Based on H.P. Lovecraft’s “Herbert West-Reanimator”, Re-Animator is a 1985 film that plays on zombie science fiction, horror, and goofy comedy. Re-Animator is the first in a trilogy of films and has since become the very definition of a cult film. The cult hysteria of the film is largely driven by fans of Jeffery Combs, who stars at Herbet West. To movie fans everywhere, Jeffery Combs will always and forever be the definitive Herbet West. The movie boasts over the top gore, blood, horror, and hilarious situational comedy.
Seeing a desire for a Frankenstein film, Stuart Gordon, believed there were just too many vampire films out there. Gordon, on a friends suggestion, went to the Chicago Public Library and picked up a copy of “Herbet West-Reanimator”. He had been familiar with H.P. Lovecraft’s work but had never read the short story.
Gordon originally wanted to use the story as a stage play. Friends convinced Gordon to go for a half-hour television pilot for a TV show which was to be set around the turn of the century. However, after they worked out the nuts and bolts they realized that a television show would have been an astronomical financial undertaking and simply too risky to invest into a television show. They instead updated their idea, set it in modern day Chicago and had intended to employ the Organic Theater company. They wrote 13 episodes for stage production. However, Bob Greenberg, a special effects expert who had previous credits under John Carpenter and others, convinced Gordon that the only way horror could make money was in movies. Greenberg introduced Gordon to Brian Yuzna, the movie’s future producer. After reading the scripts for the 13 episodes, Yuzna was convinced that this had to be a film and had Gordon shoot the film in Hollywood because they needed special effects.
Re-Animator was considered one of the bloodiest movies of it’s time. With a high production value, gruesome special effects, disgusting make-up, and grotesque yet humorous terror filled scenes, it is no surprise the movie went on to it’s cult status. With innovative special effects, scene in Dr. Hill’s zombie character, where his head was severed but is still in control of his body, you can look back and respect the thought and imagination that went into each and everyone one of those scenes.
Re-Animator was followed up a few years later with a sequel in 1990, Bride of Re-Animator. Another sequel followed some 13 years later to the delight of screaming fans everywhere. Complete with midnight shows across the country of Beyond Re-Animator.
And like a ravenous Lovecraftian beast of epic proportions, the fans need more. An idea for yet another installment of the Re-Animator series is a possibility. In the book “Lurker in the Lobby: A Guide to the Cinema of H.P. Lovecraft”, Brian Yuzna talks about his idea for a fourth Re-Animator. His idea? Isle of Re-Animator, which would have been heavily influence by H.G. Wells and The Island of Doctor Moreau.
In 2011, a musical adaptation of Re-Animator opened on Broadway, which director Gordon participated in.
The character of Herbert West appeared in a number of comicbook adaptations as titular character by different companies such as Adventure Comics (Re-Animator: Dawn of the Re-Animator), Zenoscope Entertainment (The Chronicles of Dr. Herbert West) and Dynamite Entertainment (Re-Animator). West also appeared in Devil’s Due Publishing‘s Hack/Slash series as a side character and in 2 crossover comics titled Army of Darkness Vs. Re-Animator and Army of Darkness/Re-Animator by Dynamite Entertainment in which Ash Williams of the Evil Dead series confronts Herbert West of the Re-Animator series.
This film has a legacy of dark love in all of our hearts. Innovation, comedy, and horror come together in this film that has risen from cult status to legendary horror. So inject your serum, kick your neighbors head down the street, and frenzy out on our feature presentation of Re-Animator!
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