Monday, August 7, 2017
Medical student Dan Cain has a relationship with Meg, the daughter of the dean of the medical school, Dr. Halsey. Dan accepts the eccentric Herbert West, a new student, as his lodger. However, Cain finds out that West is performing an experiment with a green liquid that manages to bring dead back among the living. Unfortunately, the re-animated corpses are all mindless zombies who attack people, and Dr. Halsey is one of their victims. When his professor, Hill, finds out about the invention, he wants to steal it, so West decapitates him, but revives both Hill's severed head and body. Hill escapes and captures Barbara in a morgue. West injects too much liquid into Hill's body, causing it to mutate and melt away: its intestine attacks West. Barbara is killed, so Cain inject her with liquid, reviving her.
Even though it gained cult status, Stuart Gordon's horror grotesque is a fairly routine and standard film, settling to seize more attention of the viewers with gore, violence, blood and disgust than with intelligence, sophistication or some ingenuity. There isn't much to see: the first third is a soap opera, the last third just a standard cheap scare. "Re-Animator" has two great scenes of a visual style: the one is when West shuts the door while the camera follows its movement and swings to the left, towards Cain and Barbara; the second is when Barbara enters the hallway of the morgue, while the camera drives away from her. Unfortunately, that is basically it, since the jokes all backfire or seem just plain forced (one is the grotesque sequence of the decapitated head of Dr. Hill ordering his body to get something, but its body constantly stumbles upon something) whereas the finale falls too often into trash (the sequence of the body tying up Barbara naked to the table, only to hold Dr. Hill's decapitated head that wants to lick her between the legs; a mutated body whose intestines attack West). The critics mostly complimented Gordon for managing to achieve such good effects despite his limited budget, yet the story is an ill-conceived mess whose blend of horror and comedy are uneven.