Re-Animator (1985)

Re-Animator (1985) movie poster

director Stuart Gordon
viewed: 05/11/2014

I probably got my introduction to H.P. Lovecraft from watching Re-Animator on VHS back in the 1980’s.  Only, I probably didn’t realize it.

I got my actual introduction to him from a friend’s anthology of Lovecraft stories and only then (still in the 1980’s) did I start to get to know about the strange, obscure horror writer.  Lovecraft (1890-1937) worked in relative obscurity in his life but has become more and more a popular writer and cult figure since the 1980’s, possibly in part owing to this film, perhaps.

Really though, Re-Animator is a sort of variant on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, “re-animating” the dead with a formula.  The titular figure is played by Jeffrey Combs, a semi-meek, sinister scientist/student maniacally dedicated to scientifically re-creating life.  It mostly goes down in the hospital morgue with his room-mate and room-mate’s girlfriend in tow.  And it’s a gory, comic mess.

The film is the work of director Stuart Gordon, who went on to a number of other Lovecraft-inspired films, most notably perhaps, From Beyond (1986).  Re-Animator  went on for a couple of sequels, directed by Brian Yuzna, producer of this film.

I always enjoyed the film, maybe not as much as some friends did.  But I have to say, it’s quite good, with lots of excellent effects and some fine performances.  I particularly like David Gale as Dr. Carl Hill, who does some of his best acting as a decapitated but re-animated head on a platter.  I also liked Barbara Crampton, who went on to a number of other horror features.

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