A medical student and his girlfriend are caught in the strange oddities of Herbert West; a student equipped with a special green serum that reanimates dead tissue. Trouble ensues, the dead rise, and gore pulsates on screen. Remarkably, Stuart Gordon’s splat-tastic Re-Animator is one successfully uncheesy surprise. Not until today did I realize how stimulating it is to view; this re-watch felt almost regenerated and far more impressive than before, which I can only explain by the lack of horror I was familiar with back then. Straight up, this is one of the 1980s slickest and most static horrors to see. Comedy and macabre entwined just right.
The FX are wonderful and hardly excessive. It’s realistic, nauseating, and extremely well done. All practical, too, of course. The R-rated cut is the one to seek out. One hiccup though is with protagonist Dan Cain, the slightly mundane character with an attractive girlfriend who’s honestly attached more to the story than he is. Thankfully Dan meets Herbert who’s a strange man to say the least, but by the time the credits roll, is a hero and a joy to watch. Throughout its entirety, I went from hating to loving the character.
Its second half may grow a tad tedious compared to its first, but all in all, Re-Animator is a simply terrific sci-fi horror; clever in the way it tells a story and grosses it audience. I can only hope its sequel Bride of the Re-Animator is as entertaining.