James Rolfe: It's Cinemassacre's "Monster Madness"! I consider "Re-Animator" to be like a 1980's version of "Frankenstein" and I don't think that's too far off. The original story by H.P. Lovecraft in the 1920's was inspired by Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" novel.
The plot revolves around a mad scientist named Herbert West. He invents a serum that brings the dead back to life and there's a professor who wants to steal his invention. And all this rivalry over a serum that doesn't even work right. It has a terrible side-effect; whatever it reanimates gets up and goes crazy. The first victim is a cat which makes people really upset. It's true, whenever an animal dies in a movie it's really sad. But all the people that die; who gives a fuck about them? There's a lot of gruesome special effects and it satisfies any gore-hound's thirst for bloodshed.
But what makes the movie is the character of Herbert West. He's played by Jeffrey Combs who does a great job. You take one look at his face and you just know he's not fucking around. This guy doesn't care who he has to kill. All he cares about is his work. It's very much like Peter Cushing from the Hammer "Frankenstein" films, just gone more extreme. The guy is a complete asshole.
Dan Cain: Megan, what the hell are you doing in here?
Megan Halsey: I--
Herbert West: Would you please leave, now!?
James: All these experiments he's doing he's not even in his own house. The owners are renting out their basement and that's where he does all this stuff, with zero respect for the people that actually live there. But that's also the comedy of it.
There's a really cheap special effect involving a head decapitation. You can obviously tell how the effect is done that there's a hole in the lab tray. But that's what sets the tone of this movie. It's silly and off the wall. Not to mention there's a scene where the head is giving head.
It's a movie that embodies the whole genre of 80's horror. It's like "Frankenstein" but it also falls into the 'zombie'-genre. It has a little bit of "Evil Dead" in it too and it's all around just a sick, disgusting film. It's as if they grinded up all of the horror clichés, digested them and then puked them up into an abominable, dripping, blood-soaked, pulsating mess.
It was followed by "Bride of Re-Animator" and "Beyond Re-Animator". And director Stuart Gordon is hoping to make a fourth one entitled "House of Re-Animator". If that happens it will be a rare and special occasion, because today the notion of making a horror sequel is becoming extinct. Now it's all about remakes, so please do not remake "Re-Animator".