Re-Animator (1985) Reviewed
In a gleefully nasty mix of gore, horror, comedy and sex, Re-Animator rose above what most of those genres had to offer in the 80s. With Evil Dead II as it’s only real rival Re-Animator delivers the goods and then some. Dr. Herbert West develops a serum (it looks like glow stick juice) to resurrect the recently deceased. With the help of a reluctant med school student, West obsessively conducts his experiments with predictably disastrous results. A cat is brought back to life and thrown against a wall. The disembodied head of a villainous rival pays homage to The Brain that Wouldn’t Die by snarling from a lasagna pan. Said head terrorizes the med student’s tragically put-upon girlfriend in an impressively tasteless scene that makes clever wordplay of the expression, “giving head.” Equal parts zombie movie, Frankenstein homage, 50s sci-fi creature feature and straight-to-video gorefest, Re-Animator is relentlessly paced and sharply written. It builds to a satisfying finale’ and begs repeat viewing. Nudity is soured by gross-out context but gore comes in buckets. Two equally satisfying sequels followed.