Re-Animator (1985)

The 101 Horror Movies strikes again, with this cult classic, featuring genre favoourite Jeffrey Combs.

Based loosely on the original tale by the always chilling work of H.P. Lovecraft, the film, directed by Stuart Gordon, is a wonderful over-the-top gorefest.

We follow Herbert West (Combs) from an interesting experiment in Sweden back to the States where he takes up rooms with a fellow 3rd-year med student Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott), and quickly insinuates himself between Dan, his future career, and his love life with Megan (Barbara Crampton) as he refines his work on a serum that brings dead flesh back to life.

Dan is drawn in to this deranged experiment although it costs him more than he realizes until the last frames of the film.

Combs is a manic delight, playing a Lovecraftian version of Dr. Frankenstein, and the film is stacked with equal parts humor and gore, as the bodies pile up, but only momentarily as they begin to stumble to their feet again.

The script is rather camp, and never seems to take itself too seriously, but it’s filled with lots of bloody gore… dead cats thrown against walls, eyeballs exploding, heads being carried around next to severed bodies, heads being crushed, fingers bitten off, and a climax involving stumblling reanimated bodies that have died from shotgun wounds to the head, burn victims, and accidents.

The film is a hoot.

It’s not pretending to be anything that it’s not, and it revels in it’s bloodiness.

I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone with a weak stomach.

Combs, always an underused actor, steals every moment that he can, and seems to be having a great time, a psychotic gleam in his eye.

I was also delighted with the film’s score by Richard Band, there are moments when it feels and sounds like a Bernard Herrmann score for an Alfred Hitchcock movie. It’s fantastic.

The cast is rounded out with David Gale, whose character has an obesession with Megan, even after he’s dead, and be-headed, leading to a rather disturbing scene of the severed head oogling her naked form, and more.

Also appearing is Robert Sampson, as Megan’s father Dr. Halsey, who joins the growing pile of walking talking corpses.

Both of these actors you may not recognize by name, but when you see them, you always say, “Hey! That’s that guy!”

The film is surprisingly solid, in spite of it’s camp nature, and if you go into it with the right mindset, it’s hugely entertaining!

Have you seen it?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Dave Enkosky says:

    When I was a teen this was one of my favorites. I haven’t seen it in at least a decade now, but I wanna rewatch it now.

    1. TD Rideout says:

      I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it! It really was good fun, and I’m sorry I didn’t get to see it as a teen.

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