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
The astute viewer will immediately pick up on the tone of Re-Animator. The introduction (added to the film at the last minute before its release) is a glimpse of the over-the-top nature of the entire production. If one were to be frightened by this intro, he or she will be comforted by the playful cheer of the opening title music. The score was heavily inspired by the famous Psycho score, a classic by Bernard Herrmann.
The movie, inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's `Herbert West: Re-Animator', follows a simple plot. Herbert West (played to precise pitch perfection by Jeffrey Combs who, like Bruce Campbell, is a B-Movie legend) is new at Miskatonic Medical University. Immediately, Herbert clashes with Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale) on the subject of `brain death'.
At the same time, Dan Cain (Bruce Abbot) is looking for a roommate. He is also dating Dean Alan Halsey's (Robert Sampson) daughter, Megan (Barbara Crampton). When Herbert West shows up at Dan's door one night during a `study' session, Megan is immediately suspicious. Why is Herbert so anxious to move in? Why is he so interested in the basement?
It is not long before the cat is dead, re-animated and dead again. The early scenes of violence are disturbing and hilarious at the same time and are only a taste of what is to come. Dan tries to resist the temptation of power inherent in the re-animating fluid, but is sucked into Herbert's mad world of life giving.
There is a turn of events about halfway through the film (which I would be crazy to spoil) that almost screams to the viewer, `We aren't playing by the rules here.' The storyline twists its way to the famous conclusion that, if you haven't heard of it, will leave you breathless. Even if you know what is going to happen, when you finally see it, in all of it's gory, sexual glory you understand why this classic has achieved such a status. The finale of the film is twisted in so many ways it's impossible to count.
Obviously, I loved the movie. Having never been anything but a horror fan, I cannot say it will suit everyones' tastes. The film is so over-the-top that the outrageous gore becomes less and less shocking. The timid viewer may want to shy away from this masterpiece. Anyone with even the slightest curiosity should seek this movie out.
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