“Who’s going to believe a talking head? Get a job in a sideshow”
It was one of those occurrences everyone has had, at least at one time or another, you have been out with friends catching up and generally getting highly inebriated , you laugh throw up, possibly drink some more which in turn leads to the inevitable zombie-stumble back to your home. Or the other kind of walk which involves a rocky-like motivational theme tune of your own composition as you force yourself to push threw along with motivational gibberish and promises of unhealthy and greasy foods to consume to help said trek (believe it or not this will have a point). This prominent feast of a meat-like substance (or substitute) which has on several occasions been an elegant and subtle dish of donner kebab with chilli sauce….yum…..which leads into yet more stumbling and eventual finding of your homes actual location. Tired and exhausted from the perilous journey you slump, onto the welcoming and worn in sofa….you switch on the television. Flicking through channel after channel, suddenly you hear a noise which catches your attuned drunken sense; you flick back a few channels and finally located the source of the noise, then BAM!!! You see a woman scream and a shot of a man eyes bulge and explode all over her, she screams uttering the words “you killed him” (add European accent here for she was European)…the reply from a bespectacled man “No! I gave him life!”….credits a funky techo remix of Bernhard Hermans Psycho theme promising me further outlandish entertainment. This was my introduction to Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator (or the appropriate title “H P Lovecraft’s Re-Animator) and Jeffrey Combs characterisation of an iconic horror character….I was promised a ride I would not long forget.
What commenced was 87 minutes of pure unadulterated, un-pc gory brilliance, which among the many highlights included heads removed from torsos with garden shovels, disembodied heads seeking violent vengeance, zombies, evil black cats and a crazed doctor by the name of Herbert West…sobering up….I unsure if what I had just witnessed was not just some drunken day dream….
I woke up the next morning furry tongued and dehydrated…..flashbacks of the previous nights images bled back into my swollen head. Was it a dream, an elaborated fantasy perhaps or was it real (or as realistic as a film can be anyway)….after a pint of water it becomes less clear…. my mind is unsure that it could be a bit of both….
Stuart Gordon’s 1985 camp horror classic Re-Animator has since been one of my favourite films…period, it really is amazing what you find during drunken nights. With the egocentric yet unusually affable character of Herbert West (although I suppose anti-hero would be more apt) this remains a campy yet gory, darkly funny and deliberately OTT piece of horror brilliance in every sense of the word.
Its hard not to love a film which contains so much energy and fun within its well packed running time, it is a brilliant example of a cinematic Grand-Guignol with the fake blood and horror flowing right off the screen. I would truly love to have seen such an experience on the big screen. This was absolutely a product of the 80s due to the high amount of latex make-up effects and synth score, it also still remains the best of the (so far) Herbert West trilogy.
To Be Continued…….