Obsessed with the idea of overcoming the obstacle of death and determined to vindicate himself by backing up his theory, the ambitious medical student, Herbert West, arrives in New England, after the horrific incident at the Institute of Medicine in Switzerland. Before long, Herbert will pick up where he left off--at first, experimenting with dead feline tissue, and then, with fresh human cadavers--talking his sceptic roommate, Dan Cain, into joining his audacious project. Inevitably, as the two young scientists burrow deeper and deeper into uncharted territories, the campus will start brimming with West's reanimated corpses, catching the eye of his arch-nemesis, Dr Hill, who yearns to take credit for this astounding discovery. The dead will rise again, even with a bit of help; however, can the young re-animator harness the power of his phosphorescent green reagent?Written by
Considering the 70's was a decade of monumental proportions as far as films went, it was a shame the 80's had to produce such dreck, especially where horror films are concerned. In the 70's we had "The Exorcist", "Halloween", "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Phantasm"-just to name a few. The 80's did produce a small but stellar group of classics, however, including "Evil Dead" 1 & 2, "A Nightmare On Elm Street", "An American Werewolf In London" and, of course, "Re-Animator". Like "Werewolf" and the "Evil Dead" films, part of "Re-Animator"'s success and notoriety is the film's deliciously sinister blend of horror and humor. Wait let me correct that-perverse horror and sick humor. In accordance with the decade that birthed it, this film is typically over the top and totally gratuitous, pulling out all the stops at every turn. Jeffrey Combs heads a great cast as Herbert West, a strange and eccentric but brilliant young doctor/scientist who has perfected a syrum that can reanimate the dead. Circumstances get out of hand when a medical student and his fiance (Bruce Abbott & Barbara Crampton) get involved in West's work and a plagarist rival doctor (David Gale) plots to steal his idea. Horror and hilarity ensue from there on, thanks to imaginitive visual effects coupled with clever dialogue. For nitpickers like myself there are a few minor inconsistencies in the screenplay, but it does very little to hinder the film. Ironically, several scenes that wound up on the cutting room floor (included on the dvd) would have fleshed out those minor story flaws, but they were excised-and probably rightly so-in the name of pacing. Besides, any flaws in writing are easily forgotten about thanks to the terrific performances. Here is a cast that really brought the characters "to life" so to speak; Combs as the nerdy scientist and Gale's lecherous Dr. Hill are both standouts. And Stuart Gordon's strong direction holds the whole thing together even when the film threatens to be crushed by it's own outlandishness. For those interested, check out the sequel "Bride of Re-Animator" that followed 4 years later. It doesn't hold a candle to this one, but it's plenty of fun in it's own right.
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