Director: Stuart Gordon
Writers: Dennis Paoli, William Norris, Stuart Gordon
Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbot, Barbara Crampton, David Gale, Robert Sampson, Gerry Black, Bunny Summers
Favorite Quote: “Who’s going to believe a talking head? Get a job in a sideshow.”
Re-Animator might possibly be the number one film on my horror list. Even with my love, almost fanatical devotion my wife would say to the Universal Monsters, I would still choose if I was forced to give a decision to go with this H.P. Lovecraft inspired classic horror movie.
The film begins at the Zurich Institute of Medicine, where a Swiss Professor flanked by two security guards walk quickly towards the lab of Dr. Gruber, an behind that locked door can be heard a man screaming, the guards break out the glass to the door and rush into the room. Laying on his back on the floor is Dr. Gruber, with his assistant Herbert West kneeling over him with a syringe. Dr. Gruber is shaking and screaming, he bolts upwards grab his head in agony as his eyes bulge and then burst with blood. The guards grab Herbert West, as the Professor checks the mutilated Dr. Gruber’s pulse, remarking he is dead (Which is pretty obvious), Herbert declares, “Of course he’s dead the dosage was too large.” A Swiss Doctor turns to him and accuses him of murder to which the brilliant if arrogant West replies, “No I did not. I gave him life.”
Two minutes, that is how long it will take to have you glued to your seats as you watch this darkly humorous film. It has some great and quite bloody special effects, when you are a member of the walking dead and someone takes a table saw to you…it’s not pretty. But the gore, at least to me, never feels like it doesn’t fit with the tone of the story. However this is most assuredly not a film to be watching while there are younger family members in the room. Ha, ha.
Combs is obviously the star of this film but Abbot (Who is also the Rylan Sargent in the Last Starfighter), and Crampton really hold their own. This is just one of those rare films where everything comes together. Direction, writing, music, and the acting make a perfect movie. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing this film you must remedy this immediately.
I admit that I watched this way too young, it was the first horror title that my Father and I ever rented on VHS, followed by the Evil Dead. Still, we both ended up adoring Re-Animator, and I promised that on the site in a week or two I shall post the story of how Jeffrey Combs was kind enough to visit the video store I worked at in my youth. Re-Animator deserves five golden pumpkins out of five for its absolute perfection!