Re-Animator Trilogy – Film

#28, 29, 30 of the 31 days of horror challenge.  (These reviews will be more raw due to the nature of the challenge.)

“Re-Animator” (1985)

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Med student, Dan Cain, gets a new roommate, the brilliant and mysterious Herbert West.  Soon, Dan becomes involved in West’s morbid and bazaar experiments trying to reanimate the dead.

Based loosely on H.P. Lovecraft’s “Herbert West – Re-Animator.”   This film, written by Stuart Gordon and Dennis Paoli, modernizes and expands the story.  Jeffrey Combs as the morally questionable Herbert West; Barbara Crampton as Megan Halsey, the Dean’s daughter and girlfriend to  Bruce Abbott’s Dan Cain, promising young med student; along with Robert Sampson, as Dean Halsey; and David Gale, as West’s nemesis, Dr Hill,  have great chemistry and create a satisfying blend of sinister, dark humor throughout the film.

The music is memorable and the practical effects are effective, though in some cases laughable (sadly not intentionally).

I gave this film 5 rum & cokes.


“Bride of Re-Animator” (1989)

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Continuing to draw from the source material, Herbert West and Dan Cain graduated from med school and have gone to Peru to give medical aid in a civil war where West has continued his research into the reanimation of dead tissue.  Upon returning to Miskatonic Hospital, West becomes ever more morbid in his experimentation, reanimating individual body parts.  As the title suggests, West decides to make the perfect woman.

Jeffery Combs, Bruce Abbott and David Gale bring that familiar chemistry from the first film, with each delving further into their respective characters to create a plausible sense of camaraderie based on the fear of  their experiments being discovered.  West and Cain’s relationship has evolved into one of master (West) and, trapped by his own weakness, assistant (Cain).

The effects weren’t bad, necessarily more use of more special effects with the animated body part creatures.  And, what can I say, I have a soft spot for the head that flies around with bat wings and that familiar theme music.

I gave this film 4 1/2 rum & cokes.


“Beyond Re-Animator” (2003)

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Jeffrey Combs returns as our favorite mad scientist,  the indomitable, Herbert West in this third installment.  After the events of “Bride,” West is sentenced to prison (Dan Cain has testified against him) where the brother of one of his inadvertent victims, seeks him out.  No longer satisfied with simply reanimating tissue, West has been experimenting with the essence of life and bringing true life back from the dead.

This film has departed from the source material, but successfully continues to develop the character, Herbert West in a much more tongue in cheek fashion.   With plenty of gore for us gore-hounds, this film is bloody good fun.  I think the lack of chemistry among the characters detracted from the film, though that may have been intentional due to the the setting being prison.

I gave this film 4 rum & cokes.


Overall I give the series 4 1/2 rum & cokes.  Even though the story departs from the source material, Jeffrey Combs really brings life to the character and continues to make Herbert West develop and evolve.

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