Around 1989-1990 I was flipping through the channels one afternoon after pre-school. I came to something horrifying. It was a man talking to a head in a tray while a headless body attacked him. It terrified me. There are very few memories that I have from that age but that one will always stand out.
Probably a year or two later I went to my uncle’s deli. He had a little VHS rental section with mostly horror movies and I remember walking past the display and seeing a very familiar looking VHS cover. I couldn’t even look at it, I had to run leave the deli.
It wasn’t for a few more years before I became a horror fan that I started to hear about how amazing the movie was. Every single horror review site I went to gave it 3 or 4 star ratings, many calling it a classic for the genre. I finally decided to see it, sadly I couldn’t find a copy anywhere.
Finally in 2004 after high school I went into the local video store and purchased the recently released double disc DVD of it. It was everything I had wanted it to be.
The film follows the bizarre Herbert West (Jeffery Combs), a medical student who recently has rented a room with class-mate Dan Cain. He keeps to himself, mostly experimenting late at night in his bedroom and in the basement. One night Dan finds his dead cat in West’s freezer, freaked out by it West shows him an experiment he was working on which would re-animate the dead cat.
Herbert explains to him that he’s created a serum which can revive the brain. They go to the campus morgue and test it out on a corpse. It goes ary and kills the Dean Halsey (father to Dan’s girlfriend Barbara). West quickly uses his serum to revive his body.
The evil Dr. Hill quickly figures out what West is up to and ambushes him to steal his discover. West in an act of self defense kills and decapitates Dr. Hill. It suddenly gives him an idea for a new experiment, see if he can re-animate a head and a body when they’re seperated. While West is interviewing Hill’s head for his research his body attacks him and knocks him unconscious, stealing his notes and reagent and taking his head with him.
Dan finds Herbert knocked out in the basement and they go after Dr. Hill. Meanwhile Dr. Hill has kidnapped and plans to, well, rape I suppose, Barbara. Dan and Herbert arrive and save Barbara.
Re-Animator is a dark horror-comedy in the same vein as Evil Dead 2 (though pre-Evil Dead 2). Stuart Gordon’s Lovecraft adaptation in filled with great one-liners and intense cinematic moments including over the top gore, innovative special effects and a scene in which a decapitated head attempts to have oral sex with a naked girl tied to a table. Needless to say it’s incredibly memorable. I forgive it for the hours of nightmares it provided 5 year old me.
When Matt's not blogging he's writing for Geekscape.net, tweeting and hosting his own podcast The Saint Mort Show. Also check out his musical comedy project and his non-profit Chords For Cures. Also read his Guilty Pleasure this week "Dirty Work"
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