Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Re-Animator

"Of Herbert West, who was my friend in college and in after life, I can speak only with extreme terror. This terror is not due altogether to the sinister manner of his recent disappearance, but was engendered by the whole nature of his life-work, and first gained its acute form more than seventeen years ago, when we were in the third year of our course at the Miskatonic University Medical School in Arkham. While he was with me, the wonder and diabolism of his experiments fascinated me utterly, and I was his closest companion. Now that he is gone and the spell is broken, the actual fear is greater. Memories and possibilities are ever more hideous than realities."

- H.P. Lovecraft, Herbert West: Reanimator

I notice I've been slacking a bit. Last month I posted about 15 times, but so far I've only posted 5 times. But it's all about quality, right? So here is another brilliant and thoroughly awesome review. 

I'm a bit of a gore freak. I admit it. I like hardcore horror. I like a lot of in-your-face visuals and viscera. Because I've read and watched just about everything that can severely repulse me, I do find myself a bit jaded and harder to repulse. I think that response is natural, though. And I'm that way with just about everything, too. Whether it's music or movies or books, I'm always trying to see what pushes the boundaries. 

Of course, these days everything is pretty hard to top. Seems like folks are making gory slasher remakes just because they can. Nothing wrong with making money, but seeing yet another replica of Leatherface chop up some dumbass kids is boring. Watching Saw 86 or Michael Myers Versus The Thing doesn't seem that exciting either. 

The shock movies these days just don't quite have the same impact of movies like Dead Alive or Re-Animator. These films really pushed the boundaries of blood, but they did so in a way that was fun and original. I bet few people could guess that the demented genius behind Dead Alive is the same guy behind The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. 

But I'm digressing a bit from point and my review. While I'd love to continue to champion the 80's b-horror films, I'd prefer to pimp out the film adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft and Re-Animator in particular. I figure that last bit should be obvious since this is a review for said film. 

The film adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe are rather well-known. Generally one thinks of Roger Corman and Vincent Price if not the actual man who actually wrote the stories when it comes to Poe. I don't think that H.P. Lovecraft has an obvious voice in the realm of horror cinema. In horror literature, sure. He's everywhere in horror literature. But not so much on the big screen. John Carpenter has probably made the most well known "Lovecraftian" film In the Mouth of Madness

But Re-Animator, directed by Stuart Gordon and starring Jeffery Combs as the frantic Herbert West, is pretty close to the top of the list of Lovecraft films. 

It's a loose adaptation, too. Gordon will even tell you such in the documentary Re-Animator Resurrectus. But it's a damn fun movie and one that really sells that "morgue vibe" needed to make the film work. And the Gordon didn't cut any corners when it came to the amount of nudity or blood. He wanted to make it as realistically as possible, given the subject matter. It's like what would really happen if some guy found a way to resurrect the dead. I mean, don't you just love seeing the asses of zombies? Yep, it's that kind of movie. 

And this movie contains one of the most disturbing scenes I think I've ever seen. It's the one where the decapitated zombie guy holding his head in his hands starts giving a woman tied to a table... head. Yeah... nothing gross there. 

The strength of this movie is in its ability to combine black humor with extreme gore. I think movies from the 80's did this particularly well because the 80's culture was just so damn cheesy it really wasn't that much of a stretch.

Jeffery Combs steals the film, but look out for the tall and Karloff-esque David Gale to have a few head spinning scenes of his own.

Stuart Gordon has directed two more Lovecraft adaptations (From Beyond and Dagon) and Herbert West would return in a couple of sequels (Bride of Re-Animator and Beyond Re-Animator... with Jeffery Combs returning in both films to portray the madman), but Gordon was at his best with Re-Animator. That and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, but that's something entirely different. 


















1 comment:

  1. I love this flick. This one gets my vote for the funniest gore fest ever. It is amazing the way the director manages to walk that tightrope of extreme gore and hilarity and make it work so well. It is a genuine horror flick but it is also a genuine comedy. There is some real in your face comedy (like the "head" scene) as well as in your face gore.

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