THE REJUVENATOR (1988) Reviews and overview

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‘The fountain of youth for the living dead.’

The Rejuvenator is a 1988 American science fiction horror film about a wealthy old actress who finances and takes a serum to look young again. Unfortunately, the side effect is that she turns into a hideous monster with a desire to kill.

Directed by Brian Thomas Jones (Monsters TV series; Escape from Safehaven; Posed for Murder) from a screenplay co-written with Simon Nuchtern (Silent Madness), based on the latter’s story. Produced by Steven D. Mackler (Voodoo Dawn; Deadtime StoriesNeon Maniacs).

The Jewel Productions movie stars Vivian Lanko (Bates Motel TV series; The Refrigerator), John MacKay, James Hogue (Prime Evil), Katell Pleven, Jessica Dublin (The Devil’s Men; Island of Death) and John Marcus Powell.

The special makeup effects were created by Ed French (Hellraiser: Bloodline; Blood Rage; Necropolis; Breeders; The Stuff; et al)


“It cribs elements from Sunset Boulevard and The Wasp Woman and mashes them together with the finest in late-1980s straight-to-video tone. There’s lots of neon, fake British accents, and synth flute. […] At times, it feels like we’re watching a drunk Stanley Kubrick direct a movie for Canadian slowcore kings Emmeritus on Andy Milligan‘s sets.” Bleeding Skull!

“It’s a picture that suffers from many debits: poor scripting, hacky editing, mostly indifferent direction, a pep-free first hour! But it livens up toward the end, and there’s some ambition on display throughout, for which the filmmakers are to be commended!” Ha Ha, it’s Burl!

” …The Rejuvenator is a mad scientist film that hits all of the tropes but does them all rather uninterestingly. The plot is too repetitive and obvious, and the film never falls into the category of B-movies where it’s so laughable that it becomes fun to watch. Instead, it’s a film that won’t find much of an audience anywhere, except maybe with those people who remember it nostalgically.” HNN

“The simple formula – injection, followed by a few hours of flawless beauty until the serum wears off, then it’s monster time – works like a charm as long as you’re not expecting anything more than simpleminded splattery fun, which it delivers by the bucketful.” Horror 101

” …the film is a fairly typical makeup effects vehicle of the period, based around a series of entertainingly absurd set-pieces and gory meltdowns. There is a fairly impressive scene where Vivian Lanko turns into goo-dripping monster at the end of the show. The rest of the film is on the passably cheap side. In terms of plotting, everything heads in predictable directions.” Moria

“In a decade teeming with latex excess and cardboard cut-out characters, Rejuvenator is a breath of fresh air; a genuine creeper with an unusually firm focus on characterisation and human conflict. It just so happens that, underneath it all, there’s a rollicking great monster mash going on too!” The Schlock Pit

“Lanko plays both the young Ruth/Elizabeth and the monster and one has to admire the fact that she let them put that big broccoli bulb on her head and spray all sorts of goo out of it. Maybe it was all too much for her as she only had one small role after this and then was gone from the scene. Also amusing is Marcus Powell, who plays the required role of the superior threatening to pull the plug.” Video Junkie

Main cast and characters:

Vivian Lanko … Elizabeth Warren / The Monster
John MacKay … Doctor Gregory Ashton
James Hogue … Wilhelm
Katell Pleven … Doctor Stella Stone
Jessica Dublin … Ruth Warren
John Marcus Powell … Doctor Germaine (as Marcus Powell)
Roy MacArthur … Hunter
Louis Homyak … Tony the Guard (as Louis F. Homyak)

Technical details:

88 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

Original title:



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