Stuart Gordon's adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's Herbert West: Re-Animator puts a Night of the Living Dead spin on the classic Frankenstein story. Jeffrey Combs furrows his brow and bugs his eyes as the preternaturally inten... more »se Herbert West, a maverick medical student whose gory, gooey experiments cause bloody corpses and body parts to jerk to life. Bruce Abbot is the studious roommate drawn into his extracurricular experiments, which soon involve the dean's daughter (the frequently naked Barbara Crampton) and the college's cadaverous, calculating star professor (David Gale), who literally loses his head over a battle for West's discovery. In this world, that's only a minor setback. Charged with sick gallows humor and a ghoulish gallery of undead beasties, Re-Animator, like Evil Dead II, is one of the most inspired and inventive--and funniest--horror films of the 1980s. Combs, Abbot, and Gale reunite for the almost-as-entertaining sequel Bride of Re-Animator. --Sean Axmaker« less
Craig S. (InnerMacro) from WAUSAU, WI Reviewed on 6/5/2023...
Re-animator is loosely based on an HP Lovecraft serial, but it was probably one of his worst works of fiction. Lovecraft is known for much better "science" than that displayed in this relatively low-brow gore-fest. To that end, this film employs very dark humor to keep the viewer from taking the subject matter too seriously. Fans of Evil Dead 2+ will be in familiar territory. Those looking for a credible, medically-researched backstory need not bother. This movie does not represent the whole of Lovecraftian style horror, and it probably pushes extremes that are not entirely in the same spirit as Lovecraft intended.
Vanessa V. (sevenspiders) Reviewed on 9/9/2008...
"You agree it's dead now?"
Beware all those who are squeamish or easily offended. Re-Animator is of the old school B-horror movie class that revels in gore, nudity and all around madness. It is the perfect melding of humor and horror, as madly brilliant medical student Herbert West perfects his procedure of reanimating the dead. Once perfected (on a very put-upon cat) West begins to reanimate all the dead bodies he comes across, and since this is a horror movie, he stumbles across quite a few. Again, because it is a horror movie the path to perfect reanimation does not run smooth, and West must face the dire consequences of his actions.
The special effects in Re-animator are quite good for 1985, and the tongue-in-cheek tone of the movie makes them even better. They were meant to be laughed at, even in 1985. The acting is much better than the average horror movie, particularly Jeffrey Combs, as the monomaniacal West. In plot, acting and effects the movie is just fine; its in the details that the movie goes gleefully off the rails, making it the most fun horror movie of all time.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
You wanna see a REAL horror movie?
Kitten With a Whip | The Hellmouth | 11/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The best horror movie ever made, period. For me anyway, this has to be my personal favorite. Forget all that Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer junk. You wanna see a REAL horror movie? Rent this one. Skip it if you're squeamish, though--trust me on this. The plot is taken (loosely) from an HP Lovecraft tale, "Herbert West, Re-animator". The taglines kinda say it all. Dan Cain is a young medical student dating the Dean's daughter, who takes in a roomer and meets up with West, brilliantly played by Jeffrey Combs. West has discovered a "reagent" that will bring the dead back to life, except the serum still needs lots of work. When the dead people wake up, they do not seem happy at all to be brought back, and in fact have the tempermant of a grizzly bear on PCP. Added to the mix is the creepy Dr. Hill (who looks like an uglier, way creepier version of James Woods), who clashes with West and also has an icky obsession with Dean Halsey's daughter. (the attraction results in the movie's most outrageous scene that I'm sure you've heard about, which gives new meaning to a slang term for oral sex that..well, you'll figure it out). This movie is scary, gory, original, and above all, lots of fun. Just when you think it can't get any more over-the-top, it does. Combs steals the show as West, who looks like a cartoon version of a brainy young scientist with huge hornrimmed glasses. I appreciate his performance more each time I view the movie. He gets most of the best lines, such as when Dan yells at him when a hysterical Meg has found her pet cat, Rufus, in West's fridge with a broken neck, that if he found the cat that way as he claimed, West could have left a note. "A note saying what? 'Dan: cat dead. Details later'?" he dryly replies. Stuart Gordon made other great movies later on such as From Beyond and The Pit and the Pendulum (also with Combs) but he never topped this underrated, underseen gem. A word of caution-make sure you are renting the unrated version, as the R version has most of the gore cut out and the last 20 great minutes reduced to 5 or so. The R rated version has some scenes not in the unrated one that you might find interesting if you are a big fan (I rented it by accident) but really, the unrated version is the way to go."
A horror masterpiece is re-animated on DVD!
John Lindsey | Socorro, New Mexico USA. | 11/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Medical student "Herbert West" ( Jeffery Combs) has just returned from Switzerland after doing a horrifying experiment on a doctor has just joined the myskotonic medical university in Arkansas as he becomes the roommate of a fellow medical student "Dan" (Bruce Abbot) whom is having an affair with the dean's daughter "Meg" (Barbara Crampton). But Dan is getting involved with Herbert West's experiments which involves bringing the dead back to life with a special glowing green serum called "Re-Agent" but unfortunately it creates violent zombies that go awry.
A sick, gory, and hilarious horror Sci-fi comedy based on a HP Lovecraft story has become a cult classic since it's release in 1985! This movie was released in that year unrated in theaters with a "No one under 18 warning" but became a minor hit in theaters including critical acclaim in this cross between "E.R" and "Evil Dead". Suprisingly good acting for a low budget movie even by David Gale who wickedly plays the evil Dr. Carl Hill whom becomes the best zombie of the movie. There's alot of nasty gore in this movie like a skull and brain surgery scene with sleaze as well, it's not for the faint of heart or squeamish but a must see and must have for fans of horror, horror comedy, gore and zombie flicks.
This 2-Disc Millenium DVD has awesome picture & Sound from THX! great extras include storyboard-scene comparison, audio commentaries, interviews, trailers & TV Spots, Extended scenes from the "R" rated cut, Bios and Deleted scenes, most recommended.
Also recommended: "Evil Dead 1 & 2", "Day of the Dead", "Frankenstein ( 1931)", "Cannibal Holocaust", "City of the living Dead ( a.k.a. Gates of Hell)", "Zombie", "Demons", " Blood Diner", " The Toxic Avenger", "Basket Case", " Dead Alive", " From Dusk Till Dawn", " The Devil's Rejects", "House of 1000 Corpses", "House By The Cemetery", " Maniac ( 1980)", " Cannibal Ferox", "Wrong Turn", "Final Destination 2", "28 Days Later", " Land of the Dead", "Return of the Living Dead 3", "Caligula", " Dead & Breakfast", "Rabid Grannies", "Tromeo & Juliet", " Let Sleeping Corpses Lie", " Resident Evil", "Resident Evil Apocalypse", " The New York Ripper", "Ichi The Killer', " Men Behind The Sun", "Riki-Oh The Story of Ricky", "Undead", " Shaun of the Dead", " The Brain that wouldn't Die", " Scanners", "Videodrome", "The Fly ( 1986)", "The Brood", "Steel and Lace", " American Werewolf in London", " Dereanged", " Bride of & Beyond Re-Animator", " Tenebre", "Inferno", " The Lost Boys", "The Forsaken", " High Tension", " Fright Night", " Bio-Zombie", "Saw", " Burial Ground", "Dead Heat ( 1988)", " Terror Firmer", " The Stuff", " Cabin Fever", "The Thing ( 1982)", " It's Alive!", " Cemetery Man", " Tetsuo The Iron Man", "Candyman", "Cannibal Apocalypse", "Inferno", "Phenomena", "Suspiria", "Blood Diner", " Gore-Gore Girls", " Driller Killer", "Jeepers Creepers" and "The Beyond"."
Man what a great flick
Fred Derf | 08/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A reviewer below said that this film will only seem good to those who saw it in the 80s and that people who have never seen it shouldn't. Well I really have to disagree. I'm only 15 so I obviously never saw this film in the 80s, but a few months ago I bought this DVD for 15 bucks and it was one of the best 15 bucks I ever spent. This film is great. If you actually like real horror films then you should like this film. Also the same reviewer said that the special efx were only good when the film came out, but I thought the efx were great and better than the CGI of today. So if you're a fan of horror and haven't seen this film yet you should go out and buy it right now. The DVD is amazing by the way and pretty cheap."
Excellent movie, but this release may not be necessary
S. Marzioli | USA | 03/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I compared the special features in this release with the one released by Elite (millennium edition). Most of them are the same. The only real notable difference is that this one has a new 70 minute documentary. I'm sure that's worth the effort of rebuying another 2-disc set. If you have the Elite version, you may want to pass on this."
Death Is Just the Beginning....
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 01/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the most outrageous horror comedies from the 1980s, Stuart Gordon's RE-ANIMATOR is certainly great fun if not great cinema. Very loosely based on a story by the highly revered horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, the film follows the exploits of Herbert West, an impudent medical student who, after being thrown out of a Swiss institution due to his unorthodox and unethical medical experiments, has enrolled at the Miskatonic University Medical School in Massachusetts, USA. After hours, West secretly continues his experimentation, which basically involves the tweaking and fine-tuning of a serum he has developed that can re-animate the dead. West engages the assistance of his roommate and fellow med student Dan Cain, much to the chagrin of Cain's pretty girlfriend Megan, and soon the two are reviving numerous cadavers in the medical school's morgue. Unfortunately, West and Cain haven't quite perfected the formula, and the re-animated dead don't seem too happy to be back in the land of the living. But when Megan, her father (a dean at the university), and the school's prestigious surgeon Dr. Carl Hill get caught up in West's shenanigans, that's when the fun really begins.RE-ANIMATOR is horror comedy at its best. Writer/director Gordon and his cowriter Dennis Paoli are savvy enough to realize that taking an earnest approach to the preposterous premise of their story is not likely to fly with the discriminating horror audience, so they wisely milk the material for laughs instead. Playing the lead role of Herbert West is the wonderfully offbeat actor Jeffrey Combs. Combs is able to generate interesting facial expressions that are somehow simultaneously deadpan and whimsical, and when combined with his impeccable comedic timing, it is nearly impossible not to laugh at every scene he's in. (Genre fans may recognize Combs from his appearance in numerous horror films, as well as from his countless appearances in episodes of the various TV incarnations of STAR TREK.) As Dan Cain, Bruce Abbott is the perfect straight man to Combs, and together the two keep the energy level and humor factor high throughout the film. The beautiful Barbara Crampton--who would go on to greater fame performing in various TV Soaps--does a great job playing Cain's perky girlfriend, Megan, and she is especially affecting when she disrobes. And rounding out the principals is actor David Gale as Dr. Hill. When his character gets juiced with West's re-animation serum, Gale's subsequent performance is delightfully over the top.Many critics liken the storyline of RE-ANIMATOR to that of the FRANKENSTEIN mythos, with mad scientists attempting to bring forth life from the dead. But it actually seems that the basic plot is more akin to Stephen King's 1983 novel PET SEMATARY. (The movie version of PET SEMATARY, while very faithful to the book, did not appear until 1989, four years after RE-ANIMATOR.) In both stories, an individual learns the secret to bringing folks back from the dead, but at a cost--the revived are not quite the same as they were before kicking the bucket. And despite their failures, the individuals with the power to re-animate relentlessly keep on trying to get it right. The only real difference between the two stories is that King's novel, though well written, is earnest and depressing, whereas RE-ANIMATOR uses the premise as a springboard for dark, wry humor.The "Millennium Edition" RE-ANIMATOR DVD from the folks at Elite is well worth the money. It offers the unrated (uncut?) version of the film in anamorphic widescreen format, along with two great commentaries--one with director Gordon, one with most of the principal cast--as well as lots of other cool goodies. So many cool goodies, in fact, that it takes two discs to hold 'em all!Yes, RE-ANIMATOR is gory and chock-full of sick gallows humor, with lots of nudity and cheesy (but cool!) special effects thrown in. And some of the scenes are so outrageously over the top that they have to be seen to be believed. But, hey, what more could a lover of horror comedy want?"