilities are never really allowed to take flight – there is the sense that he is seeking to recreate the manic feel of Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator or his own Return of the Living Dead, but found himself reined in by a cramped shooting schedule and/or budget. He also doesn’t seem to have a handle on how to use his cast – professional hambone Sarandon feels particularly shackled – and Terry and Sibbert simply lack the charisma and charm for viewers to emotionally invest. It's fun by fits and starts, but a bit of a slog during the chatty bits.

Shout! Factory has lavished an appreciable amount of care in their high-def release, with bountiful featurette interviews with Sibbert, Sarandon, Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi, screenwriter Brent Friedman (Ticks), composer Richard Band, production designer Brent Thomas, and effects man Todd Masters, all of whom recall the experience as challenging but worthwhile, with consistently kind words to say for the late O’Bannon (who was painfully suffering from symptoms of Crohn’s Disease at this point in his life and career).

There’s also a fine and informative audio commentary track featuring Masters, Friedman, producers Kenneth Raich and Mark Borde, and Richard Romanus (who plays Terry’s sleuthing assistant, but most viewers will remember him as the deflowering douchebag from Fast Times at Ridgemont High). The flick looks fantastic, thanks to the high quality 2K transfer from the interpositive (fairly standard for S!F issues nowadays), with the gore and slime glistening brighter than ever before, and the package is wrapped up with deleted and extended scenes, photo gallery, and several trailers.

The Resurrected is available now on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory and can be ordered HERE:


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