Synopsis: A mad scientist experiments with a serum created to “cure” death.
• An overall strong adaptation of one of HP Lovecraft’s more convoluted short stories, bolstered by the wild opposing performances of Jeffery Combs (Herbert West, Re-Animator) and David Gale (Dr. Hill, the plagiarizer)
• The dark and dry humor helps to make some of the more insane and implausible visuals more palpable.
• There are no true heroes in the film.
• Lovecraftian zombies are always wonderfully strange.
• Perhaps now ironically, the open secrets of sexual harassment by the people of status gave the film a Lovecraftian level of continued significance.
• The story was just as ridiculous as the source material.
• The dark humor and shocking visuals were not for everyone.
• The sexualized and humor-filled elements make the film more a modernized piece of weird fiction.
Like with the later From Beyond (1986), Re-Animator secretly tries to be a very different kind of movie, while almost pretending to be of the same ilk as the sci-fi-horror of the time. There were certainly zombies and mad scientists, but this was still weird fiction! By the time we meet Herbert West, he did not really try to be “normal” anymore, having learned secrets no “normal” human may understand. His goal of “curing” death was certainly altruistic, but all he aimed to do was dispassionately refine and better understand the secret of resurrection, which he never could make work right. The overall plot, though, was surprisingly human. There was greed, obsession, lust for greatness, lust for people, horror of the unknown. The disgusting Dr. Hill lusted for everything, including in his obsession with the much younger Megan (Barbara Crampton), while always finding some kind of shortcut, usually by cheating. We end up routing for the death-obsessed West simply by default in this Lovecraftian comedy.
Rotten Tomatoes — 95%