Re-Animator Movie Review


Death is the just the beginning...
Re-Animator Picture
Jeffrey Combs stars as Herbert West


Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale

Robert Sampson, Gerry Black, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Peter Kent, Barbara Pieters, Ian Patrick Williams, Bunny Summers, Al Berry Update Cast

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The movie is actually based on the story "Herbert West, Re-Animator" by H.P. Lovecraft, despite the obvious parallels to Mary Shelley's classic tale Frankenstein.

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It's the classic story of Frankenstein updated with an Evil Dead-like sensibility in Re-Animator, one of the all-time gore classics from the 80's.

Everything was going great for Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott), he's a very bright medical student at the famed Miskatonic University, he has a loveable cat named Rufus and he's seeing the Dean's gorgeous daughter, Megan (Barbara Crampton). That is to say, everything was going great, until a new medical student named Herbert West (the maniacal Jeffrey Combs) inquires about renting a room in Dan's house. Although an unsettling individual, West seems harmless enough and so Dan accepts his cash up front offer and the two neurosurgery students become roommates.

Things soon take a strange turn for Dan when he witnesses West, who had previously been studying re-animation under the famed German scientist Dr. Gruber, wrestling with his formerly dead cat. After subduing the bloodthirsty feline, West reveals to Dan that he has perfected a green-glowing serum for re-animation of freshly dead human brain tissue. Marveled by this discovery, Dan reports the finding to Dean Halsey (Robert Sampson) who, rather than commend the students for their work, promptly expels them from the school and bans Dan from seeing his daughter. This does not, however, put a damper on Herbert West's quest for human re-animation and the two students soon find themselves locked in the morgue testing it on a fresh corpse. The test is a success, the formula for re-animation was right; unfortunately everything else is so very wrong.

You see, rather than resurrecting a thankful-to-be-alive human, the formula summons the bloodthirsty zombie in us. Soon the first subject has attacked and killed Dean Halsey, who is promptly brought back from the dead using a smaller dosage, but with similar horrific results. Megan is devastated when she witnesses the current state of her father, believing him to be insane rather than a zombie.

Soon, however, Miskatonic University Neurosurgery professor Carl Hill (David Gale) wises up to the operation and grows jealous of West's command of the seemingly impossible. Hill attempts to acquire the formula first from analysis of Dean Halsey and later from Herbert West. Fortunately for West, he manages to decapitate Dr. Hill before he can obtain the reagent necessary for the experiment, but as you can imagine decapitation is no obstacle for the re-animation formula and West's thirst for knowledge gets the best of him. This pits a newly revived Dr. Hill against Herbert West, each seeking to perfect this landmark discovery.

What ensues is a climax of maniacal mayhem and gore. The head-in-tote torso of Dr. Hill soon kidnaps Megan and when West and Dan arrive to stop him they may be too late as a small horde of zombies await them, but as the tagline says.. Death is only the beginning. Decapitations, violent intestines, severed head romance scenes; this film has it all.

Author: CarlUpdate This Review


Completely off-the-wall from start to finish, Re-Animator is that unique combination of gore flick and comedy, in a league with Return of the Living Dead, Evil Dead 2, and Dead Alive.

Strongly recommended for anyone who lacks a weak stomach, it is a must for any horror fan that wishes to be taken seriously amidst true horror aficionados. Best of all perhaps, is the fact that while obviously not endowed with a sizeable budget, the acting and effects in Re-Animator are well above average, especially for the time and genre.

Jeffrey Combs steals the show as Dr. Herbert West and has since become something of a poor man's Bruce Campbell in terms of horror icons.

Highly recommended for anyone in the mood for a laugh or a gorefest.

Excellent effects and acting; one of the greatest examples of the gore-comedy to date.
Not the most original storyline, but definitely a unique twist on the oft-told tale.

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The Movie Data

Key Crew

Director: Stuart Gordon
Writer: H.P. Lovecraft, Dennis Paoli, William Norris, Stuart Gordon
Producers: Michael Avery, Bruce William Curtis, Bob Greenburg, Charles Donald Storey, Brian Yuzna
Locations Manager:

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Release Date: 18 Oct 1985
MPAA Rating: R
Studio: Empire Pictures
Production: Empire Pictures, Re-Animator Productions Inc.
Genre: Horror / Occult

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The Movie Trailer
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1985 Empire Pictures
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