Saturday, October 11, 2014

October Horror Movie Challenge: Re-Animator (1985)

Directed by Stuart Gordon, Re-Animator is a horror film based on H.P. Lovecraft story "Herbert West - Re-Animator". Scientist Herbert West has created a strange serum that can bring dead tissue back to life. Wishing to test his discovery on human cadavers, West recruits his reluctant roommate Dan Cain to sneak him into Miskatonic University's morgue. As one would expect, things don't go as planned...

Like Night of the Creeps, Re-Animator is considered a cult classic by many horror fans. This is mostly due to Jeffrey Combs' performance and its combination of horror and comedy. There are moments of dark humor spread throughout the film. We have Cain and West chasing a zombified cat around the basement, West sticking a decapitated head onto a letter spike to keep it upright while he injects his serum into it, and many other scenes similar to this this are relatively common throughout Re-Animator

This could have been disastrous if handled poorly. The comedic scenes could have clashed with the more serious ones, causing the film to feel lop-sided and clunky. Thankfully, Gordon manages to balance this beautifully. The dark humor is spread throughout the peace, acting as spots of relief to routinely break the tension. I'd also be lying if I said those comedic scenes didn't make the film just a little more enjoyable. 

Jeffrey Combs just adds to that enjoyment level. If Re-Animator had another actor in the titular role, I feel the movie wouldn't be as good. Combs is one of those actors who just has fun with every role he plays, with Herbert West being no different. You can tell he's having a blast on screen, enjoying being a character who's incredibly conceited and willing to push any boundary to achieve his goals. 

Although Re-Animator isn't perfect (for example, its quick pacing can be problematic at times), its definitely a lot of fun. If you're looking for a horror film with a dark sense of humor, a great Jeffrey Combs performance, and some cool gory effects, check out Re-Animator