Brian Yuzna  



The king of modern gore and splatter (in my eyes anyways) and a big fan of Lovecraft. His over-the-top gore is very imaginative and creative and he knows that this treatment can't be pulled off without some dark humor and a level of camp. The results are often outrageous and somehow shocking and hilarious at the same time. Often collaborates with the talented horror-director Stuart Gordon and has since moved to Spain where he runs his own movie production company and produces/directs more serious but inferior horror movies.

Recommended

Beyond Re-animator  
13 years later and Dr West is incarcerated in a prison still trying to conduct experiments, this time attempting to capture the essence that makes people into well-behaved humans instead of violent re-animated beasts. An admirer becomes the doctor of the institution who quickly gets Dr West to work with him. Add to the mix a nosy sexy reporter, a psychotic warden, an irate inmate who hates West for killing his mouse, and when things get out of hand, they get very out of hand. More chaotic than its predecessors with humor that doesn't always hit the mark and actors that need help, but the intense character by Combs and the outrageous splatter effects make it all worthwhile again.

Re-animator  
Produced by Yuzna, this classic gore-fest with black humor is deliciously intense and bloody with a dark energy. Based on Lovecraft, it tells the story of Herbert West who invents and develops a serum for bringing dead flesh back to 'life' with violent consequences. The fun starts with a cat and proceeds to people with gorier, more outrageous and blackly humorous, chaotic events. His jealous professor, shocked room-mate and girlfriend complicate matters.

Re-animator 2 (Bride of Re-animator)  
Yuzna takes over and delivers some of the most imaginative gory effects ever made when West tires of the usual life-forms and tries to splice together different body parts and bring them to life. Incredible non-stop gore and very dark humor.

Return of the Living Dead 3  
Only good if not taken as a sequel. A teenager takes his dead girlfriend to his father's military compound where they are experimenting with bringing the dead back to life as weapons. His girl is undamaged and in love which brings a twist to the zombie monster idea. Yuzna takes a more serious turn with this horror-comedy series and blends in Re-animator-like gore and plot development, romantic Romeo and Juliet elements, an Interview with the Vampire-like conscious and guilty monster that tries to control herself from eating her boyfriend, and a borderline personality disorder taken to the extreme where she pierces herself with hundreds of sharp objects to feel something and avoid turning into a monster. A tad on the mediocre side but gruesomely interesting and even touching, and imaginatively gory of course.

Society  
Outrageous dark satire about the chasms between social classes taken to a ridiculous extreme. A teenager discovers that his high society friends and family are not what they seem to be. Features lots of imaginative gore, extreme body contortions during sex, a new type of orgy, and a man that turns himself inside out by shoving his hand into his stomach, grabbing his eye sockets and mouth and pulling real hard.

Of Some Interest

Dentist, The  
Yuzna strikes a nerve and uses our childhood fears of dentists to make a very painful horror and gore movie. A perfectionist dentist nastily obsessed with cleanliness and fighting decay finally snaps one day when he catches his wife cheating on him with the pool man. As painful and gory as this is, Yuzna could have gone even farther with his wild imagination. But as it is, this one is terrifying enough for anyone with teeth and pretty unwatchable despite the black humor. Sub-par gruesome entertainment.

Dentist 2, The  
Dr. Feinstone is back and more demented than ever. After escaping from a mental institution, he moves to a small town to try to start a new life. Before he knows it, he is raising hell with the local dentist and taking over his practice after an accident. Can he control his obsessions and traumas and stop from torturing people on the dentist's chair? Since this is Yuzna, you know the answer. This sequel focuses more on the psychology of the man instead of black gory humor but the stomach-churning torture and gory deaths are still there and grisly as always. As before, contains a great lead performance and wild nasty horror, but still somewhat mediocre. Don't forget to floss.

Faust: Love of the Damned  
Based on a violently twisted comic book, this gory Spawn-clone is Yuzna with renewed energy, chaos and blackly humorous splatter madness. Faust loses his girlfriend to violent thugs and is turned into a violent killing machine by a character from hell called M. Driven by manic direction and a pounding soundtrack, this movie decapitates, slashes, orgies and turns women into a pulsating blob of mammary glands with glee. The fatal flaws are the very inconsistent characters, a bug-eyed inappropriate performance by the lead actor, and a silly rubber costume.

From Beyond  
Despite the same winning team as with Re-Animator, this gory work loosely based on Lovecraft is a mess. A mad scientist with perverse sexual tastes finds a way to tap into the pineal gland, thus opening gateways into the beyond. The creatures from beyond and the evil don't waste time making use of this bi-directional portal however, and somehow take over in a gruesome fashion that is somewhere between Hellraiser and The Thing. Combs' intensely amusing character from Re-Animator is sorely lacking here as he goes insane then starts sucking brains for no good reason while the psychologist lets her gratuitous sexual fantasies loose. Bizarre, twisted, gory, nonsensical entertainment.

Necronomicon  
Three short stories and a wrapper based on Lovecraft stories. Only the wrapper and last story are directed by Yuzna and it shows. The rest of the movie fails thanks to the predictable events and unrealistic characters, making it seem more like a gory cartoon (Creepshow?) or monster movie than an involving horror flick. The last story is very gruesomely surreal and features more Yuzna madness such as graphic dismemberment by a saw-like limb that comes out of a woman's mouth.

Progeny  
A serious turn for Yuzna about the dark subject of alien abduction and insemination. The disturbing plot is brilliant with interesting twists and open-ended resolutions, but Yuzna's directing style and eagerness to show every gory or nude detail (and add a few of his own) detracts from this one, as does the occasionally amateurish acting and somewhat silly aliens. This one could use a remake.

Silent Night, Deadly Night 4  
A sequel in name only (although it does take place on Christmas) showcases Yuzna and Screaming Mad George at their lazy worst but even this is mildly entertaining in a surreal way. A wannabe reporter investigates into a strange death of a woman who spontaneously combusted and fell to her death. She falls into the clutches of a feminist, Rosemary's Baby-like witches brood that drug and force her into joining them. Soon, large bugs invade her home and mind, strange huge worms appear, a creepy violent man stalks her, and her hands contort into jelly (huh?). Will the poor evil witch get her missing daughter Lilith back and sacrifice more males to her cause? Features very little splatter and more bizarre special effects.

Worthless

Beneath Still Waters  
Another serious but weak horror movie from Yuzna's horor-movie making machine, this one sometimes feeling inspired by Dagon, with its serious approach to horror, minimal but strong gore, local town characters and Lovecraftian evil. An underwater ghost town harbors an evil man with dark powers, the water starts killing off people and belching out ghastly ghosts, a journalist and some locals investigate. Some potentially great elements, especially the underwater scenes and gruesome killings, but this movie is flooded with b-movie cliches, bad acting and strong accents. I don't get it: If Yuzna is working in Spain, why can't he hire the best local actors and let them speak in Spanish?

Rottweiler  
Even amongst Yuzna's bad movies one could depend upon some creative horror and entertaining gore. But such is not the case with this terrible mess of a movie. A man escapes from a prison in the future, followed by a bounty hunter with a cyborg dog which is half dog, half metal, half Terminator, half bad special effects, all evil. He inexplicably escapes from the dog 500 times, gets raped by an ex-whore housewife at gunpoint (huh?), and has to do deal with some nonsensical plot about a violent game. Potentially interesting characters and situations appear then disappear without a trace, the splatter is barely there and is boring, and the dialog is absolutely horrendous.




2000- by Zev Toledano Table of Contents