Monday, August 15, 2011
Directed by Stuart Gordon
Jeffrey Combs - Herbert West
Bruce Abbott - Daniel 'Dan' Cain
Barbara Crampton - Megan Halsey
A dedicated student at a medical college and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue when an odd new student arrives on campus.
The first time I was able to watch Re-Animator was when I was in high school. Yep, awkward times and situations abounded during that time, and I decided to try to become a wall flower to keep from being made fun of. Didn't work by the way. Anyway, one of my closest friends during the time invited me over to watch horror movies. That night was a double feature of Faces Of Death and Re-Animator. I'll remember it due to half-way through Faces Of Death my friend and I were both kinda grossed out by the movie and it was decided that to become un-grossed out was to order pizza. So we paused the movie and waited till said pizza got there then continued on with the movies for the night. Yep, greasy, extra cheese pizza was just what was needed to get through both movies as the deaths became more ridiculous and over the top, specially with Re-Animator and we laughed all the way through it. Okay, I'm positive I bored you all to death now, so on to the review!
Now this is more like Jeffrey Combs. Playing a kooky, and completely mad, character. Comb's portrayal of Herbert West is just a joy to watch. He doesn't try to ham up his performance by really over-doing it, instead he just plays West as someone that knows he is smart and everyone around him isn't nearly at his level. Yet it is when he's trying to cover his ass when the dead start messing things up is when he is the most fun as you see he always has a plan or is always thinking of the next step to take. Now when talking about this movie, David Gale as Dr. Carl Hill has to be mentioned. From his holier than thou demeanor at the start to his creepy almost deep psychosis of lust for the dean's daughter, Gale plays the character as just almost pure evil from the start. The movie probably wouldn't work if it wasn't for Gales sleazy, perverted performance, specially once he loses his head. Literally. Daniel Cane, played by Bruce Abbott, is the one downplayed character in the movie, and it works. Here is a person thrust into a weird situation that he has never even comprehended before until he meets West, and is then completely out of his league around him in every aspect except strength, which doesn't really matter when he is faced with the re-animated dead which are twice as strong as he is.
As for the look of the movie itself. For a low budget movie, it looked amazingly more expensive. This might have to do with there only really being 5 main sets, of which most are re-used throughout the movie. Yet this doesn't bother me a lot as what happens on screen grabs your full attention. The reason for this is because of the actors involved. While most movie makers would have tried to bring in more of a outrageous acting sensibility to all the characters, to me director Stuart Gordon it seems tried to reign in this possibility as just the premise of the movie should be enough. And it is thanks to Gordon that the movie is so over the top and doesn't care what people think, as not once does it try to apologize for what it does or is about to do. Part of this is the insane amount of gore throughout the entire run time of the movie. From the first eye popping scene to the last cut off arm, this movie is a gore hound's dream.
While the movie is based on a Lovecraft story, it becomes it's own entity due to the dark and tongue in cheek humor throughout, usually thanks to Combs' snide comments and off hand remarks. While the movie is far from perfect, mostly due to pacing issues and one really bad scene involving Abbott and Barbara Crampton. Good thing about that said scene is the attack on Abbott's character as it gets the story rolling again and doesn't let up, as it just gets all the more over the top and heady. If a movie like this is made now, it would have to be released on DVD only as no theater would have it in today's politically correct environment which is a shame as everyone needs a good movie to watch that doesn't take itself seriously and has violence just for the sake of violence.
Dr. Hill's eye piercing head-ache!
I was busy pushing bodies around as you well know and what would a note say, Dan? "Cat dead, details later"?
Re-Animator is a loose adaptation of the H. P. Lovecraft story Herbert West - Re-Animator.
The special effects department went through 25 gallons of fake blood during the shoot.
The first man who is re-animated at the morgue (who goes on to kill the dean) is Arnold Schwarzenegger's movie body double, Peter Kent.