April 3, 2010 6:12 pm 2 comments ,

I’ll admit it. I had never seen Re-Animator before, even though it clearly has all the markings of the type of horror films that I enjoy: H.P. Lovecraft, horror, black comedy, Sci-Fi, and tons of gore.

When I read that it was equal or better than the Evil Dead series my first reaction was to scoff. Nothing can be better than Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead franchise. And I was right. Re-Animator is an excellent film but not up to the level of the master that is Raimi.

I was, however, pleasantly surprised with this campy horror effort. I went in knowing very little outside of the Lovecraftian theme and the Frankenstein plot variation. This is what good horror/camp filmmaking is all about. The films of today rarely, if ever, achieve this level of superb entertainment.

Hollywood thinks all we want to see these days is torture porn. They may be right, but it’s more fun when the torturing is being done by a headless corpse!

Herbert West, brilliant scientist, leaves Switzerland after the doctor he was studying under eyes explode. West comes to the U.S. to further his learning and practice breaking pencils while in class.

West, played impressively by Jeffrey Combs, moves in with an up and coming med student (Bruce Abbot) whose fiancé (Barbara Crampton) happens to be the daughter of the dean of the school. West makes enemies with the top brain doctor, who is played by John Kerry I believe, within seconds of arriving in the U.S. by calling him an old stubborn coot of a doctor. West, unbeknownst to the Americans has a formula that re-animates the dead.

Wildly over-the-top only begins to explain this film. After a violently disturbing scene involving a re-animated cat, West enlists the help of his roommate to continue the experiments on humans. Even though the cat was clearly intent on killing both of them, the roommate decides human experimenting sounds like fun.

From there it gets messy, literally. The dean becomes a re-animated corpse much to the chagrin of his daughter. John Kerry finally comes to terms that West does indeed have an elixir that brings the dead back to life-ish. John Kerry, of course, wants the potion for himself. West can’t stand for that so he chops of the professor’s head and then, using some sort of logic that only exists in movies, re-animates the head of the former U.S. Presidential candidate.

From here it gets crazy, literally. John Kerry directs his own headless body to attack West. The corpse body does just that and West is left incapacitated. Kerry then directs the body to steal all the remaining elixir and bring it back to the hospital, and oh yeah, bring his head along too.

From here, it’s off the charts. Kerry performs fellatio on the dean’s daughter by having his corpse hold his decapitated head in the appropriate places. And then there is the ending. I won’t ruin it, but let’s just say from here it gets… (Insert hyperbole)

Simply a must watch. I should have seen this film years ago myself.

Snore Factor: Z

IMDB 1985

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  • Geoff

    This is Gordon’s recognised masterpiece into the genre. It’s about as perfect as can be; Combs, Crampton and HP but the icing on the cake is the score. Richard Band created something so special here, it’s as iconic as Exorcist or Halloween. Very few films have a key score which are so memorable.

    For me though, ‘From Beyond’ is Gordon’s finest moment.

  • Micah

    Hey Geoff – hope you are well. I am glad I finally sat down and watched this film. I can’t believe I missed it for so many years – a definite classic.

    The score is excellent and I am glad you pointed that out as I neglected it in my write up.

    I am re-watching ‘From Beyond’ in a couple days and look forward to it as it has been years. From what I remember the special effects were kinda cheesy, which turned me off a bit.