Re-Animator Movie Review

The heady and fabulously gruesome works of H.P. Lovecraft have lent the plotlines to more than 20 movies, and most of these films are unbearable direct-to-video shlock.

But 1985's cult classic Re-Animator launched this return to Lovecraft's work, and if later filmmakers had learned anything from Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna's horror masterpiece, they would have assured old H.P. a much stronger legacy.

Re-Animator is Lovecraft's twist on the Frankenstein fable, this time involving a fluorescent green liquid that, when injected into a dead brain, will bring its host back to life. The catch: It's not a very good life; the re-animated become shrieking zombies bent on violence. Working out the kinks in his serum is Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs), a creepy med student who rents a room from Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott), who happens to be dating the daughter (Barbara Crampton) of the med school dean (Robert Sampson). But he's at odds with professor Carl Hill (David Gale), whose old theories on brain death need updating -- and what better way to do so than to steal West's research. What follows is of course, a gore-infused body count where if one character dies, they simply come back as a howling half-dead beast.

Jeffrey Combs launched a career in cult horror with this film, and he stands next to Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead) as one of the heroes of the genre. The story isn't all that original, but Lovecraft's creepy spin makes the Franken-legend much more fun than traditional versions. The gore, obviously low budget and almostly completely shot at night, is nonetheless effective, creepy, and on the unrated DVD edition (the original version shown in theaters), remarkably effective to the point of visceral overload. I had to avert my gaze more than once. Also of note is the green re-animation liquid, an innovation that still gets copied today (and who can blame them?).

Also on this new double-disc DVD are a remastered THX soundtrack, two commentary tracks (one from director Gordon, the other from Yuzna and virtually the whole cast), and the toned-down scenes from the R-rated version you typically see (lame!). There's also a dream sequence deleted from the movie altogether, tons of interviews, storyboards, photos, filmographies... geez, it never stops.

Re-Animator got the sequel treatment in 1990's Bride of Re-Animator, and believe it or not, Yuzna's at work on another one, Beyond Re-Animator, due this year. Yikes!

Comments

Re-Animator Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: NR, 1985

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Barbra Streisand Talks New Album 'Partners' And Meeting Elvis Presley For The First Time

Legendary entertainer Barbra Streisand is back on the music scene with a...

 Barbra Streisand Talks New Album 'Partners' And Meeting Elvis Presley For The First Time

First Ever Whitney Houston Live Album To Be Released In November

For the first time ever, fans of the beloved singer Whitney Houston will get...

First Ever Whitney Houston Live Album To Be Released In November

Billy Crystal Admits Emmy Tribute To Robin Williams Was "The Hardest Thing I've Ever Had To Do"

During the 66th Emmy Awards on August 25, 2014, Billy Crystal had the...

 Billy Crystal Admits Emmy Tribute To Robin Williams Was

Tom Hiddleston Set To Star In King King Origin Film 'Skull Island'

'The Avengers' actor Tom Hiddleston has just landed another huge movie role...

 Tom Hiddleston Set To Star In King King Origin Film 'Skull Island'

Cara Delevingne Lands Lead Role In John Green's 'Paper Towns'

Cara Delevingne isn't just going to dominate the fashion and modelling world, the...

Cara Delevingne Lands Lead Role In John Green's 'Paper Towns'

Leonardo DiCaprio Named Messenger Of Peace By United Nations

Leonardo DiCaprio has earned many awards and honours throughout his...

 Leonardo DiCaprio Named Messenger Of Peace By United Nations

Rihanna Slams CBS For Dropping Her Song Amidst The Ray Rice Scandal

Rihanna isn't happy with CBS and she is letting everyone know about it...

Rihanna Slams CBS For Dropping Her Song Amidst The Ray Rice Scandal

Nick Cave's '20,000 Days on Earth' Could Be Finest Movie of 2014

Nick Cave's talent for songwriting had never been disputed. In fact, many would...

Nick Cave's '20,000 Days on Earth' Could Be Finest Movie of 2014

Eva Mendes Gives Birth To Her And Ryan Gosling's First Child

Hollywood's hottest couple are officially parents. Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling...

 Eva Mendes Gives Birth To Her And Ryan Gosling's First Child
Advertisement