A medical student discovers the secrets of death and becomes the Re-Animator.
Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) is involved in an incident where he brings his professor back to life. When discovered, West is accused of killing him, he rebuts that he did not kill him, he gave him life. West then travels to New England and enrolls in a medical program there. He rents out a house with another medical student, Dan (Bruce Abbott), and sets up his laboratory in the basement. The new professor, Dr. Hill (David Gale) has an instant dislike of West because West accuses him of stealing his previous professor’s work. When Dan’s cat is found dead, West is blamed for its death but later West involves Dan in his experiments to defeat death with his reanimation serum.
Re-Animator may very well be one of my favorite horror movies and not only does it have all the great gross-out blood, guts, and gore, it has a fantastically wry sense of humor. Originally based on an H.P. Lovecraft story, Re-Animator seemingly takes itself seriously if you don’t notice the sly winks every once in awhile. The story is also a refreshingly different take on the zombie genre, though it would be hard to classify Re-Animator strictly as a zombie movie.
I can still remember the first time I watched Re-Animator – it was shortly after watching the also extremely violent and humorous Dead Alive. I much preferred Re-Animator’s sense of style and Herbert West as depicted by Jeffrey Combs is far more memorable. The theme music for Re-Animator blatantly uses much of the theme from Psycho, and when I hear either theme song I first identify it as the Re-Animator theme rather than the Psycho theme. That’s the type of thing I’m sure can get you into trouble with certain cinematic circles but I don’t care.
Re-Animator may very well be the perfect modern horror movie. A movie that doesn’t necessarily try to scare, though some parts may. The sense of humor is likely to be missed by most, but those of us that get it will likely eat it up (figuratively, I wouldn’t want to eat anything re-animated). When I asked what Halloween movies everyone makes a point of watching, I criminally left Re-Animator off my list. It’s a film that I have a blast watching every single time and when it’s over I always ask myself “why don’t I watch this more often?”.
I give it 5 Herbert Wests out of 5.