Kyle Cubr reviews “Re-Animator” for Cine-File Chicago

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Of all the H.P. Lovecraft works director Stuart Gordon has adapted to film, RE-ANIMATOR endures as his magnum opus. The idea to create this film came to Gordon after discussing vampire movies with a friend and determining that there were too many Draculas and not enough Frankensteins. At Miskatonic University, headstrong med student Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) has recently arrived to continue research on his serum that can re-animate recently deceased bodies. He becomes roommate with fellow classmate Dan (Bruce Abbott) who is dating Megan, the daughter of the Dean. As Herbert’s experiments progress, unintended side effects ensue that throw him, Dan, and the entire medical school of Miskatonic into danger’s way. The practical effects used are one of the key components that make this film work so well; disembodied heads, a psychotic cat, and gory dismemberment are all featured to great effect. Composer Richard Band cited Bernard Herrmann’s score for PSYCHO as his main influence for the film’s distinctive soundtrack, maintaining a staccato-ed and string-heavy nature. Like many other horror films of its era, the film uses slapstick horror to lighten the tone, with several sequences in the morgue being particularly funny. RE-ANIMATOR is a slice of pure 80’s B-movie fun and remains one of the finest adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft’s work

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