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31 Horror Movies I Own #8: Re-Animator

A long-time Re-Animator fan, one of the best memories I have is of heading to The Grand Illusion with friends to see a screening and meet Director Stuart Gordon, who introduced the film with hilarious tales of how it started as a stage play, and how they’d throw buckets of fake blood on the audience during key scenes.

Oh man, how I wish I could have been there for THAT.

But it’s okay, because the movie Re-Animator is just as awesome. Jeffery Combs totally nails it as out-of-control Herbert West, hell-bent on developing a serum that will bring people back to life.

After moving into pushover Dan Cain’s basement, Herbert turns his creep up to full volume by spying on Dan & pretty lady friend Megan (Barbara Crampton, whose scream is A-MAZING), killing their cat, and twisting Dan’s arm to help him carry out some less-then-ethical experiments.

Combs delivers every line with pitch-perfect craziness, keeping right up with David Gale’s obsessive Dr. Carl Hill (although Gale has him beat in this one—any scene where you play a decapitated head going down on a helpless, naked woman can’t really be topped).

There are so many scenes in this that among my favorite: West’s encounter with the re-animated cat, the aforementioned head-trying-to-give-head scene, Dean Halsey’s murder and re-animation, and the totally sweet ending—featuring Crampton’s mind-blowing scream, yet again.

Contrary to most series, I’ve also found ALL the sequels enjoyable, just not quite as solid as this first one. They’ve all got tons of great splatter, just the right amount of humor, and the essential element: Jeffery Combs.

Bride of Re-Animator is super-campy and mostly laughable, but in a good way. Beyond Re-Animator was highly entertaining, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting House of Re-Animator since it was announced, like 5 years ago.

Regardless of whether you want to explore them all, Re-Animator is a true horror classic-and very deserving of your time.

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