by Lisa Dib
A box-office success, 1985’s Re-animator is short, simple and bloody - all you ever really want from a no-nonsense horror movie.
The film centers around scientist Herbert West (a magnificently unsettling Jeffrey Combs) who has created a ‘regeneration’ serum that brings the dead back to life. The viewer naturally assumes him to be the villain of the piece as he brashly insults others and basically gets around being cocky and weird. Of course, events play out such that West teams up with Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) to test his serum on ‘fresh’ corpses. Madness, of course, ensues. Screenwriters Stuart Gordon (From Beyond), William J. Norris and Dennis Paoli (Masters of Horror), with Gordon also directing, sought to create a bloody, grotesque, bizarre adaptation of HP Lovecraft’s 1921 novella Herbert West - Reanimator. And boy did they do that.
The film takes a whole bunch of ideas, throws them at the wall, covers them in blood and fake intestine and pumps in Richard Band’s terrifying score. Because, why the hell not? There’s also a deeply upsetting performance from David Gale as Dr Carl Hill, a villainous pervert neurosurgeon - he’s real nasty, but he gets his just desserts, after you get to see him as a head on a tray for a bit. Most horror fans will have already seen this cult classic already; I had somehow missed it, and I’m glad I got around to watching it. Well worth the watch, if only for Combs - he’s divinely frightening.