Day 25: Re-Animator
Premise: Scientist Herbert West has discovered a method to re-animate the dead! What could possibly go wrong?! Many many things!
I finally got around to covering an adaptation of a Lovecraft story! Huzzah! I mean, sure, it was a short story and has very little to actually do with the rest of his cosmic horror oeuvre, but it still counts, right?
Anyway, this is one of the more famous and popular horror movies that I haven’t seen yet and it’s easy to see why. After all, it is very very good, in a campy sort of way that finely treads the line between horrific and goofy quite expertly. Jeffrey Combs is great as Herbert West, the Frankensteinian (as in the scientist, not the monster) Herbert West, who treads the line between ‘unsettlingly deranged’ and ‘frustrated scientist who just wants people to stop fucking with his shit’. And David Gale is clearly having great fun hamming it up as the incredibly creepy and assholish Dr Hill.
The story itself is fairly simple, but effective. Herbert West has created basically Pet Sematary in a vial, experiments with it, shit gets quickly out of hand, people die which requires more reanimation, which causes more problems, etc etc. You can guess the rest. But the movie works thanks to its excellent cast, gory effects and what feels like a genuine enjoyment in regards to adapting its source material. David Gale talked often about how much fun he had making this movie, but you can tell the same was true for a lot of the actors and production staff involved.
If I did have to include one criticism, it’s that the main (non-Herbert West) character is a bit bland, the love interest is a bit bossy and I’m pretty sure I sympathised waaay more with Herbert West than the movie wanted me to. I mean, hell, the guy has invented the cure for death, wants to scientifically test it to work out the kinks, yet everyone gets in his goddamn face about it. Let the fucker cure death already, you assholes! That’s a (mostly) good thing!
Still, this was a very fun movie and I can see why it has such a strong reputation. Admittedly, it’s certainly not one you think of when you hear ‘Lovecraft’ but that doesn’t make it plenty fun enough on its own.
Was is Scary?: Not that kind of horror movie, really.
Was it Silly?: Significantly more that kind of horror movie.
Overall Grade: A-