Re-Animator (1985) Poster

(1985)

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8/10
Tons of campy fun.
Michael DeZubiria3 February 2005
Ah, finally a horror camp classic that deserves to be called a horror camp classic. Re-Animator is one of those fun horror movies that is so over the top that it is just a lot of fun to watch, kind of like the spectacular Evil Dead films, although not quite to that same level of skillful horror/comedy mix. Ironically enough, I think it should be a testament to the quality of the rest of the movie that it is able to work so well despite prominently featuring a soundtrack that is a naked rip-off of the Psycho soundtrack. It's amazing to me that Richard Bond, the music composer, didn't think anyone would notice him plagiarizing one of the most famous movie soundtracks in cinematic history, but luckily everyone else in the production was right on the mark.

Jeffrey Combs delivers a wonderfully crazy performance as Herbert West, the scientist in the movie who is determined that he has discovered a scientific method to beat death, and is desperate to try it out on a human being rather than small animals, on whom he has had remarkable success. He is playing a completely one-dimensional character, a genius scientist whose mental capacity is also tinged with madness, but which is counterbalanced by the fact that he may very well be desperate to try something potentially immoral but which could also potentially revolutionize medicine. Maybe his intentions are good after all, but for the purposes of the film, he just wants to get his hands on some fresh corpses, which is a great premise for a horror film.

The movie operates in its own world, like the Evil Dead films did. It takes place in the horror genre but wants to combine some elements of drama as well, as we have a real scientist who is truly brilliant. He is still in medical school, I believe, but is often smarter than his often-published professors, criticizing their work for being incorrect or even plagiarized. He's very quick to make enemies, I would think his line of work might be easier the less people he had watching him, so it's unfortunate that he was so good at making people not like him. Mere days after he rents out a room from a couple of other students, they find their cat dead in his refrigerator. I hate it when new roommates do that.

There is plenty of gratuitous nudity in the film, and while I appreciate nudity as much as the next guy, I don't like it when it drives a weak film, and that is certainly not the case here. There is a graphic and highly disturbing nude scene three quarters or so through the film that made me literally cringe and turn my head, not because of gore but by the sheer disturbing idea of it, it was awful. But the thing that I loved is that that scene fits in with the rest of this movie so well. It is all about too much gore and too much blood and too much nudity, but also lots of laughs. This is a perfect example of how much fun scary movies can be.
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9/10
The Academy Award for best use of a headless corpse goes to...
clydestuff8 April 2004
Most of the cheap or not so cheaply made horror films these days are nothing more than a tedious exercise in how to bump off as many teenagers in as many different ways as one can imagine in ninety minutes or less. One need only watch recent films such as Wrong Turn or the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre to realize how far the horror genre has fallen. Once John Carpenter made the first Halloween film, we have been subject to an endless series of copy cat films whose only purpose seems to be finding an imaginative way to slice and dice the local teenage population. All of the Freddies, Jasons, and Michael Myers films combined don't come close to having an ounce of the entertainment and imagination of Producer Brian Yuzna and Director and Writer Stuart Gordon's Re-animator.

Professor Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) is a scientist who has discovered a formula which brings the dead back to life by reanimating their tissue. After an experiment in Switzerland goes awry, he moves to Miskatonic University to continue his experiments. One thing Professor West isn't and that is modest. He even takes a few moments to ridicule a professor, Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale) when he disagrees with him about when death actually occurs. He eventually rents a room from fellow student Dan Cain (Bruce Abbot). Dan is dating Megan Halsey (Barbara Crampton) who is the daughter of the college dean, Alan Halsey (Robert Sampson). What Dan doesn't know is that the aforementioned Dr. Hill has a perverted eye on Megan also. We know this because of the sleazy stares Dr. Hill eyeballs her with when ever she's around. Think of Megan as being an overage Lolita and Dr. Hill as Humbert Humbert and you've got the idea. All of this is not window dressing as it would be in some other films. It all comes into play very nicely. It goes without saying that sooner or later, Dr. West will be making good use of his reanimation formula, in ways only those with the most grotesque sense of humor can imagine. To say any more than that would deny you of the true pleasures of this film.

How can a film that is so explicitly graphic and perverted in nature be fun? It's because every person involved in the making of Re-Animator was smart enough not to take it too seriously themselves. Everything in this film is so wildly over the top, that you can't help but chuckle right along with them as they wink their eye at you. There may be certain moments of the film that would normally sicken even the most hardcore horror film fanatic, but since Yuzna and Gordon never once let Re-animator sink into the tedious by the numbers game of other films of these nature, these same scenes become intentionally cartoonish and silly.

But more than anything, this film owes it's life to it's cast. Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West should serve as the model for anyone wanting to make a film involving a mad or semi-mad scientist. Given this kind of role, there is many an actor who would have been tempted to ham it up and alas in many horror films they do just that. However, when Combs seems to imply that he is the smartest man on the planet and the rest of us are Neanderthal, we don't hate him for this implication at all. He is so good at making us believe he is the smartest man since Einstein and we are all nothing but Cro-magnon man by comparison that we love him for it just the same. He may be crazy, but he's a fun kind of crazy.

David Gale as the smarmy Dr. Hill, is a joy to watch also. He has some of the most ridiculous scenes in the film yet somehow manages to keep a straight face through it all. He gives new life to the old saying about not losing your head over a piece of tail.

Bruce Abbot as Dan Cain is the perfect contrast for West. He is a straight arrow, is madly in love with Megan, yet somehow lets himself become involved in West's experiments. Abbot also is smart enough to know that the center of this film is West, and never once overplays his role to try and overshadow him. As for Barbara Crampton, she should have won some kind of award, just for the abuse the producers put her through as Megan. Is there an award for most abuse of a female by the walking dead?

Re-animator was made on a budget of less than a million dollars which is truly remarkable. There isn't a film budget in the world though that can replace the imagination and daring rampant through out Re-Animator. And when a horror film is that well done, and is something all the Freddies, and Jasons, And Michael Myers can only dream about, I have no choice but to give it my grade which for Re-Animator is an A.
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Modern Horror Classic
bnl7714 March 2004
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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10/10
A true horror/gore classic
preppy-33 May 2003
Very loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft's story "Herbert West: Re-Animator"

Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) is new at Misketonic University in the (fictional) town of Arkham MA. He rooms with nice guy Dan (Bruce Abbott) but Dan's girlfriend Meg (Barbara Crampton) doesn't trust him. And evil Dr. Hill (the late David Gale) hates him. It seems West has a glowing green/yellow potion that brings the dead back to life...but they always come back in a foul mood. But he hasn't tried it on humans...yet...

Boy, do I miss the 80s! Back then they could make extremely gory, sick, violent, unrated films like this and get them to play at mainstream theatres. I saw this opening night in Boston back in 1985--it was unrated and no one under 18 was allowed in the theatre. The audience was quiet at first, but as the violence and gore escelated and the black humor kicked in, the audience came alive. People were screaming, yelling, laughing...just about everything! Especially during a sequence between Crampton and Gale which just went way over the boundaries of good taste. It was just great! The movie is fun on its own, but with the right type of audience it really comes alive.

The film has extreme gore...probably the goriest movie of its decade. It also has huge doses of black humor and the whole cast blessedly plays it straight...it they had winked at the camera once it would have destroyed the film.

The film also has a tight, well-written script (it runs 86 minutes), is well directed by Stuart Gordon and has a great cast--David Gale (sadly no longer with us) was fantastic as the evil Hill. Jeffrey Combs plays West just perfect--we see his obsession with the potion but Combs never overplays it. Abbott is somewhat bland but plays a very good hero. Crampton is just excellent as Meg--sexy, smart and very brave. Also Robert Sampson adds strong support as Meg's father.

Basically a must-see for any horror fan. Also a great score and I LOVE the ending! Don't miss this one!

Try to see the Special Edition DVD--it shows deleted scenes that flesh out the story more.
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8/10
hilarious!
tripperM26 October 2000
When i first saw re-animator in 85, i was aghast and appalled. i just didn't get it. i was a classic horror fan; so when i heard the obvious rip from psycho's theme, it irritated me even more.

well, now i'm an older, wiser horror fan. i just saw it again for the first time since 85 and i laughed my bum off! homage, homage, homage! honouring everything from hitchcock to raimi, from day of the dead to frankenstein. this in-your-face send off is a great double feature with dead alive. jeffery combs' over the top performance is reminiscent of colin clive and cronenberg found his very own ash in bruce abbott. so sit back, relax (as much as you can...) and enjoy re-animator.
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9/10
The Greatest of All Lovecraft Interpretations
gavin69424 May 2007
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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A classic of the 80's-a rare thing
joeyramone7810 October 2001
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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An unquestionable classic! For me it's still the best horror-comedy ever made.
Infofreak18 April 2003
While many horror movies have strong doses of humour in them (from 'Bride Of Frankenstein' to 'Dawn Of The Dead', 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' to 'From Dusk Til Dawn'), there's very few actual horror-comedies I enjoy. 'Motel Hell' is one exception, Frank Henenlotter's movies, especially 'Frankenhooker' are others, but to my mind Stuart Gordon's 'Re-Animator' is by far the most original and entertaining one ever made in my opinion. This movie put Gordon on the map and also made Jeffrey Combs into a worldwide cult figure. Combs is absolutely brilliant as Herbert West, one of the most memorable mad scientists in horror history, and the rest of the supporting cast - Bruce Abbott, David Gale, and the lovely Barbara Crampton - are all excellent. Gordon uses H.P. Lovecraft's West stories as a jumping off point for some grotesque and genuinely funny moments that once seen are never forgotten, particularly THAT scene between Crampton and Gale, which is now the stuff of legend, though beware it is cut from some versions of the movie. Make sure you see the uncut version of 'Re-Animator' whatever you do! Gordon went on to make some other Lovecraft adaptations, some good, some not so good, but 'Re-Animator' was the first and is still in my opinion the best. Highly recommended fun which gets better and better as the years go by! This movie is an unquestionable horror classic!
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8/10
Death Is Just the Beginning
Claudio Carvalho12 October 2010
In Austria, the medical student Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) develops a serum to resuscitate the dead while working with a famous scientist that mysteriously dies. Herbert travels to Massachusetts and his application is accepted by the Miskatonic Medical University Dean Alan Halsey (Robert Sampson); then he moves to the basement of the house of Daniel 'Dan' Cain (Bruce Abbott), a medical student that is seeking a roommate to share his expenses and that is in love with Alan's daughter Megan Halsey (Barbara Crampton). When Megan's cat disappears, she finds it dead in Herbert's refrigerator. Later, Daniel hears a cat and Herbert screaming and he sees the cat alive violently attacking Herbert and they kill the animal again. Herbert invites Daniel to work with him, but Megan sees the bizarre experiment and tells her father that expels the students from the University. But Herbert and Daniel go to the morgue to find a corpse to revive and they are surprised by the dean that is murdered by a resurrected man. Herbert injects the re-animating fluid in Alan that revives but the envious and greedy Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale) wants his formula to become famous.

"Re-Animator" is one of my favorite cult-movie and I have just watched it again at least for the sixth time (last time I saw it was on 21 March 2000). This funny and gore B-movie has excellent special effects and made Jeffrey Combs worshiped for the rest of his career. Barbara Crampton is very beautiful and the scene in the laboratory with she naked and Dr. Carl Hill beheaded is one of the funniest I have ever seen. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Re-Animator"

Note: On 26 August 2012, I saw this film again, now on DVD.

Note: On 25 June 2015, I saw this movie again.
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10/10
The H.P. Lovecraft adaptation that defined horror/comedy.
kclipper17 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Writer/Director, Stuart Gordon along with Producer, Brian Yuzna and the perfect cast including Bruce Abbott, Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton collaborate on what is probably the most dementedly hilarious horror/comedy of the 1980's. Based on H.P. Lovecraft's ahead-of-its-time six-part novelette, "Herbert West - Re-animator", this is an example of the kind of movie that made the mid-1980's such landmark time for this type of genre. Its gory to the extreme, and provides more comic relief for fans of morbid humor than any other film of its peculiar stature.

Stuart Gordon keeps true to Lovecraft's unique style and locations, including the fictionally infamous, Miskatonic Medical School in Arkham, Massachusetts, where this crazy film takes place. Herbert West, perfectly portrayed by Jeffrey Combs invents a serum that can resurrect organisms after subsequent brain death, but the effects are catastrophic for med student Bruce Abbott and pretty girlfriend, Barbara Crampton as the bodies turn out to be mindless, violent zombies. Stuart Gordon adds plenty of excellent additives to Lovecraft's original story including a sub-plot with actor, David Gale as an acclaimed professor who steals West's ideas on reanimation.

This is Lovecraft's already twisted story adapted into a non-stop display of madness and gore with great performances from a cast that clearly appreciates the subject matter. Jeffrey Combs is to Herbert West such as Anthony Hopkins is to Hannibal Lecter in one of the best character performances in horror movie history. Its zany, horrific and downright entertaining especially for fans of Lovecraft's bizarre cosmic science fiction. Great dialog, gallons of blood, intestines attacking like a hungry python and a talking severed head going down on poor Crampton while she's immobilized are just of the few hilarious highlights of this uproarious film. Followed by "Bride of Re-animator" and the equally effective "Beyond Re-animator". This is an absolute classic.
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8/10
great if you like gore
killer-cortez17 July 2006
The Re-animator is one of those movies that if you like gore and nudity your going to love it. Jeffery Combs is great as Dr Herbert West the crazy med student who can re-animate the dead. It is in really funny in dark humor sort of way. All the gore effects are top notch. Avoid the R rated version because you miss almost all the gore and some of the nudity. This is based on H.P. Lovecraft story which was also really good. This isn't the only adaptation of Lovecraft the Stuart Gordon has done, he also did from beyond (which I still need to see) And Dreams in witch house for the masters of horror show and that was really good too. The best part of all is that Gordon is doing another one and hopeful it will be as good as this one.
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10/10
Grand Guignol
Jason Forestein28 October 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I like to think of Re-Animator as a prime example of the french art-form, the Grand Guignol - a puppet show meant to disturb the audience. Viewing this film as such, rather than as a straight horror film (a film that's meant to terrify), I think raises its stature.

Taken as a horror film, Re-Animator would really not qualify as anything other than yet another gruesome sort of zombie movie. Anyone who has seen this film, though, knows that Re-Animator is not your run-of-the-mill Romero knock-off, not your ordinary horror film. It's unique.

There's something off-kilter about this flick, something very, very funny, and also something quite disturbing. Re-Animator (spoilers maybe), with its demonic cat, provides an instance of intense slapstick at which the audience laughs. Simultaneously, the audience must also feel revulsion both at what's taking place on screen and at themselves. Surely, a cat, it's neck broken for the sake of science and brought back to life only to die an even worse death is not something to laugh at. Yet it's staged like an old 3 Stooges episode. The film-makers undoubtedly understand this, desire to make their audience uncomfortable, and do a commendable job. Like all great Grand Guignol, then, it thoroughly disturbs.

The cunnilingus performed by the severed head provides a similar moment.

Viewed as a Grand Guignol, and an experiment in creating a distraught audience, Re-Animator succeeds admirably. It's an excellent movie, highly entertaining, and worth seeking out.

8/10
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10/10
Re-Animated My Interest In Horror
neil-59128 December 2007
I believe that horror films are dead, like so many victims shown in the movies themselves, horror movies have been killed off in a violent fashion. It's true, I can assure you. True horror films have been dead for some time. They died when 'Scream' made them self aware.

Nowadays, horror movies are made with cookie cutters and specific ingredients. They are a collection of make-up artists trying to out-gore each other and idiotic characters who are so poorly written that you just know that the real thing the writers were working on was how to get the required nudity into the script so that somebody might produce it.

But, a long time ago...

There was 'Re-Animator'! Gore! Zombies! Mad scientists! And, of course, nudity! But there was also something that I haven't seen in some time... a story. In the old days, they had a thing called a story and the other thing they had was characters who do things as a part of that story.

You see, horror films are often ridiculous. Sometimes they try to hide that fact. Sometimes it works, like, 'The Sixth Sense' which was so engaging I forgot it was essentially a horror movie. Most of the time it doesn't work, like 'Cabin Fever' or 'Descent' or well, forget it. It just doesn't work and we'll leave it at that.

But 'Re-Animator' works. On every level. I think it's because it knows that it's ridiculous but it just plows on through anyway. If you are going to make a movie about talking severed heads, mad scientists and zombies you have to know that the Academy is very likely to overlook you. But why not go for it? Every scene, every moment, they go for it! And Jeffrey Combs? He steals every second of every scene he is in, even when there is a beautiful naked woman there, you just can't stop watching him. He's nuts, man. It's fantastic!

10 out of 10. No winking at the audience on this one.
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Horror-comedy injects a healthy dose of irreverence
pooch-88 January 1999
Stuart Gordon should be chided for allowing Richard Band to ape the great Bernard Herrmann's Psycho score in his music for Re-Animator, but don't let the similarity distract you: this is a wildly entertaining movie. Loosely based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft, Re-Animator succeeds primarily because Gordon's affection for over-the-top situations is so obvious: you can just see how much fun he had putting this thing together. The now legendary scene where the severed head of Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale) licks with feverish audacity the unwilling flesh of the dazed and shackled Megan Halsey (Barbara Crampton) while her own lobotomized father stands watching is just one in a galaxy of great examples. Also of note: hilarious performance by the gifted Jeffrey Combs.
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9/10
Scenes That Should Never Have Been Deleted
disinterested_spectator28 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
There are two mad scientists at Miskatonic University, and that is one too many. First, there is Dr. Carl Hill, a member of the faculty, who is motivated by lust, fame, and power. Not unsurprisingly for a man driven by such strong passions, the principal goal of his research is the location of the will in the brain.

The other mad scientist is Herbert West, a medical student. West is dedicated to the truth, and cares nothing about women or fame. The principal goal of his research is reanimation, bringing dead people back to life, for which he has a reagent. West is so cold and devoid of sympathy that he is indifferent to the pain he causes when he reanimates the dead, supposing himself to be doing them a favor.

West is openly contemptuous of Hill, whose intellect he regards as inferior to his own. Hill finds out about West's reagent and tries to coerce West into letting Hill get credit for it. While Hill's back is turned, West chops his head off. Then he reanimates the separated head and body. The body knocks West out and then picks up the head and bowl it is in, which is filled with reagent. All this leads to a final struggle between these two mad scientists, with Hill in control of reanimated corpses from the morgue. The movie is replete with hilarious horror and gore, including Hill's body holding Hill's head so that it can violate the Dean's daughter.

It is unfortunate that the director's cut resulted in many deleted scenes that should have been left in. First of all, these include scenes that make it clear that Hill has mesmeric powers. It is fitting that the man whose research focuses on the location of the will in the brain should have the power to control the will of others. More importantly, it helps us understand why Hill has so much influence over Dean Halsey; we understand how he can control his own body with his severed head; and we understand how he can control the corpses he has reanimated. Without these scenes of mesmerism, we don't fully understand how he can do these things.

Second, several of the deleted scenes further develop West's character. Both in his physical appearance and his manner, he reminds me of Dean Stockwell's portrayal of Judd in "Compulsion." Judd, of course, was that movie's version of Leopold in the notorious Loeb and Leopold case, in which two psychopathic geniuses decide to commit the perfect crime in order to prove they are Nietzschean supermen. Without seeing the deleted scenes, I might not have made that connection.

Third, there is a great scene where West is discussing with Dan, his roommate, what they are going to do about Dr. Hill. West seems to be bothered in some way, and he lurches to the bathroom. When Dan goes to see what West is doing, he finds him with a syringe of reagent, about to mainline himself. West assures him it is just a weak solution, just enough to keep the brain sharp, so he won't have to sleep. Dan helps his shoot up, after which West is all pumped up and ready to go.

The director said he deleted these scenes because he felt that they slowed down the pacing, and that is a shame. The scenes are included in the second disk of the DVD, and it is worth making the effort to watch them. Not every deleted scene should have been kept in, of course. The dream sequence, in particular, does not belong in the movie, and its deletion was appropriate.

It is still a great movie, but with some of those deleted scenes left in, it would have been greater still.
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9/10
Great Movie! (spoilers)
John Johnson25 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
(SPOILERS)

I had the luxury of seeing this film around Halloween 2012 as part of a marathon of horror (Horrorama) movies at the Englewood Theatre in Dayton, Ohio. Quality films like this will definitely bring me back to the place for 2013.

I had never heard of the film, and looking back on it now, that's quite amazing. The film starts out in Switzerland, and my love of German Culture (German Switzerland counts) really got my interest piqued. The mysterious beginning had me hooked. What was going on? Strange medical experiments, mad scientists! What's next?

The character of Megan was great! Any fine looking actress gets my interest and being a medical student myself, I really felt for the pair.

The film progresses and we get to know the pair and the life at Miskatonic University. What a great New England name!

There's a great scene with the pencils in the cadaver lab. That scene alone is worth the effort.

Herbert West does a really good job. I simultaneously feel his passion to continue researching, and hate him enough for him to be villainous. The ending is great too! What can we ask more than to truly empathize with the character and hope for a sequel?

(SPOILERS)
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8/10
Some corpses just won't lie still...
Paul Magne Haakonsen24 November 2012
Despite being from 1985, "Re-Animator" is still a really great horror movie, nay a classic horror movie, I dare say. Why? Well there are different factors adding up to this; it is based on the H. P. Lovecraft story and it has Jeffrey Combs starring in it. This was actually one of the first movies that I saw with Jeffrey Combs and what made me become a fan of his work and acting.

The story in "Re-Animator", to those unfamiliar with the timeless work of Lovecraft, is about Herbert West (played by Jeffrey Combs) whose study in reanimating dead tissue goes awry and drunk with power, the scientist craves for more specimens to conduct his experiments on. But reanimating is not enough for West, and he starts to dabble in crossing living matter and animating it to life. Helping him with the ghastly work is his roommate Dan (played by Bruce Abbott).

Sure, the effects in the movie are ridiculously outdated and crude by todays standards, but back then they were quite good and actually were impressive to look at. When you see it today, the effects make the movie appear campy and sort of goofy, but still the movie is driven by the solid story and not the visual effects.

"Re-Animator" spawned two sequels which also were quite good, and they were all part of a great many movies that Jeffrey Combs starred in that were based on the work of H. P. Lovecraft. I thoroughly enjoyed the movies back then, despite not being more than a teenager at the time, and I still enjoy them this day today.

Being an avid fan of H. P. Lovecraft's writing, this movie (and many others based on his work) are so far from doing the immortal writer any kind of justice at all. But take it for what it is, a movie meant for entertainment that is based on his work. Keep movie and books separate as two different medias and outlets of information; one does no justice to the other.

It was a shame that the fourth movie in the series never came to see the light of day, but one can still hope that the project will eventually come to be completed.
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10/10
A horror legend
JosephCurwenJr5 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie in theaters when I was 16, I saw it 9 times in 4 days ... It has some dark humor, lots of blood, some nudity, more blood, great (I mean really great) acting by Jeffrey Combs ... Inspired by a 5 page novel by HP Lovecraft where Herbert West invents a formula than can make the dead come back to life, it ends with the dead tearing his body apart in the end (like we see Dr Halsey being dismembered by the mob of undead), it takes liberties into putting the theme in modern day society. The introduction scene where West works with Dr. Gruber, introduces us to the strange experiments West does. Then the opening credits with the somewhat light classical music and images of body parts as they study them in med school. We then see "Arkham" university - Akham is a town where a lot of Lovecraft stories take place. We soon understand that West is a very strange individual, who has left his humanity in the closet, and his new friend Danny is a "normal" teenager enjoying life with his girlfriend. But of course things start to change with West reanimating Dan's dead cat (the scene in the basement is astounding, with West reanimating the poor cat after, saying : he's screaming because he comes back to life! - he then takes the part of the mad scientist in the old black and white movies). Then horror and blood escalates, yet with some character development for the main cast and the villain, Dr. Karl Hill : even with his head cut, he can lust for Meg and fulfill his desire of power. Stuart Gordon manages to take us into a maddening story where suspense is present, characters are likable (even West sometimes) and gore is at its best. Jeffrey Combs helps a lot, building a cold, science driven med student, and we can perceive a reflexion about the limits of medical experimentation (on humans or animals). Definitely a must see!
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9/10
Amazingly outrageous horror-comedy
Nigel_Tufnel18 June 2002
Being the directorial debut of Stuart Gordon, Re-Animator is an amazing mixture of jolting horror and pitch black humor. The thing is, it actually works! This is one of the few horror films from the eighties that actually still provides jolts to this day. Based on H.P. Lovecraft's group of novels entitled, "Herbert West: Re-Animator", the film combines all of the novels into one great film. Jeffrey Combs and a group of relative unknowns give great performances which anchor the film. The only thing about this film is its graphic gore and brief "head scene" with actress Barbara Crampton which may make it a bit tough to take at times, but it's well worth it.

Rating: 8/10
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Hilarious and Dark, the best combination
thechudbaby1 June 2002
I bought this movie after reading a review, it must be one of the greatest horror comedies of all time! If you, like myself, thought that Evil Dead II was hilarious just go ahead and watch this one. Very sarcastic, probably the best Lovecraft movie.
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9/10
A crazily enjoyable treat.
miloc7 March 2002
Warning: Spoilers
This wonderful movie has, over the course of multiple viewings, evolved into one of my true favorites. I can't exactly say it's in the tradition of Welles, Bergman, Fellini, or so forth, but I will happily call it a minor classic.

Why? It's funny. Not campy, just plain funny. The dialogue is sharp, the cast is wonderful (all around; a rarity in low-budget horror), the pacing and structure work smoothly, and the effects are, well, cheap, but somehow it just doesn't matter. High praise to Jeffrey Combs, as West (That's "West. Herbert West."), who takes his place with Colin Clive as Dr. Frankenstein, Brian Donlevy as Professor Quatermass, Ernest Thesiger as Dr. Pretorius, and a few select others as one of the greatest mad scientists in history. (Two of the film's funniest moments spring from West's highly inappropriate sense of humor.) And also to Bruce Abbott, who engagingly holds his own as West's increasingly worried straight man.

As West's behavior grows more and more hilariously irresponsible, his experiments go more and more out of control, and the film gets wilder and wilder, you just sit back in joy and watch the sparks fly. The film travesties H. P. Lovecraft, who possibly never cracked a joke in his life, and in the process sideswipes every pulp/sci-fi/horror cliche in the book. (The climax of the film

**************SLIGHT SPOILER******************

takes the pulp cliche of the distressed heroine's "fate worse than death" to a level that has to be seen to be believed, and then smartly one-ups it.)

**************END OF SPOILER******************

Obviously, those who have a problem with gore may wish to avoid this film, though I may say that the bloodshed, for all its explicitness, becomes pretty hard to take seriously.

In any case, this film makes me happy. Cheers! And may it live, and re-live, forever!
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10/10
"Cat dead-details later"
Backlash0077 December 2001
Exploding eyeballs, zombie cats, re-animation serums, and talking heads. If this is the kind of crazy stuff that goes on at Miskatonic University, then I want to attend. When the violins cue up in the Psycho-esque musical intro you know you're in for a treat. Re-animator takes horror and black humor to new levels of gruesomeness and hilarity. It's Frankenstein on acid. There's gore galore and zombies run wild as our heroes go from one escapade to the next. The heroes of course are Jeffrey Combs and Bruce Abbott. They're perfect. Jeffrey Combs' portrayal of Dr. Herbert West is definitely a memorable one. Combs is at his creepiest as the title character, yet very likable and Abbott plays the genuine good guy role of Dr. Cain. Some of the scenes are unforgettable; the basement scene with the swinging light and epic climax in the morgue to name a few. I love the ending as well. Re-animator is altogether one of the best horror films ever. Combs, director Stuart Gordon, and producer Brian Yuzna make for an unbeatable combination. Look for the unrated version so you can see the infamous "head" scene.
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8/10
Tilsit, Nearly Limburger.
clavallie10 June 2001
This cult classic is one of the cheesiest and most darkly humorous horror flicks ever made. It has some of the most macabre funny scenes ever put on film. Why the dreadful and lackluster "Bride of ReAnimator" is available on DVD and this is not is beyond me. If you enjoyed Ken Russel's "The Lair of the White Worm" or the Rami's "Army of Darkness", you'll love this cheese-fest of a movie. Like most pungent cheeses, its best with alcoholic beverages!
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