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

‘Middle of the Road’ horror films – its road kill but ya’ gotta’ look!

SH Revelation pic 8
‘Middle of the Road’ horror films – its road kill but ya’ gotta’ look!

Here are some horror movies that I’ve seen lately that weren’t great but weren’t bad enough to send me into a rant, either. Its amazing that with such great imagery, these films weren’t better.

silent-hill-revelationSilent Hill: Revelation (2012)

The best thing to do with this film is to fast forward to the part when they… (who? I don’t really know or care) get to the town of Silent Hill.  Then, turn the sound off. I’ve heard if you start Metallica – Master of Puppets at the exact spot when you see the sign “Welcome to Silent Hill” everything lines up like a soundtrack. Blackened – The Thing that Should not Be – Welcome home/Sanitarium- Leper Messiah, great soundtrack!

Sinister Movie Poster 2012Sinister (2012)
It’s amazing that I only watched this a few weeks ago and can not remember it all that well. It has some decent jump scares and a few moderately creepy scenes. Most people complain that too many of the scenes were filmed in near darkness. The scene with the family getting hung from the tree is really twisted. There are a few other wicked murder scenes in the film. This is another movie that I wouldn’t expend too much energy to see – even with its heavy story. I usually like most films with Ethan Hawke. If it was on TV, I would watch it again, if it were the only horror flick to watch.

Dark_houseDark House (2009)
A amusement park entertainment owner turns a home into a haunted-house, horror attraction, hoping it will become the scariest HH in the business. Years ago, a family of foster children were killed by their religious-zealot, foster mother in the home. The house was suitably creepy and looked a lot like Wolf’s Manor in CA. The owner/promoter is played ostentatiously by Jeffrey Combs. The whole film has that over-the-top, 1980’s vibe to it. The colorful make-up and FX creations would make a good haunted house attraction. But this was a movie, not a haunted house attraction, and it just gave me the feeling like, been there, done that. If you are nostalgic for 80’s horror, perhaps you’ll like this.

haunting in CT GeorgiaHaunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia (2013)
Yeah, uh. Someone forgot to tell the filmmakers they’re not in CT anymore. Why not call it, Haunting in Georgia? It doesn’t make any sense. Well, despite some great imagery, there isn’t a good scare in the whole flick, but the story is decent enough and the acting is not bad. It reminds me of a ghost story that would be aired on the Hallmark Channel. I wouldn’t make any effort to watch it, however, if it is airing on a Sunday afternoon and you have nothing else to do – it’s a light and fluffy story to watch.