The work of writer H. P. Lovecraft has influenced a generations of filmmakers but there have been very few actually good adaptations of his work. Re-Animator is a very loose adaptation of Lovecraft’s story Herbert West–Reanimator and while it’s a loose adaptation it’s one of the best adaptations of Lovecraft’s work. It’s certainly one of the more fun films.
Director Stuart Gordon made the film on a pretty low budget but made the most of it. Originaly Gordon was going to make a stage play and then he was going to make the story into a TV pilot (which is pretty hard to believe once you’ve seen the film). From there it was made into a feature film.
Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) has been experimenting with a new formula that he has created called reagent, a glowing florescent green liquid that reanimates the dead. West had tried to bring his dead professor back to life in Switzerland but the results were catastrophic. West has now joined the Miskatonic University to continue his studies and clashes with Dean Alan Halsey (Robert Sampson) and his teacher Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale) there. West also takes up residence with fellow student Dan Crain (Bruce Abbott). He shows Dan his experiments, including bringing back Dan’s cat back to life again with horrifying results.
When Dean Alan Halsey confronts West and Dan while they are reanimating a corpse in the morgue, Halsey sadly gets killed. But West resurrects him and pretends that nothing has happened. Dr. Hill examines Halsey and finds out that he’s dead. Hill lobotomizes Halsey to keep him docile and less zombie like. Hill then goes over to West and demand that he turn over the reagent and his notes so Hill can take credit for West’s discoveries. This doesn’t sit well with West and he kills Hill by chopping off his head with a shovel. Then West being West he reanimates Hill’s head and body. Then things start getting worse.
Re-Animator is kind of similar to Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead movies with the combinations of horror, gore and comedy. The movie is gory, gruesome, terrifying and fun. Two sequels were made without Stuart Gordon and they are okay but they don’t compare to the original. Here is my original post.