Re-Animator is oft considered to be the peak of the 1980s splatter genre, effortlessly blending outrageous special effects with knowing humour, and more than a tiny bit of sex. Indeed, it features possibly the most infamous scene in horror history, but more on that later….
So, as usual it is time for a synopsis:
Dan Cain is a medical student at Miskatonic University in Arkham. He has a steady girlfriend in the shape of Barbera, who is the daughter of the Universitys Dean. He takes on a new transfer student Herbert West, who arrived at the Miskatonic after a mysterious death at his previous school in Zurich. West immediately clashes with the medical schools resident “grant machine”, Dr Hill, over his unique theories about bringing the dead back to life.
Herbert begins to experiment with a serum he developed to bring the dead back to life, and recruits Dan to be his assistant. Together the seek to re-animate the dead, but are woefully unprepared for the consequences. Especially when the re-animate the angry and vengeful Dr Hill….
So, thats the story in a nutshell. And it must be said, being based on the famous multi part serial by H.P. Lovecraft gave Stuart Gordon plenty of material to adapt. As such he focuses on but part of the serial, bringing in elements from the various stages that West and Cain experience over the course of a few decades, compressed into a few weeks of time for the film. Despite being made for a relatively low budget (less than $1m allegedly), and featuring a largely unknown cast, Re-Animator succeeds in providing an excellent 90 minutes of entertainment, packing in some of the most inventive gore effects ever seen, and easily the most infamous and disturbing scene in a modern horror. The “giving head” scene. Trust me, you haven’t seen everything until you have seen a re-animated decapitated head be placed into a young ladies nether regions, and, well…
Anyways, the film looks absolutely superb here, easily the best I’ve ever seen it look. The colours pop nicely, and despite the low budget origins, the film is extremely well photographed and staged. The new 4k print was clearly worth the investment. The sound is also excellent, with both 5.1 and stereo track available.
The disc features a new documentary about the making of the film, as well as 2 commentary tracks, and a host of separate interviews with the cast & key crew. You also get deleted and extended scenes as well as the “Integral Version” of the film, which is a combination of footage used in both the unrated and R rated cuts, providing perhaps the ultimate cut of the film. Finally, you get some trailers and an image gallery.
Overall, I can’t reccomend this disc enough.
Gallery (click to view):