Hello and welcome back to Halloween In June! HP Lovecraft is a creepy, creepy man. Out of every scary story I’ve read, Lovecraft takes the cake as the most horrifying to me. He seems to be able to depict complete and utter madness in the most frightening ways with every story he writes. If I’m scared of Lovecraft, why, then, did I decide to watch a movie based on one of his stories? I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment. This is Re-Animator.
Re-Animator follows scientist Herbert West, a scientist who is obsessed with death. While studying in Switzerland, West came across a doctor who was making a concoction that brought the dead back to life. After that doctor died, West took up the studies himself and traveled to New England looking for fresh corpses to test his theories. As is common with Lovecraft stories, insanity ensues.
I’m not entirely sure what to make of this movie. On the one hand, it’s most definitely fun horror schlock, made for the gore, sex, violence, and shocking turns of events. On the other, the film takes itself seriously for the entirety of its run time. For example, the acting.
All the actors in this movie do a fantastic job in their rolls. When they have to be over the top, they blow it out of the park. When they have to be quiet and thoughtful, they pull that off really well as well. Personal favorite performance was by Jeffrey Combs, the man who plays Herbert West. He has this intensity in this role that the character really needed. The rest of the actors, especially the ones who act as zombies, give performances that are equal parts disturbing and intriguing.
All that said, I have to consider this a campy movie, simply because the effects are all way over the top. Within the first three minutes alone, we see a man’s eyes explode out of his face. And that’s the most subdued gore effect in the whole thing. The effects never quite reach “believable” levels for me, but that’s exactly what makes this such good campy fun. I could just tell that the special effects were all made with the intent to shock and disgust.
If I have one complaint about this movie, it’s that it’s extremely slow paced. While this does make for a building of atmosphere, I still couldn’t help but feel bored at a lot of parts. Some scenes took forever to end, and the entire middle and build up to the climax was completely boring. It dragged the movie down quite a bit.
Still, the movie is good campy schlock fun. If you have the stomach for fake looking gore, I recommend you give this a watch. There’s a reason it’s become a cult classic. It feels like a modern day Frankenstein story with mountains of gore. You might find a lot of it slow moving, but the good parts are very good. For my part, I’m gonna hunt down the sequel: Bride of Re-Animator. Just from the title, I can tell it will be a lot of fun.