Back from the Dead (1997)
By: CJ on October 5, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Dragon Film Entertainment (Germany). Region 2 PAL. 4:3. English DD 2.0. German, English Subtitles. 88 minutes
The Movie
Director: Craig Godfrey
Starring: Tim Aris, Genevieve Morris, John Xintavelonis, Josephine Lee, Chris Baz, Graham Richards
Screenplay: Craig Godfrey
Music: Tony Francis
Country: Australia
Utilising the the thinnest of plots, Back from the Dead concerns a man called Corbet (Tim Aris) who is a guinea pig for an experiment into regression under the watchful eye of his girlfriend (Genevieve Morris) and a professor (John Xintavelonis). But this is regression with a difference, as it deals not with re-incarnation, but with travelling down his ancestral blood-line. As he travels his time-line he unfortunately chances upon the memories and experiences of a certain Kavendish, a criminally insane madman. As the therapy progresses Corbet finds himself transforming into this maniacal Kavendish. When the possession is complete, Corbet/Kavendish begins to cut a bloody trail by gorily murdering Ruby's mother (Josephine Lee). When Ruby realises what's happening (and after discovering her dead mother), she flees Corbet/Kavendish, but he follows in hot pursuit. A car chase ensues, which ends in a crash and Ruby is finally able to gruesomely finish off Corbet/Kavendish by smashing a license plate into his skull.

During its 88 minutes running time this insane film takes in cannibalism, a tapeworm(!), brain-eating, dismemberment, a séance, a car chase, a stabbing contest, a ghost and hypnosis! I don't think there's anything that this film fails to cover! Now this all may sound very interesting and there's certainly plenty of blood 'n' guts on display to keep the most ardent gorehound happy, but it is ultimately a failed attempt at comedy-horror in the vein of Peter Jackson. Sadly, I left the film feeling very dissatisfied.

It's obviously no- to low-budget and looks to be shot straight onto video, but that's no excuse. If you look at the likes of Combat Shock (aka American Nightmare) or Bad Taste you'll find fine examples of low-budget horror and why Back from the Dead fails to hit the mark. I hate to knock what was obviously a valiant effort by all involved, but I'm sorry guys, a bad film is a bad film whichever way you cut it. Sure, it's gory to the max, but you need more than that to involve the audience. However, if it's an inane gore-fest with Troma sensibilities that you're looking for, then this is definitely for you! Just don't expect a masterpiece of horror cinema.
Considering the source material was obviously shot-on-video, Dragon have done wonders in presenting this film on DVD. The image is sharp and is free from any major defects or noticeable artifacting. The movie is presented full-frame, but my guess is that this is the correct ratio.
Original mono soundtrack only and doesn't seem to have been re-mastered to the same quality like the picture and has quite noticeable background hiss. Serviceable, but far from perfect.
Extra Features
There is a complete lack of extras here. It would have been nice to have known something about the background and history behind this film. Disappointing.
The Verdict
It's certainly an oddity, but not one that I would recommend you go out of your way to seek out. But if you do, be warned, the humour is in the worst possible taste which some of you sensitive types may find offensive. I just couldn't warm to this film at all, and I'm usually quite entertained by stuff that is in a Troma vein. This just didn't cut it for me, though, unfortunately.
Movie Score
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