in Shocktober

Shocktober: Day 23

Re-Animator (1985)

Dir: Stuart Gordon
Cast: Jeffery Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale

From the brilliant mind behind Robot Jox and Space Truckers I bring you “Re-Animator”! Seriously though, Stuart Gordon has definitely had a hit or miss career but there’s no denying that this was his finest hour. Adapted loosely from the H.P. Lovecraft story “Herbert West-Re-animator” this tongue and cheek puke-o-rama has become a classic with it’s skin crawling effects and endlessly entertaining anti-hero, mad scientist Herbert West (Jeffery Combs.)

It’s basically the perfect idea for a horror film. A mad scientist (Herbert West) has created a serum that can “re-animate” the dead, the only problem is how these corpses act when revitalized. Struggling to perfect his experiments West moves in with a medical student Dan (Bruce Abbott) and converts the basement into a mad laboratory. What follows is an endless eries of experiments gone wrong, complete with dark humor and off-the-wall violence.

This is a horror film chocked full of gory glee that just happens to have an interesting story under the surface. The conflict and troubles between Dan and Herbert and where it leads them is fairly engrossing. It’s a bit campy but a lot of it’s played for humor so I guess thats what they were going for. Though I do enjoy the vintage makeup effects with all it’s messy goodness.

An 80s cult classic that’s spawned a great mad scientist character, this film wouldn’t be the same without the talented Jeffery Combs. He’s gone on to play the character in two sequels and there’s even talk of a fourth installment House of Re-Animator where West would move into the white house to re-animate the vice president (George Wendt) and William H. Macy would play the president. Sounds dumb but I’m glad to see re-animator still lives on.


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