In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Friday, March 15, 2024


The next VHS on the pile was Brian Thomas Jones' 1988 flick The Rejuvenator. This was a movie I'm kind of shocked I never got to because the coverbox was omnipresent during my youth. Let's see what I missed out on...

A doctor (John MacKay) looking to reverse the aging process finds a willing test subject in wealthy over-the-hill actress Elizabeth Warren (Vivian Lanko, not the US Senator). As you would expect, things go awry.

With experimental treatments really hitting the public eye in the eighties there were a glut of B-movies about mad scientist's work spiralling out of control. However, the floodgates really opened with the cult success of Re-Animator in 1985 and The Rejuvenator was no doubt a by-product of this boom.

As you can see by the cover, this movie presents itself as an FX picture and thankfully they had Ed French there to steer that ship. French worked on a ton of notable pictures from the eighties, including The StuffC.H.U.D & Creepshow 2 so he was well versed in bringing creatures to the screen. The evolution of the effects in The Rejuvenator is fun to watch and kudos to Lanko because she was a trooper. Acting with what must have been at least ten pounds strapped to the back of her head for hours on end must have been unpleasant to say the least.

And that's not even mentioning the air bladders galore, or the bonus mutant rats throughout. Also, in the positive column we have a pan flute accompanied sex scene, an elongated club sequence with the delightful female punk band, The Poison Dolly's and an optional drinking game involving the oft-said phrase "synthesize the serum".

Katell Pleven & John MacKay in the Rejuvenator.

Despite our good doctor's insistence that "the science is sound", Elizabeth starts leaving a trail of bodies in her wake, including the dutiful assistant, Stella (Katell Pleven) - whom I'm sure was only named that so the doctor could yell that over her dead body Brando-style. By this point, Lizzie was sucking the brain juice right out of people's heads, cutting out the middle man so to speak. Soon after, the place is raided by the authorities, half of whom look like mob goons and cab drivers rather than detectives, and you can guess what happens next....

No one would say The Rejuvenator is top tier stuff, but despite being pretty dry for the first half-hour, it does have a lot of what you look for in an eighties FX picture so it's worth checking out if that's your bag - and you're reading this so I assume it is.

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