Re-Animator is a 1985 American science fiction horror film based on the H. P. Lovecraft story “Herbert West–Reanimator.” Directed by Stuart Gordon. Stuart Gordon was on Radio of Horror on Sunday night promoting the NecronomiCON (HP Lovecraft-palooza) and talking all things Lovecraft AND about writing Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
There’s SPOILERS all over this review, but really, words cannot make this movie less shocking. It’s just plain insane.
Re-Animator follows mad-med-student Herbert West who re-animates (at “too large a dose”) his professor Dr. Gruber in Sweden to continuing his studies at Miskatonic University where he meets fellow student Dan Cain and Dan’s fiancee Megan. After probably killing the couple’s cat, West reanimates it using a glowing serum. The cat goes batshit and tries to tear West to pieces, Cain butchers the poor creature and then West re-reanimates him. Megan witnesses this and is understandably displeased.
It gets worse for Megan. West and Cain re-animate a corpse which goes on a rampage and kills Megan’s father. They impulsively re-animate her father. Her father becomes a bloodied, insane rampaging corpse. West is largely unfazed, Cain goes into shock like a semi-reasonable person and Megan slaps her fiancee like a reasonable person.
Faculty member Dr. Hill (who West accused of stealing ideas from his beloved professor Gruber) blackmails West into giving him the reagent recipe. West being completely batshit, decapitates him. And then reanimate’s Hill’s head. And body. Separately.
Megan goes to see her father, who Hill lobotomized. West wakes up to both parts of Hill escaped, everything gone and screams “My work!!”
West explains to Cain: “I had to kill him.”
Cain: “He’s dead?”
West: “Not anymore.”
Hill has been obsessively saving Megan’s discarded napkins and hair. And lobotomized her father so that if re-animating corpses ever didn’t turn them into killing machines, he could never explain what had happened and Hill would get all the credit.
The decapitated Hill and enough sense to rob the place instead of attacking everyone? Say huh?
The sheer amount of blood oozing from everyone’s mouths is fantastic. Hill mind controls Megan’s dad and sets him to kidnap Megan about the time that she tells Cain he should go away from her. Hill, the creepy, he has Megan stripped down and she wakes up to being fondled by a headless corpse, and as the headless corpse is about to put the head to work… West busts in.
“Who is going to believe a talking head? Get a job in a circus sideshow.”
But lobotomized corpses threaten our trio.
Dan Cain: “Help they’ll kill her!”
Dr. Hill: “Then I’ll give her life!!”
Megan’s dad revolts and fights against Hill in some of the bloodiest insanity ever. Crushed heads being thrown, internal organs strangling people, blood every damn where.
I won’t spoil the whole thing: let’s just say no one really learns a lesson here.
Awesome theme song
From my boyfriend:
“That whole hospital room was filled with tools to fix cars and AV gear. They don’t keep rolling toolboxes of craftman tools in hospitals, babe.”
“This movie only had one boom op.”
I give it: 4 reanimated corpses!
Happy Birthday, HP Lovecraft!
PS- Looking back on it, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was a creepy sci-fi movie. While family friendly, it all began with a mad scientist and an experiment gone berserk. And giant insects were there. What else do you need?