Re-Animator (1985)


It took me way to long to see the Re-Animator. Growing up, I had heard about it often, and read about it everywhere – from mainstream horror mags to bootleg video catalogs. Much like the Lovecraftian horrors that serve as its inspiration, it was always hovering it my periphery; to be felt but not seen. My local, go-to, video shop, SuperVideo (RIP), only prolonged the torture by carrying the sequel, Bride of Re-Animator, but not the original.

Fast forward 15 long years, and here I am watching the fabled Re-Animator and loving every minute of it. It plays out like Altered States meets Scrubs; with Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) being a clear inspirational to the Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper. Seriously, watch the scene where West meets Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) and inquires about Dan’s search for a housemate, and tell me you didn’t have flashbacks of Leonard and Sheldon discussing their roommate agreements.

Re-Animator 2nd Experiment

Throw in a musical score by Robert Band, who I’m assuming is Charles Band’s brother, and you have a macabre juggernaut set to destroy all other movies!

(For the record, while I don’t love the Puppet Master series, I certainly do respect their longevity and genre contributions.)

Re-Animator Not the Real Manikin

Band’s involvement here would reach both ways, as the Puppet animating fluid used in Puppet Master 4 clearly had its precursor here.

This is Frankenstein rewritten so that the focus is on the resurrection process, instead of the aftermath! I’ve never read Lovecraft’s short story “Herbert West: Re-Animator” to see if the comparison runs through the literary work too, but the movie shows Victor’s college years, as it were. Mary Shelley’s classic reworked so that the God-hood status man hoped to attain was that of Cthulu instead of Jehovah.

Re-Animator the Dean loses a finger

Of course, Frankenstein was a one-man team. The Re-Animator shows us why. First Dan’s cat gets reanimated twice(!) just to prove the process works. Next Alan Halsey (Robert Sampson), the Dean of the medical school, is reanimated after he’s crushed by a raging corpse. Did I mention that the Dean is also the father of Dan’s fiance, Megan (Barbara Crampton)?

Re-Animator the Demise of Dr Hill

Dr. Hill (David Gale), the physician/scientist in charge of Dan and West’s education, falls next. Taking a shovel to the head, then decapitated, thus becoming a disembodied head who spews malicious hate and spite every time he speaks.

Re-Animator Dr Hill Steals the Show

The film’s break-out star, and also a(nother) clear inspiration to Dellamorte Dellamore’s Valentina. (Though, to be honest, Valentina also didn’t try to rape Gnaghi.)

Re-Animator the Cycle Continues

Sound like too much? The Re-Animator was just producer Brian Yuzna getting started. He would further revolutionize zombie film with Return of the Living Dead III pairing zombie-dom with SMBD imagery. Which is, sadly, a film I don’t have access to, but fond memories of. I do, however, have a copy of his less stellar Rottweiler which will be coming later this month.

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