Last year I took an informal survey of people's favorite horror films, and Re-Animator turned out to be a popular choice. Yet again, this is one film that slipped by my childhood years without being on my radar. So, let's get to it shall we, and see what all the fuss is about.
First off, this is the film that brought fame to Barbara Crampton, whose film We Are Still Here I reviewed earlier in the month. I suppose she was quite popular with adolescent boys back in the 80s, and combined with the sci-fi premise and gory practical effects, I can certainly see why many chose this as their favorite horror film.
Produced during an era with a plethora of Dracula/vampire films, director Stuart Gordon wanted to create a Frankenstein story. He learned of a story by H.P. Lovecraft, titled "Herbert West-Reanimator", and after reading it, began work on a pilot for a TV series. Long story short, producers convinced him the market for horror films lie in films, not TV. (Hey, anyone out there producing a TV series today may want to look into this theme!)
This film has a decidedly 80s quality feel to it, with the soft, dark filters, and some cheesy dialogue. While watching, I became very surprised at the turn of events revealing a blood-fest of practical effects. The premise lies behind a scientist's discovery of a formula that upon injecting a dead body, would allow them to become "re-animated". At first glance you may consider this a twist to the zombie genre, but Frankenstein genre is more fitting, since the bodies that came back to life with varying degrees of mental faculties, sometimes even talking.
In a very strange way, Re-Animator accomplished its goal in keeping me entertained, surprising me with the strange, over-the-top practical effects. I need to do a little research, but I don't recall many, if any, films in recent years that employed the use of practical effects the way they did in the eighties. It's a no-brainer that most films use CGI these days, but are there ANY mainstream horror films that hearken to the days of practical effects?
Speaking of, Gordon admitted he never used more than two gallons of fake blood prior to shooting Re-Animator. For this film, he used a whopping 24 gallons! If you've not seen it, and are in the mood for a very unique, quirky, yet gory film, then check this one out tonight, or maybe on Halloween. Just be forewarned, there are some gruesome moments!
My overall score? 6 bits out of 8. Not bad!
Check it out on Netflix this month, right here: