Re-Animator (1985) – movie review

Re-Animator - pic 1

Re-Animator (1985)

Directed by Stuart Gordon
Produced by Brian Yuznamy top 10 1980s horror

Bruce Abbott
Jeffrey Combs
Barbara Crampton
David Gale
Robert Sampson

In the first 60 seconds of this film an old man’s bulging eyes explode splashing blood into a woman’s face. A few minutes later there’s a sex scene with Megan, (Babara Crompton) and Dan (Bruce Abbott). This is just the tip of the iceberg that makes up the insane world of Re-Animator. The circumstances, blood and guts, and over-the-top effects are reticent of the 1980s itself. The teaming of Brian Yuzna and Stuart Gordon on this film (and From Beyond) produce something so horribly vile and disgusting to the point you have to laugh; it is nothing less than Black poster

The story is a far cry from the original Re-Animator tale penned by Lovecraft to where only the names, places and basic premise remain. Doctor Herbert West has a serum that when it’s injected into the brain stem, can bring people and animals back to life. He demonstrates on mutilated cat. First Megan’s father dies and they bring him back to life. He’s not the same. Then West uses the serum on University professor Dr. Hill. At first, Dr. Hill doesn’t believe the serum will work, but when Hill tries to take credit for the serum, West kills him. Once back to life and feeling indestructible, Hill decides to fulfill his fantasy with Dan’s fiance, Megan, and kidnaps her.

What hard-core gore scenes shall I talk about? I guess the most vile are the creepy old man (Hill) makes advances on the young college student scenes. Horrifying! Hill’s head, separated from his body puts some gnarly sex moves on a naked and restrained Megan.

Despite being in previous horror films, it was Comb’s role in Re-Animator that gained him notoriety as a campy horror actor and fan favorite. The music by Richard Band provided excellent accompaniment to the craziness of the film, especially in the tense pacing of the main theme which was heavily influenced by the main theme in Psycho. John Naulin handled the Special FX using 24 gallons of blood, 10 times more than he’d ever used on a film previously. Re-Animator has since become a cult favorite and spawned several sequels including Bride of Re-Animator.

And check out the other classic Gordon/Yuzna vile collaboration, From Beyond

A darkly funny Gordon/Yuzna gorefest that took Lovecraft ideas and mashed them with over-the-top 1980s, body horror excess!

I give it 4.1 headless corpses out of 5 on the Frankenstein scale of b-horror re-animated flesh flicks.


Re-Animator - pic 9


Gallery of gore and nudity:


From Beyond (1986) – Movie review

from beyond 1986 pic 21

From Beyond (1986)

Directed by Stuart Gordon
Produced by Brian Yuznamy top 10 1980s horror

Jeffrey Combs
Barbara Crampton
Ted Sorel
Ken Foree
Carolyn Purdy-Gordon

(***warning, explicit and graphic images and descriptions below)

Ever since Freddy Kruger uttered his first snarky line at his wincing victim, horror in the 1980’s was headed down a path to morbid humor. Few would take it as far as the Stuart Gordon directed, Brian Yuzna produced, re-imagining of the HP Lovecraft tale, From Beyond. This film is morbid black humor taken to the extremes of sadistic gore and horrific irony. While a majority of fans will pick Reanimator as their favorite Gordon/Yuzna collaboration, I like this one a little better, mostly because of the strange abstract creature that Dr. Pretorius becomes.from beyond 1986 poster

A machine invented by Dr. Pretorius and Dr. Crawford Tillinghast called The (Tillinghast) Resonator is believed to stimulate an unused gland within the human brain. The gland enables a person to see into a parallel dimension. The life forms in this parallel dimension have a penchant for human flesh and anyone who moves within the energy field of the machine is attacked.

Dr Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton), is the psychiatrist assigned to Crawford’s case. He has been in the mental institution since the death of Pretorius. When she brings Crawford to the lab to reconstruct the scene of the crime, they both discover that Pretorius is not dead, just transcended into the beyond. As Crawford and McMichaels become mesmerized under the machine’s influence, Pretorius returns to devour them both. A detective sent to guard them, played by Ken Foree, is eaten alive by the strange creatures. McMichaels acts out some repressed sexual desires, made evident by how her eyes linger on a video of Pretorius performing sadistic sex acts. Crawford’s pineal gland bursts out of the front of his forehead like an eel and demands for Crawford to find new sustenance. He attacks the head psychiatrist, sucks out her eyeball then devours her brain by sucking it out through her eye socket. Yeah, gross! But I can’t look away. I haven’t been this mesmerized by gore since a possessed woman stabbed a number two pencil into a woman’s Achilles tendon in Evil Dead! Crawford goes on to suck out more eyeballs and brains, I giant worm grows in the basement and McMichaels is turned-on by the vibrations of the resonator and goes full tilt S&M.

This gory grind-fest is not for the feint at heart, but if you like Evil Dead 2 and Dead Alive, I think you will like this film. It’s absurd violence, a bizarre journey into gory blood-lust entertainment.

from beyond 1986 pic 22

Fun Facts:

The Lovecraft story that this film is adapted from is only 7 pages long.

The house where the lab is located and the experiments take place has an odd address, 666 Benevolent St.

At the mental hospital, automatic doors use the door opening sound from the original Star Trek series.

Here’s some alternate posters and dvd/blu-ray art:

from beyond 1986 alternate artwork

Society (1989) – Movie review

society pic 2

Society (1989) 

The rich in America live off the life blood of hard working people in the under-classes. Yuzna takes that notion literally in SocietyPosterthis black comedy, body-horror flick. High school student, Bill, doesn’t feel comfortable with the high society clicks of his parents and older sister. He is given a tape recording of what sounds like his family involved in a murder that brings them to a sadistic ecstasy. He begins to investigate but it’s not until he attends one of the high society parties that he learns the truth – the rich are literally feeding off the poor. The story moves a bit slow and choppy in some areas but most of the special-FX are fantastic examples of vivid imagination brought to the screen. Although released in Europe in 1989, the film was shelved in the US until 1992 – perhaps by rich Hollywood execs not wanting us to know the truth about their sustenance.

Directed by Brian Yuzna
Stars; Billy Warlock, Devin DeVasquez, Evan Richards, Ben Meyerson
Special-FX by Screamin’ Mad George
society pic 8

Not a great flick but worth a watch for some surprising special effects sequences and dark comedic chuckles.
I give it a 3.0 on the bio-muck scale of b-movie, body-horror flicks!

Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue – movie review – Documentary (2009)


A chronological history of horror from the beginning of film to today, John Carpenter, Larry Cohen, Joe Dante, Brian Yuzna, andnightmares cover Mick Harris, among others, attempt to explain America’s fascination with Horror. The Documentary delves into the mindset of each decade, the internal fears of the population brought about by external sociopolitical forces, and the films that were successful at these points in time. It touches upon all the iconic horror films from each era – the earliest silent films, the Universal Monster films, the 50s sci-fi horror, the politically charged films of the 60s and 70s, and the overblown excess of the 80s. Each director also relays nightmares-in-red-white-and-blue-john-carpenterpersonal stories about the first horror film they had seen and how it had affected them. Highlights include comments by George Romero about his Living Dead films and Roger Corman about working with Vincent Price and his early gothic films. One of the fun sequences is a montage of every sex scene from every Friday the 13th film, set to a hard rock song, in music video style. The song concludes with the horrific kill scenes of all the characters we’ve just gotten intimately familiar with.

Lance Henriksen narrates the film. It is based on a book of the same name by Joseph Maddrey. Well made, nicely paced, and interestingly told, a fine tribute to American Horror. Worth a watch for every horror fan.
george romero
George Romero

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related articles:

Lovecraft – Fear of the Unknown – documentary

Boogeymen – the Killer Compilation