Re-Animator (1985)

Directed by: Stuart Gordon

Written by: Dennis Paoli, William Norris & Stuart Gordon
H.P. Lovecraft (Book)


Jeffrey Combs .... Herbert West
Bruce Abbott .... Dan Cain
Barbara Crampton .... Megan Halsey
David Gale .... Dr. Carl Hill
Robert Sampson .... Dean Allen Halsey

Release Dates: Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival: October, 1985; Theatrical: October 18, 1985; Fantastic Film Festival: April 11, 2002; Night Visions Film Festival: October 26, 2003 (Finland); Lik Horror Film Festival: November 1, 2003 (Finland); Athens Film Festival: September 26, 2009

*Stills courtesy at






A mad scientist named Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) enroles to a University in the States at the Misatonik University after his return from Austria. He has invention of a reanimation potion to revive the dead with their tissue.
Next, he moves in with a student there named Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) and his fiancee Megan Halsey (Barbara Crampton) as Megan has a bad feeling about this nutty fellow plus her cat doesn't seem to like him. Later on she finds her cat dead in his fridge which he claimed was an accident.
After West resurrects their dead cat with his potion it behaves wild and menacing. Dan realises that the two of them can make lots of money by reviving the dead but the dead turn out to be vicious and deadly.
Megan's father Dean Allen Halsey (Robert Sampson) is accidentally killed by one of the re-animated corpses and so he's re-animated himself and goes wild.
Megan demands to find out what's going on with all the mess that's behind Herberts evil doing's but yet this can put her in a dangerous position.


There's a good beginning with a swiss doctor, a swiss policemen and psycho wards entering a hospital and breaking into a door along with a nice shot on Herbert West resurrecting a corpse and his head turned staring at the camera telling him what he's done showing full of insanity and excitement. All of this looked like a beginning of a trailer though.
A good scene between Dan Cain and Megan Halsey making out in bed and joking around. Plus there's many great funny shots on the cat jumping on their bed for attention.
A good moment with Dr. Carl Hill instructing a class with a corpse and Herbert just staring aggressively at him plus a good argumentive discussion between the two of them showing great intensity.
There's a good conversation between Megan Halsey acting anxious towards Dan about their roomate and fearing that he's crazy which looked energetically done plus good shots on her walking the hallways calling for her cat and then a good shot on a refrigerator door open with a dead cat and her freaking out and crying.
A nice shot on Dan rising up from his bed disturbingly awakened by a cat screeching. Plus there's nice struggling moments with both him and Herbert against the re-animated cat attacking which offers a few good laughs.
There's a good conversation between Carl and Dean Allen Halsey at a dinner table having a discussion about Herbert West living with both Dan Cain and Megan Halsey with the dangers of this person which looked dark and impressive and at the same time comedic. There's especially a great close up shot on Carl expressionless and speaking coldly along with a fireplace blazing offering both the horror and dark comedy together with all of this.
A nice energetic moment with Dan, Herbert and Megan in a lab re-animating a corpse and then suddenly this corpse springing to life and running around the room and causing damage. There's also a good shot of him breaking down a door with Dean being crushed by the door.
A good shot on Dean being re-animated with his arms springing up and trying to strangle Herbert as well as Megan crying and screaming intensely at what her father came to be which looked entertainingly intense.
A good moment with a close up shot on Carl acting expressionless again and talking to Megan by telling her she can talk to him and consider him a friend with a sudden jump on Dean banging his head on a window in a quiet room trying to get to them.
Good shot on Dan injecting formula in Herbert's arm with a nice close up shot on him reacting to it.
A great moment with Carl looking at a corpse about to be re-animated speaking crazily and obsessive with a good shot on Herbert in the background picking up a shovel and striking it at his head. Plus there's a good shot on him heaving the shovel and acting menacing.
Great scenes between Herbert and Carl now as a decapitated head having corny and wicked discussions with a great shot on a headless body creeping up behind Herbert.
Good shots on Megan tied down and getting stripped by corpses about to do evil deeds along with many struggling moments on Dan and Herbert battling these corpses.
Bottom line is that this is a film loosely based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft and it's quite original with what goes on with the corpses coming to life. Yet it seems to borrow a touch of Frankenstein but in a comedic way. The film can offer a few laughs with the re-aniamted cat screeching which makes up for the tragedy on what happened to this poor creature.
There's alot of great scenery with the re-animated corpses springing to life and attacking as well as running around along with a headless one which kinds reminds me of the dark comedy of Return of the Living Dead. Of course these two came out during the same year. It was a popular time when alot of dark comedy was blending with horror films.
The film is very influential and alot imitated the flick. I hated it at first but gave it another chance since it became a cult classic and I liked it a bit better. I guess I found the story a little too corny at first and it still seems that way which didn't appeal to me. At the same time I liked the effects and the originality to the flick.
Of course we have an ending moment which left a door open for a sequel which was of course Bride of Re-Animator.

The acting is quite hokey but yet intentional for a story like this. Otherwise well done. Lead actor Jeffrey Combs (Herbert West) really knew how to behave crazy and eccentric with what he is doing and bringing alot of comedy and horror into his character nicely as a mad scientist. He can really portray a nice comedic type of Frankenstein with all that he did in the film along with showing strange facial expressions too as well as nice wicked looks too when he acts menacing.
Bruce Abbott
(Dan Cain) really knew how to act romantic and charming in his role plus bringing alot of characteristic wit to his part which was another bonus. He also showed great energy with his aggressions and battles against these re-animated corpses too.
does well by pulling the bed sheets over his head and walking towards his onscreen wife which looked like a realistic husband fooling around.
Barbara Crampton
(Megan Halsey) acted very natural in her role as the fiancee in the film and brought a good characteristics along with nice intense crying and freaked out actions for when she had to do all of this.
David Gale
(Dr. Carl Hill) really stole the film as an instructor, with his expressionless and wicked, obnoxious and insane attitude as he came across quite intimidating with his actions and can portray a great horror character in this one as well as reminding you of those old fashioned types of horror films. Plus he was quite funny too with all he had to do in the film. He was a gifted character actor without a doubt.
Robert Sampson
(Dean Allen Halsey) performs well after being re-animated acting like a ball of energy by acting crazy and insane and beforehand had a nice calmness to his part in the film proving his versatality in the film.
he reacts well to the intense pain while being crushed against a door.

There is a brief butt and breast shot on Barbara Crampton's character after a sex scene when she puts on her clothes.
There is also a naked corpse that came to life.
Barbara has her breasts fully exposed later on in the film after a zombie rips her top off.

There's a mangled cat (Sick but it looks totally fake)
A corpse is shown at a class with a corpses brains being exposed
Bloodied corpses.
There's a bloodied decapitated head as well as showing the decapitated body where the head once was.

There's some great high pitched synthesizer screechy type of playing when a body is resurrected which sounded perfect for the scene. We hear the odd low drum beating. There's lots of great strong classical music with some odd sounds of some flute playing with the violin music of course too. Plus the score for the opening and parts of the film sounded very much like the theme song from Psycho mixing some updated sounds to it. Richard Band whom is best known for his composing in many indepdent low budget horror flicks with Full Moon Pictures composed the music for this and hats off to him for a great job with it.

Swiss Woman Doctor: You killed him!
Herbert West: No, I did not. I gave him life.

[Re-re-animating the dead cat in the basement]
Herbert West: Don't expect it to tango; it has a broken back.

Herbert West: Who's going to believe a talking head? Get a job in a sideshow.

[Visiting the morgue]
Dan Cain: What if we get caught?
Herbert West: What'll they do? Embalm us?

Herbert West: I must say, Dr. Hill, I'm VERY disappointed in you. You steal the secret of life and death, and here you are trysting with a bubble-headed coed. You're not even a second-rate scientist!

Dan Cain: He's dead?
Herbert West: Not anymore.