Thursday, 26 April 2012

14/04/2012: Re-Animator [1985]

Horror comedies come in an interesting number of flavours as they all draw their humour from different sources. Some give us jokes and hilarious situations while others simply enjoy being so outrageous and ridiculous that we find it funny. Re-Animator takes itself completely seriously, but it's so over the top and laced with black humour you can't help but find it funny.

First off let me say that H.P. Lovecraft's: Re-Animator is a bit of a throw off. Re-Animator is very loosely based on Lovecraft's: Herbert West: Re-Animator, and while Herbert West sure does re-animate, this movie does not have much of a Lovecraftian feel to it as I would recognize him. I have not read that book in particular, but horror comedies aren't exactly Lovecraft's thing. So while Anchor Bay may throw on H.P. Lovecraft's name, Re-Animator is it's own beast entirely.

I did luckily get to watch the Unrated version of Re-Animator, and there are surprisingly quite a few differences, totaling 9.5 minutes in comparison with the R-rated release. While Re-Animator has quite the status of being a gory movie I will still reserve that seat for Dead Alive (review coming soon), however Re-Animator is no slouch, using 100 litres of fake blood, and the gore doesn't stop after the opening scene.

You didn't make the cut for the Blue-Man group either? What a shame.
The opening credits to Re-Animator are quite awesome I thought, and while yes the music may have been ripped off from Psycho, I still thought that it coupled with the cool medical artwork done in neon colours was awesome. On top of that who could say that the re-animation agent wasn't a cool effect. A simply bottle filled with glow-stick fluid makes for a nice effect.

Before I prattle on about some of the other cool things you see in Re-Animator, what for those of you who don't know is it about. Re-Animator is about Herbert West, a medical student who has found a way to re-animate dead tissue, with a few kinks. Along with Dan Cain and his girlfriend, Megan, West tries to perfect his solution with entertaining results. Re-Animator truly is a Frankenstein inspired story, but even with the large number of separated limbs there is no mix-and-matching in Re-Animator. 

Party's over!
However for the movie primarily taking place in a medical school and hospital, accuracy wasn't what they were going for. Re-Animator features quite the cast of characters, from mad scientists, to decapitated bodies carrying around their own heads. Arnold Schwarzenegger's body double even makes an appearance as, well you guessed it, a body. The actors are decent, and it is because they take the entire movie seriously that Re-Animator can be so funny, one goofy smile could have ruined everything.

The special effects are where this movie really shines or fails. Is it medically accurate? No, I do not believe a severed head can take breathe, actually I know that for a fact. However as a horror comedy, blood and gore is almost more of a staple than a regular horror flicks, as can be seen in the Evil Dead series and Dead Alive. As such we get re-animated bodies tearing each other, and the living to pieces, half a cat twitching back to life, and severed, yet chatty, heads all with a nice helping of fake blood. To top that off Re-Animator even gives us a scene where said severed head molests a college coed.

I think a glowing, neon green bottle or syringe would be an easily recognizable symbol.
Overall, Re-Animator is an iconic horror movie, mixing elements of past horror comedies, while inspiring elements in later ones. It gives us a Frankenstein story that is a little backwards, staring Jeffrey Combs, who will always be remembered for his role of Herbert West. Re-Animator also has two sequels, the first of which is apparently as good as the first. I am very excited to see Bride of Re-Animator, but refrained until I had written this review. I will say that no horror fans collection is complete without a green syringe highlighter, and I will probably have to pick  up a poster eventually.

Re-Animator IMDb

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