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Re-Animator (1985)

Unrated | | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi | 18 October 1985 (USA)
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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.

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(story "Herbert West, Re-Animator"), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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David Gale ...
Robert Sampson ...
Gerry Black ...
Carolyn Purdy-Gordon ...
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Barbara Pieters ...
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Bunny Summers ...
Swiss Woman Doctor
Al Berry ...
Derek Pendleton ...
Swiss Policeman #1
Gene Scherer ...
Swiss Policeman #2
James Ellis ...
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Storyline

A medical student and his girlfriend become involved in a bizarre experiment into reanimating the dead conducted by the student's incorrigible housemate in this campy sendup of an H.P. Lovecraft story. The emphasis is on humour but once the dead walk, there is gore aplenty. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Death Is Just The Beginning... See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

18 October 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Hora dos Mortos Vivos  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(unrated) | (R-rated) | (extended edition)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film loosely adapts the first half of Lovecraft's original short story, including Herbert and Dan (who is unnamed in the story) meeting in medical school, Dean Halsey's death and reanimation, and the decapitation and reanimation of an authority figure to the doctors ("Dr. Hill" in the film and "Major Sir Eric Moreland Clapham-Lee" in the story). The next film, Bride of Re-Animator (1990), loosely adapts the second half of Lovecraft's story, including the two doctors reanimating corpses on a battlefield (WWI in the story and the Peruvian Civil War in the film), West's experiments with reanimating individual body parts, West going beyond just stealing cadavers and resorting to murder to get fresh corpses, an outbreak of West's former experiments from an insane asylum, the decapitated villain's head being delivered to West in a box, and finally West being dragged by his experiments into a series of cemetery catacombs through a wall in his basement. The third film of the series is named Beyond Re-Animator (2003) because it literally goes "beyond" Lovecraft's original story. See more »

Goofs

The bone saw that Dr. Hill uses to dissect the cadaver in class never rotates. See more »

Quotes

Herbert West: I know your work, Dr. Hill. Quite well. Your theory on the location of the will in the brain is... interesting. Though derivative of Dr. Gruber's research in the early 70s. So derivative in fact in Europe it's considered plagiarized.
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Connections

Referenced in Seven Dorms of Death (2015) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Greatest of All Lovecraft Interpretations
4 May 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

After learning all he can learn in Switzerland, Herbert West comes to America to study life and death. Can death be overcome? West thinks so, and with his reagent serum he might just prove to the world how right he is.

"Re-Animator" ranks at the very top of my all-time favorite horror movies. For a guy who has seen probably one thousand horror films, that's quite the accomplishment. For me, the film is paced perfectly, has plenty of gore, a fair amount of nudity (and a scene of sexuality you won't find elsewhere), some black comedy and a simple plot premise (a variation on the Frankenstein story).

This is the film that gave Jeffrey Combs his place in cult film history. On the basis of this movie alone, he is sought after to appear in other horror films and appear at horror conventions. Sure, some of his other films are pretty good, and he had an impressive run on both "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and "The 4400". But he will always be known as Herbert West. None of the other stars (David Gale, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton) has gone on to such a level of recognition.

The film has some flaws. The score, which is supposed to be an "homage" to "Psycho" sounds more like a blatant ripoff. And my biggest pet peeve is trying to find a complete copy of the film. I owned the longer, R-rated version on VHS. Now I own the shorter, unrated version on DVD (the Millennium Edition). I have yet to find one that combines the gore of the uncut version with the plot of the R-rated one (which I think really drives home the story and fleshes out the motives and power of Dr. Hill).

But the sheer fun of the film makes up for the flaws. Jeffrey Combs is clearly having plenty of fun, and the way they approach such things as the reanimated cat and the use of the reagent as an intravenous drug tells me they knew that the key was just letting a good time fly.

The people involved with this film (Combs, director Stuart Gordon and producer Brian Yuzna) went on to make a variety of other Lovecraft-inspired films. So I guess I have to thank the success of "Re-Animator" for giving them the chance to pursue these other projects (even the less wonderful ones like "Necronomicon" or "Dagon" (which many people like but I wasn't impressed)).

If you're a horror fan and haven't seen this, shame on you. You simply cannot have an in-depth conversation on horror without this film coming up. I urge you to check it out and decide for yourself. Can thousands of horror fans be wrong on this one? When have they steered you wrong before?


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