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Re-Animator

Anchor Bay Entertainment
Movie B
Special Features A-
DVD Geek Factor 7.5 (out of 10)

The golden age of hard-core gore cinema began in 1981 with The Evil Dead. I'm not talking about slasher flicks here; I'm talking about the films where rib cages exploded, and entrails splattered screaming women. Re-Animator came out in 1985 and took the genre to all-new sick levels with its infamous head-giving-head scene.

The film hasn't aged as well as some of the other films in the genre, but it's still a blast for those who like this sort of thing. David Gale makes for a great villain. When his cocky brain surgeon is decapitated with a shovel, it gets "re-animated" and carried around by its regenerated, headless body. It's sick stuff, handled rather well by first-time director Stuart Gordon.

The acting is not the best, and the score is stolen from Psycho, but it's all OK, because it is so over the top. The film actually won a critic's award at the Cannes Film Festival, and big writers like Roger Ebert gave it rave reviews. But it was released unrated and was far from a box-office smash. Of course, it found its home on video.

The golden age of hard-core gore cinema ended with Peter Jackson's Dead Alive in 1992, a film that couldn't possibly be topped on the disgusting scale. There have been a couple of Re-Animator sequels over the years, and the series doesn't appear ready to die anytime soon. Stuart Gordon has announced intentions for new Re-Animator movies, starting with House of Re-Animator in 2008. (William H. Macy has actually been cast in the film.) Apparently, Gordon thinks he can top himself.

Special Features: A two-disc set features a 70-minute documentary that does a nice job examining the movie, including deleted scenes and explanations for the groundbreaking gore. Some extra interviews, a deleted scene featuring Barbara Crampton naked, a Gordon commentary and extended scenes are also included. If you are a rabid collector, this edition includes your very own Re-Animator highlighter.


Bosom Buddies: The First Season

Paramount Home Video
Show B+
Special Features None
DVD Geek Factor 7 (out of 10)

This goofy show from the '80s left me convinced that Tom Hanks would someday rule the entertainment world. Here was a guy so charismatic that he made a poorly scripted show not only decent, but a must-see.

In what was sort of a riff on Some Like It Hot, Hanks played Kip, a low-paid advertising executive looking for a cheap apartment. He and his roommate, Henry (Peter Scolari), choose to don dresses and reside in a women-only hotel; Kip's female alter ego is named Buffy, while Henry's is Hildegarde. The two make for one of the great sitcom duos, sometimes having free reign to improvise, making the bad writing somewhat more tolerable.

The show had a decent ensemble cast, including the late Wendie Jo Sperber as Amy. Her character arc was that of a woman madly in love with Henry, but she made the character far from pathetic. It's sad that she is no longer around.

The show lasted two seasons (hitting its stride during season two), and then Hanks disappeared for a couple of years. My brother and I, huge fans, did spot him in a guest spot on Happy Days. He showed up as the crazy uncle on Family Ties, and he did that TV movie about the dude obsessed with Dungeons and Dragons. Then Splash happened, and his career started to really take off. But it all started for him in a dress, hanging around the beautiful Donna Dixon, in this vastly underappreciated show.

Special Features: Nothing. It's worth noting that each show used to start with Billy Joel's "My Life," but on the DVD, each episode starts with a vocal version of the goofy song that used to play over the closing credits. This kind of sucks.


Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

20th Century Fox
Movie A-
Special Features D+
DVD Geek Factor 6.5 (out of 10)

Lots of folks are saying this one isn't as fun upon a second viewing. I actually enjoyed it a little more when I sat down to watch the DVD. I was in a rather poor state of mind when I saw it in theaters. I enjoyed it, but I was rather haggard at the time. Sacha Baron Cohen deserved all the accolades, and probably some of the trouble, that this film earned. His performance is one of last year's best, and the character can be further enjoyed by picking up the Da Ali G Show on DVD.

Special Features: The deleted scenes are great, especially one involving Borat trying to adopt a puppy. Unfortunately, this feels like a rush job. Rumor has it that there are hours of footage that didn't make the cut, including moments where people wrecked scenes by recognizing Cohen. None of that makes it onto the DVD, which is surprisingly sparse on features. A Borat commentary would've been fun, but it didn't happen.

More by Bob Grimm

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