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Film/TV Re-Animator

Published on March 5th, 2020 | by voxx

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Cult Classic: Re-Animator

FROM DAVID CRONENBURG’S The Fly and Videodrome, through John Carpenter’s The Thing and David Lynch’s Eraserhead to even the recent Teeth and Raw, the subgenre Body Horror or biological horror involving the mutilation of natural human abilities, is sometimes gross, can be very gory and often can make even the person with the strongest of stomachs churn on its side, it can make our minds imagine such bizarre things and can mostly make our bones hurt when we look at what the human body does in these films. In The Fly there’s a scientist who changes into a fly, The Thing has an alien that morph itself into anything, Teeth had the vagina dentata (a toothed demon living in the female genitalia) and even 2009 had Human Centipede which doesn’t need much description but we’ll go for it anyway (prepare yourselves) it had a mad scientist tying up people via their gastric organs. Body Horror can go to incomprehensible lengths that our imagination can take us, and as by these few, there’s clever, sci-fi to the weird and finally disgusting (Human Centipede). And it will most likely leave you with a chill in your bones, and often can make us squeamish, so you’ll need a strong stomach.

H.P Lovecraft’s Re-Animator is no stranger to that, originally released in 1985 when director Stuart Gordon who made yet another gross-out weird body horror film From Beyond carefully crafted a wonderfully fun, sometimes horrific and a stunningly imaginative film – that’s not afraid to show what it can do. And it definitely lives up to the imaginative point when Doctor Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) designs and invents a serum that can re-animate the cells of dead animal or human tissue not the full body just the skin, the re-animated corpses are still pretty dead inside. However it’s not the plot that may bother you, it may be the elements of shock and awe that are in place here, and they deliver here in spectacular fashion, as Gordon cleverly distorts the human mind on what we are capable of and he turns it up to a factor of 11. It delivers the shock in spades, first there’s a dead cat that’s brought back to life, then a man in a mortuary who as soon as he awakes becomes the embodiment of Frankenstein’s monster, and if that doesn’t make your toes curl then maybe the introduction of a headless man might. Yet, when the corpses are brought back they aren’t perfect they resort to violence but then again wouldn’t we all if we were brought back from our peaceful slumber?
It is, of course, not just the shock factor that unfolds here in glorious fashion as Gordon frenetically combines shocking and gory horror with hilarious deadpan comedy moments, and as the more serious moments take place there’s a sprinkling of comedy “Who’s going to believe a talking head? Get a job in a sideshow.” Herbert West says to a decapitated neurosurgeon as a moment of blackmailing unfolds. And that’s just one of the hilarious moments on show here. If you enjoyed The Thing and The Fly along with a sprinkling of Videodrome then Re-Animator is the next body horror for you to watch, with its campy/weird moments and gross-out violence. Plus Gordon’s script is so tightly written it manages to avoid every horror cliché in the book. Though it’s not your typical 80’s classic it’s a fun one nonetheless.

VERDICT: A vividly deft, gory, funny and an utterly fearless mix of horror and comedy on one plate. It proves that entertainment value literally trumps any other concern.

Re-Animator is a available on DVD, Blu-Ray and re-mastered 4K Ultra HD release now.

By Corey Denford


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