Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

(vt H.P. Lovecraft's Re-Animator) US movie (1985). Empire. Pr Brian Yuzna. Exec pr Michael Avery, Bruce Curtis. Dir Stuart Gordon. Spfx Anthony Doublin, John Naulin. Screenplay Gordon, William J Norris, Dennis Paoli. Based very loosely on "Herbert West, Re-Animator" by H P Lovecraft. Starring Bruce Abbott (Dan Cain), Jeffrey Combs (Herbert West), Barbara Crampton (Megan Halsey), David Gale (Dr Carl Hill), Robert Sampson (Dean Alan Halsey). 86 mins. Colour.

This black comedy is a Parody of the Frankenstein Movies, transported to the campus of a modern US university – in fact, Miskatonic Medical School, Arkham, Mass. Herbert West has left Zurich University under something of a cloud, his experiments having apparently killed his tutor, the renowned Dr Gruber. Finding himself studying under Gruber's rival, Hill, he continues his experiments in trying to bring the dead back to life ... starting with the cat of flatmate Cain, who is sleeping with Megan Halsey, daughter of the dean. Blood flies as Dean Halsey is killed and revived and then Hill, becoming murderous, proves almost unkillable. The finale sees a troop of vengeful Zombies on the rampage.

Exceptionally tasteless and full of gratuitous gore and nudity, this cod Technofantasy has no redeeming characteristics whatsoever except that it is often – in large part thanks to Combs's po-faced portrayal of the obsessed West – genuinely funny. The sequel, Re-Animator II (1989), lacks this flair. [JG]


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.