Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Horror Of...Halloween Night, Re-Animator (1985), In Short

Sadly, we are heading into the final weekend of our Halloween fun. So it's time to get in what gore and horror we can, hmm?

So let's return yet again to the 80's with a gory comedic classic. One of the Brian Yunza and Stuart Gordon twisted jaunts. A bit of the old Jeffrey Combs that make carnivorous entrails smile.


This is the tale has partly told by H.P. Lovecraft. It deviates in many ways, but most all retelling of Lovecraft's work seems to take wide deviations from the original tales. It seems difficult to fully translate his work.

But we return to the Lovecraftian alma mater of Miskatonic University, in comfy old Arkham, Massachusetts.

Home of the Fightin' Fishmen.

A new third year med student has arrived from studies overseas. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs the Great). He has been studied death and the limits of life. And he's developed and expanded the field privately in his quest to master it.

"Hey, Dr. Hill? I know where you can go shove this pencil, and you ideas."

And then we have his soon to be roommate and research assistant. Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott of The Last Starfighter, Bride of Re-Animator, Black Scorpion, The Prophecy 2, etc.). He is a dedicated student, trying to master his field and be the best he can be.

And along with Herbert he'll have all sorts of wacky adventures.

And just laugh about it all.

Dan is dating Megan Halsey (Barbara Crampton the Wonderful - Oh, so many great horror films to her name that I must cover down the road.). She's also the daughter of the dean of the medical school, so spends a good deal of time around the hospital they work in.

She seems to have generally positive view of the people around her. But Herbert West instantly creeps her out. Everything about him seems off. He can't be trusted, in Megan's eyes.

And then there's Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale of Guyver, Bride of Re-Animator, Tales from the Darkside, etc.). The esteemed and revered figure at the medical school. He shares common interest in field of study of Herbert West. He is a cold and arrogant man. He also lusts after Megan.

Both West and Hill have a lot in common. The difference I see is that Herbert West just wants to expand his understanding of death and life. Knowledge for knowledge. Carl Hill wants this knowledge to, but to make himself more revered, and more powerful. He wants knowledge for control.

And in there common quest they have a meeting of minds.

But things come to a head.

"Herberr? You aren't planning to knock my head of are you?" "...No."

Then you've got that beautiful glowing serum of Herbert West's creation. The reanimating agent. An injection of it will bring a body, or a limb, to life. And, oddly, they never seem happy to be back.

But when you see it come out, you know things are about to get worse.

And the dead are going to rise, in all manner of ways.

All manner of ways.

This is one of the early gory movies I came across and actually watched all the way through. And as I've mentioned before, early means somewhat later in life. The gore of this movie works so well because it is over the top. It is mad.

Strange walking cadavers. Snarling heads. Intestinal tentacles. It's ridiculous and amazing to watch.

But I can't forget to give some respect to the smartest character in this movie. The medical school security guard, Mace. He isn't afraid to pull out the gun when things are weird. And when things get super insane, he turns and gets out to call for help. That is how you survive this kind of story.

So if you want your Halloween to have gore, black comedy, and a bit of Jeffrey Combs. This is a great choice to add to your Halloween marathon.

But watch out for when West gets this look.

Cause it means he just got a crazy idea.

No comments: