(The gist: Once again, I have been educated in old school horror. I was missing out not having seen Re-Animator far sooner. The Lovecraftian tale is clever, and the horror is the perfect blend of gore and comic infusion. I am so glad I was able to witness it for the first time in 35mm on the big screen.)
Amazing 80s horror is a theme in my recent New (to me) Horror watching. Part of catching up on all the gems of the genre I missed in youth and sheltered childhood. My Stanley Film Festival viewing partner and I missed Re-Animator at the fest (in favor of screening The Boy, not the worst decision), but it was especially disappointing to miss the following director Q&A.
I just did not know I would love it so much!
However, we were saved when the Denver Film Society decided to continue to screen Re-Animator on 35mm. Thankfully, I was able to experience the film on the big screen, in its original glory. No Stuart Gordon but vastly superior to DVD from my couch.
And it was so worth it.
Once again, I can say this is horror I cannot believe I was missing. How could my horror life had ever been complete without it? Once again, I can say this is horror I should have seen years ago.
Re-Animator is about a medical student, Dan, who takes in an ambitious roommate. He later learns that Herbert is hell-bent on unlocking the secrets of death and immortality. The two begin experimenting on how to reanimate the dead.
At the screening, Re-Animator was introduced as the first real horror comedy. However, I do not know that I buy that the movie was intentionally comedic. Regardless of design, it does provide a campy entertainment. I found enough horror and disturbing plot with a bit of ridiculous and humor lining the edges.
My personal favorite instance of comic relief was the reanimated cat.
However, my true love in the movie was the gore. The reanimated blood and guts are superb. Once the corpses are infused with Herbert’s re-agent, they become some lobotomized zombie hybrids. These second chancers are open to suggestion and control, which leads to some very interesting plot points.
I enjoyed the film from opening frame to credits. I found the plot both intriguing and well-paced. Anything Lovecraftian will always have great horror potential; Re-Animator manages to realize that stylistic potential. The characters are well executed; they drew me into the plot and kept me engaged. Not only did I like the characters individually but even more so their interactions. The dynamic between the obsessive Herbert and the awkwardly complaint Dan is perfect.
I want to own this gory little gem. And watch it over and over again.