21 July 2009 | Coventry
The Young and the Reckless Brain Munchers
Undeservedly obscure and little-known 80's horror/splatter fest, more or less in the same vein as Stuart Gordon's "Re-Animator" and "From Beyond" (albeit a little less outrageous) and boosting a basic premise that might as well could have been thought up by David Cronenberg, "The Rejuvenator" truly is a hidden gem of the horror genre! There existed quite a number of movies on the topic of rejuvenation already (like "The Leech Woman" and "Twice-Told Tales"), but this is a late 80's horror flick and thus the only one with copious amounts of tacky special effects, perverted insinuations and completely demented sub plots. Obnoxious and wealthy actress Ruth Warren doesn't accept the natural ageing process and thus sponsors Dr. Gregory Ashton's unorthodox research to obtain eternal youth. She also insists on being the first human guinea pig even though the serum isn't ready yet and possibly contains a lot of horrible side effects. Initially the medicine works wondrously and Ruth becomes her younger alter ego Elisabeth, but the effects don't last and she regularly transforms back into an old witch- type monster that is uglier than her elderly self could ever be. She can only regain her youthful beauty through taking severe doses of the serum again. But the serum is extracted from human brains and, as usual, brain fluids extracted from living specimen are a lot more efficient than that of cadavers
There are also lesser significant sub plots about Ruth's obsessive butler, mutated rat species running loose in the laboratory and fellow doctors trying to boycott Dr. Ashton's life-work, so you definitely won't be bored! The transformation sequences obviously form the brilliantly horrific highlights of "The Rejuvenator". When the effects of the serum wear out, Elizabeth changes into a gooey monster with an incredibly over-sized brain and eerie claws, and she literally scalps her unfortunate victims in order to suck out their brains. The special effects and make-up are nauseating but surprisingly well- conceived in spite of the obvious low-budget production values. The witty script holds a few neat twists in store for near the end and the climax is terrific. This was the first film of director/co-writer Brian Thomas Jones and, strangely enough, his only accomplishment that is worth mentioning. Jones clearly had talent, but he never did anything significant anymore after this.