Month of Horror Prevues: RE-ANIMATOR
“Who’s going to believe a talking head? Get a job in a sideshow.”
When it comes to horror-comedies Stuart Gordon’s 1985 cult classic RE-ANIMATOR based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft, is a severed head above the rest. Jeffrey Combs stars as Dr. Herbert West, a deranged scientist who attends Miskatonic University in the fictional town of Arkham, Mass. There he befriends a fellow student Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) and tries to perfect a special serum he has created which will re-animate the dead. As West continues to develop the day-glo colored chemical and look for test subjects, he and Dan get into some highly hysterical and horrible hijinks and all hell breaks loose, affecting their circle of friends and colleagues at the school. Director Stuart Gordon got the inspiration for Re-Animator due to an overload of Dracula films he was seeing at the time. He decided to do something based around another famous monster, Frankenstein instead. He mixed in some nasty body horror aspects with some splatstick comedy thus creating a wildly entertaining, effective low budget film for 1985. There’s several memorable sequences within and one of my favorites involves Herbert West injecting Dan’s dead cat with his re-animation serum which causes the furry critter to go totally batso. The scene takes place in a dark basement which only has one big overhead light swinging back and forth. Just the sound of the screeching, insane cat running around the room along with clanky objects being knocked over creates this frenzied effect which makes it so funny and thrilling to watch. You feel like you’re right there with them as they try to fend this thing off. Re-Animator was followed by Bride of Re-Animator in 1990 and Beyond Re-Animator in 2003.