Re-Animator (1985)

re-animator poster 1985 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Furious, fast fun

Intentionally goofy story might not be for everyone

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Re-Animator

Studio:  Re-Animator Productions

Genre(s):  Horror/Comedy

Release Date(s):  October 18, 1985

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

re-animator herbert west jeffrey combs bruce abbott

You’re the worst roommate

Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) believe that he can conquer death, and with a new serum, he thinks that he can return the dead to life long after they have died.  As a new member of Miskatonic University, West finds himself facing off against Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale) who thinks his views are foolish and uneducated.  With his roommate and fellow student Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) unwillingly enlisted into his deadly endeavors against the wishes of his girlfriend Megan (Barbara Crampton) and her father Dr. Hasley (Robert Sampson), West sets out to prove the world of science wrong.  West is a man possessed and he will stop at nothing to show the world what he has discovered….and a series of horrors are about to unfold.

re-animator jeffrey comb herbert west decapitated body

What could go wrong?

Directed by Stuart Gordon, Re-Animator is a horror movie.  The film is an loose adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s story “Herbert West—Reanimator” which was first published in a magazine called Home Brew in 1922.  Gordon originally planned to turn the script into a stage play and then planned to shoot it in black-and-white.  The movie was released to positive reviews and has gained a cult following over the years.

I saw Re-Animator when it was relatively new.  My neighbor’s brother rented it and we watched it with him because at the time we would watch any horror we could find being kids.  Re-Animator was one of those films that stuck with me because it was kind of scary, gory, and funny at the same time.

re-animator decapitated head david gale barbara crampton

I’m gonna get me some of that!

Re-Animator gets some comparisons to Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead due to the similar humor tones and gore.  The movie is quite ruthless with dissected bodies running around all over the place naked.  Though I do like the script, I don’t love the story.  The story is kind of goofy and I think it gets a little sidetracked with the melodrama romance between Dan and Megan (when the anti-social Hill is obviously the real star).  The script however snappy and well written and has maintained over the years.

The movie relies heavily on Jeffrey comes who plays the rather snarky, pompous, and unlikable Herbert West.  Despite this, you do like his character, and I wanted the film to be more about him.  I found Bruce Abbott and Barbara Crampton and their characters to be like dramatic versions of Brad and Janet from The Rocky Horror Picture Show who were a bit too bland.  Robert Sampson (who played Megan’s father) is a pretty cliché dean but does show range once he’s zombie-fied.  The other star however is David Gale who’s headless Dr. Hill (and leering face in a pan) helped provide laughs during the gore.

re-animator robert sampson david gale

An eye-popping good time!

The real pull of the movie is the effects and gore.  The movie was like a much classier version of a cheap grindhouse film.  The movie also seems to pay homage to classic ’50s horror like Tales from the Crypt which often has a sci-fi horror blend with neon green glowing liquids and almost cartoon-like corpses.  It is a lot of fun and the visuals just get crazier and crazier as the movie goes on.

Re-Animator is a classic.  It does have faults, but it is a fun horror film.  Though I find it to be very cartoon and unrealistic violence, some might have problems stomaching the movie, so it isn’t for the squeamish.  The movie originally was rated X, but the R-Rated version still readily available.  The movie was turned into a stage play and Re-Animator was followed by a sequel Bride of Re-Animator in 1990.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response