Saturday, October 17, 2009

THE RETURN OF 31 DAYS OF HORROR: #17 The Reanimator

Time for some truth, when I first saw The Reanimator I didn’t really dig it. Yes It was mostly because I was young and stupid, but the main reason was I had gone crazy in love with Evil Dead 2 directly before seeing it, and was told to rent Reanimator by a well meaning video store clerk because it was just like it. Reanimator however is not Evil Dead 2, which at the time was an unforgivable crime. Still I’m older and wiser now and know that many things are not Evil Dead 2, and that’s OK. Because the Reanimator might not be Evil Dead 2, but it is a movie in which a headless corpse attempts to perform cunnilingus, and that’s just as good.

The Reanimator follows bland medical student Dan Cain, makes the mistake of renting a room to Herbert West. A Scientist who has created a formula for bringing people back from the dead! That’s good. But it brings them back as mindless enraged zombies. That’s bad. But the zombies come with a free Frogurt! That’s Good. But the Frogurt contains Benzium Chlorate. That’s bad. But it comes with a free topping. Which is also cursed.

Anyway one cat murder/resurrection later and Cain’s a firm believer. They use Cain’s access to fresh cadavers to run some expirements, which really isn’t the brightest move on Cain’s part. Cain ends up accidently killing, then bringing back his fiance’s father, which let me tell you will put a strain on even the healthiest of the relationships. Things go from bad to worst when a rival of West’s first steals, then is injected with, and then decapitated because of the formula though none of these things keep him from being a royal pain in the ass, and raising his own undead army of zombies. Dr. Hill who spends the majority of the movie carrying around his own severed head on a tray gives a great grizzly performance. Hilariously funny while still legitimately menacing.

Jeffery Combs as the unhinged Herbert West also sells his roll perfectly. He’s deranged, smug, and kind of a prick. But he’s undeniably charismatic and fun to watch. It’s easy to see how poor Cain gets swept up in his mania. Horror icon turned unlikely art house hit Stuart Gordon, does a great job with the movie, giving it a terrific energy and a nasty sense of humor.

From it’s insane opening to it’s bleak ending Reanimator fully lives up to it’s hype. It’s a true horror cult classic if there ever was one.

1 comment:

Will Errickson said...

Yeah, this one really blows the doors off--I saw it around the time it came out, my friends and I were 14 or 15. Perfect age for this kinda thing. And man, that climactic scene with Crampton and the severed head!