Remember when deciding to watch a movie was a big deal? A real commitment? Now you can just turn on the TV, skim Netflix, press play, and off you go. If it sucks, stop it, pick something else. But back in my day (When did I get so old?), things were different. You had one shot to pick the right film for that night. Deciding to watch a movie used to mean hopping on your bike and riding to the nearest video store, wandering the long aisles of well-handled VHS tapes for at least an hour or two, finally deciding on something, PAYING for it, all to make it home to find the last jackass wasn’t kind and did not rewind. So then you’d wait an eternity for your VCR to take the tape in fully without spitting it back out, rewind the thing, press play, and then settle in. There was something exciting in that. It was an event. Movies seem to be background noise these days, something to listen to while you’re on your phone checking Facebook. I still remember that feeling when one cover would jump out and grab you from the shelf and you had to watch that film, almost like it chose you. I remember the time I strolled through Blockbuster and caught a glimpse of a man wearing glasses and a white coat, holding up a syringe filled with bright green liquid, a head in the dish on his desk… I remember Re-Animator.
Based on a novella by H.P Lovecraft and directed by Stuart Gordon, Re-Animator tells the tale of Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) who, after re-animating and unintentionally killing one of his professors at his university in Switzerland, transfers to New England to complete his medical schooling. In no time he’s got a new basement lab set up and is right back to his mad scientist ways. Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott), another student and the person from whom Herbert rents his room, learns Herbert’s secret when Herbert re-animates Dan’s deceased cat with his green reagent. Look how cute he is!
Herbert and Dan end up being expelled from school by the a-hole dean (who’s also the father of the woman with whom Dan is having an affair) who thinks their re-animation talk is pure insanity. They sneak back into the morgue with the hopes that one successful human re-animation will save their education and careers. But as with most horror, things go from bad to worse quite quickly, and everything pretty much goes downhill from there for our white-coated friends.
Horror-comedy is my favourite. To me there is no better entertainment combination, and Re-Animator delivers. Sometimes judging something by its cover works out just fine.
You can watch the film in its entirely below, and whether you already have or haven’t seen it, I suggest you press play, sit back, and enjoy.