31 Days of Hell: Re-Animator

Here's Michelle's review of Re-Animator. 

"Everyone is doing it!"
The horror-comedy is one of the hardest types of films to successfully make. It's akin to mixing oil and water. There have only been a few gems that have managed to emulsify the two into a tasty horror vinaigrette. A recent example is Shaun of the Dead, the self-professed “RomZomCom” (romantic zombie comedy). Re-Animator upped the ante by not sacrificing brutality or creepiness for the sake of humor. Re-Animator is definitely more on the horror side of horror-comedy but never takes its tongue out of its cheek for the entire duration of the film.

Re-Animator is a loose adaptation of a H.P. Lovecraft’s short story about lunatic, Herbert West. Director Stuart Gordon is a huge fan of Lovecraft’s bibliography and made several other films based on West's work. This scientist, played by Jeffrey Combs, discovers an injected formula that can bring the dead back to the land of the living. As to be expected, things that have been dead for a while are pissed off when their sleep is interrupted.

"Head. Get some."
Jeffery Combs is great and plays the "mad scientist" shtick with just the right amount of cheesiness. David Gale also does a turn as a malicious neurosurgeon-turned-botched-experiment who terrorizes the other characters. He also has the best one-liner in the movie. Gale became typecast as a villain after starring in Re-Animator and starred in a whole bunch of other cult movies in later years.

The writing is amusing and there is gallows humor thrown in at every opportunity. There's just something sinfully funny about watching a man slam a zombified black cat against the wall and seeing it explode all over the place. I’m going to hell for laughing but I just can’t help myself.

Everything is adeptly filmed and it looks higher budget than it actually was. The make-up and special effects were well done (especially on the autopsy scenes) and there are some truly macabre moments. Eyes are gouged out, fingers bitten off, guts ripped out, brains splattered all over the place and other fun endeavors. Carnage lovers will be in a bloody and drippy paradise and will most likely have a blast. This film is a cult classic and beloved by many horror fans; it’s one of the best B movies of the ’80s.

-Michelle Kisner