Re-Animator Review


★★★★★

Directed by: #StuartGordon

Written by: #HPLovecraft, #DennisPaoli, #WilliamNorris, #StuartGordon

Starring: #JeffreyCombs, #BruceAbbott, #BarbaraCrampton

#ThrowbackThursday Film Review by: #DarrenTilby



The perfect combination of #1980s camp #humour and gross-out #horror, Re-Animator has buckets of charm and still holds up incredibly well, even after thirty-three-years.

What a pleasure it was to see this cult classic on the big screen again after so many years.


After causing a horrific incident at the Zurich University in Switzerland, the mysterious and secretive Herbert West takes up residency with a gifted young medical student, Dan Cain, and promptly begins a series of bizarre experiments involving the reanimation of dead tissue.

After accidentally walking in on and witnessing the ‘success’ of one of these experiments, Cain agrees to help; but as West’s obsession grows, Cain finds himself being forced into committing increasingly depraved and immoral acts.


Re-Animator sees now genre veteran (and recent recipient of the #GrimmfestFilmFestival Life Time Achievement Award), Barbara Crampton in her breakthrough role as Megan Halsey, a role which helped forge her love of horror. Starring alongside Crampton is the magnificent Jeffrey Combs in what would arguably become his most iconic role—that of Herbert West, the re-animator! And, last but not least, there’s Bruce Abbott; starring as Dan Cain in yet another career-defining performance.

The Re-Animator helped forge the careers of its principal cast, and whilst some may have taken to the genre and cult status that followed better than others, there’s no denying that, together, on-screen, they were glorious.


Re-Animator bathes itself in the influences and climate of the decade in which it was made: buckets of blood spew and spurt and cascade in comical fashion from every orifice, wound and amputation; heads explode, eyes burst and a reanimated cat is brutally bludgeoned back to death: truly, the film is resplendent in its depiction of gore. And yet the film’s eccentricities coupled with that unique #1980s era charm and trademark camp #humour ensure the film never feels like it’s taking itself too seriously; in spite of the copious amount of blood, this is a film which finds itself lingering in #comedy more than it does #horror.


Being based loosely on the writings of #HPLovecraft (specifically ‘Herbert West, Re-Animator’) you can be sure there’ll be plenty of otherworldly, interdimensional weirdness here: whether it’s something as #Lovecraftian as the elongated intestinal-tentacles that have burst forth from a recently re-killed cadaver, talking severed heads, or something as simple as the luminous glow given off by West’s reagent; there’s plenty here for #Lovecraft fans to enjoy. The film’s subject matter, that of the reanimation of dead tissue and the increasingly rapid descent into madness of its title character, also recalls the work of #MaryShelley’s ‘Frankenstein’; the literary inspiration for #Lovecraft’s novel: the similarities are clear as day; with both works questioning the lengths, mankind will go to conquer death.


Re-Animator has aged incredibly well: even after all these years the #humour, special effects, story and performances that made this film a cult-classic are still enormously entertaining, and well worth your time and money if you’re lucky enough to be able to catch it on the big screen. If not, go out and buy it, and rediscover an #80s shock-horror #classic that’s bound to make you laugh as much as it’ll make you wince.