Monday, July 1, 2013

Reanimation!


I'm not a particular fan of gory movies. They don't bother me especially, but lots of blood and gore do not necessarily add up to a solid horror flick, and actually often detract from a good scary movie. That said, one movie I avoided at the time it hit the theaters was Re-Animator. This 1985 horror is based on the H.P. Lovecraft stories about Herbert West, a student with a most peculiar passion to bring the dead back to life. If you want to read the original story check out this link.

Re-Animator proved to be a very successful movie and launched several sequels, at least one of which I have seen. So after getting a small taste of that, I found I was interested in seeing how this "classic" handled the original Lovecraft material.

There's no doubt this movie is a relatively low-budget affair, but that said, the acting is by and large competent and the sets are professional if lacking much in the way of atmosphere. The sound is the greatest weakness in the flick, with little or no evidence of any dubbing. There is some requisite nudity, a necessary element of any decent exploitation movie, and this one is just that.

The story deals with Herbert West, an ambitious monomaniac who seeks a formula which will raise the dead. He has been run out of Switzerland and takes up as a student in the Miskatonic University Hospital. He finds a roommate named Dan Cain who just so happens to be another medical student and who conveniently is dating Megan Halsey the daughter of the University President. There is also a surgeon questionable of some reputation played to the hilt by David Gale, who has designs on the lovely co-ed himself.

I won't spoil the action here, but suffice it to say that at least one cat, and several dead bodies are reanimated thanks to the bright green liquid West concocts. The finale is a decently unpleasant scene filled with wandering corpses and more than a few surprises. The special effects are limited, but there's plenty of splatter for those that desire that kind of thing. There's actually very little of Lovecraft in this one, though the premise does stay true for the most part. This movie owes much more to Night of the Living Dead than to anything Lovecraft wrote.

I suspect I'm the last guy to this particular dance, so anyone who might want to see Re-Animator has likely already done so. It's a nicely dark comedy with more than a bit of gore, and I have to say the ending was better than I expected.

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