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Sunday 2 October 2011

Burl reviews Re-Animator! (1985)

It’s Burl here with a movie review! Today I’m strolling back again to that magical year of 1985 and looking at the fantastic Re-Animator – the zombie movie that isn’t really a zombie movie! Ha ha, and why isn’t it a zombie movie? Well, I have no credible case to make for that assertion – it’s just the way I feel! Ha ha!

The plot is pretty simple: an intense, owlish graduate student comes to study at Miskatonic University, and on the side continues work on some crazy antifreeze that resuscitates dead bodies! He gets an evil credit-grabbing doctor on his case and a clean-cut Igor who helps him out – but soon the dean and the dean’s daughter are making trouble for him too! There’s lots of shouting and sharp dialogue and hyp-mo-tizing, and though the campus seems at times to be populated by about three people plus a break-loving security guard, the acting is so good that you don’t really notice!

Perhaps I shouldn’t say the acting is good when what I mean is the acting is perfect! All the performers seemed to be on the same, correct page, and what that means is clever casting plus a director who knows how to work with actors! And Stuart Gordon, whose first film this was, already had years of theatre experience under his belt! So ha ha, he really did a bang up job with those actors!

Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West is especially good! He’s very funny too – just listen when he lilts “Mal-PRAC-tise!” And David Gale is great in this role as the nasty doctor with hypnotic powers! He would play almost the exact same role a few years later in a movie called The Brain, which I hope to review sometime soon! But then, sadly, he died well before what would seem to be his time – had he hung on, he might today be an old-style horror star in the vein of Angus Scrimm from Phantasm II!

In the last act of the movie, the gore really begins! There’s some pretty gross stuff in this movie, even today, but the gore is so gosh-darn good-natured! It was the same in From Beyond, the movie Stuart Gordon made after this, and which I’ll try to review soon also! Anyway, the university hospital morgue gets a new paint job: blood red! And there’s a jaw-dropping scene involving a severed noggin and a bare naked lady!

All that gore was cut out of the movie in one R-rated videotape release of this movie (which somehow was ten minutes longer than the uncut one!), and for years that was the only version could get my hands on! They really butchered it, no pun intended, ha ha! I was glad to watch it again the other day in all its crimson glory!

I give this great film a hearty ha ha! and four muffled “Of course it’s me”s, even though I felt really sorry for Rufus the cat when I watched it this time around! Did West in fact kill him? Ha ha, I’d say so! I love cats, so that’s pretty hard to forgive! But I still really enjoy this movie!

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