Gordon’s ultimately auspicious directorial debut, Re-Animator, was originally intended as a somewhat serious gritty 16mm semi-avant-garde work to be shot on stage at the director and his wife’s Organic Theater company (indeed, somewhat surprisingly, Gordon started out founding and managing a series of theaters, including the counter-culture-themed Screw Theater where he directed a degenerate hippie reworking of Peter Pan featuring nudity and acid trips that got him arrested, as well as a somewhat serious Chicago-based theater that was responsible for premiering David Mamet’s Off-Off-Broadway play Sexual Perversity in Chicago), but the serious theater actors there were having none of that, so the filmmaker had to rethink the project and after meeting budding producer Brian Yuzna, he was convinced to make the film in Hollywood. Using much of the crew of James Cameron’s The Terminator (1984) and using no less than 25 gallons of fake blood, Gordon, much like a mad scientist, assembled an unhinged and out-of-control monster of a movie that attempted to outdo George A. Romero, Wes Craven, and Abel Ferrara’s Driller Killer (1979), while also paying homage to Alfred Hitchcock (indeed, Full Moon Features Führer Charles Band’s brother Richard’s opening score ‘borrows’ heavily from Bernard Herrmann’s iconic score from Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece Psycho) and, to a lesser extent, Stanley Kubrick. Arguably the greatest slapstick splatter-fest since Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead (1981), Re-Animator is proof that you can take the Yid out of vaudeville but not the vaudeville out of the Yid.
At University of Zurich Institute of Medicine in Switzerland, a young medical student named Herbert West (played by Jeffrey Combs, who would go on to star in virtually all of Gordon’s other films)—an uptight and obnoxiously obsessive megalomaniac that might suffer from Asperger syndrome and seems to be a parody of H.P. Lovecraft (incidentally, Combs would later play the Weird Tales master in the 1993 horror omnibus film H.P. Lovecraft's: Necronomicon, which was co-produced and co-directed by producer Brian Yuzna)—successfully reanimates his dead teacher, Dr. Gruber (Al Berry), with a neon green corpse-reanimating serum, but since the undead professor was given too large of a dose, his eyes start popping out and he dies a second horrible death only seconds later (or as one doctor states with a pseudo-Germanic accent, “er ist tot”). All of this is witnessed by the staff of the institute, with one doctor accusing West of murdering Gruber, to which the novice mad scientist definitely replies, “No, I did not. I gave him life.” Ironically, West got a lot of his ideas from Dr. Gruber, but he must leave the more sophisticated and experimental schools of the German-speaking world for backwards Miskatonic University in New England due to the whole disastrous botched corpse-reanimating incident in Zurich. Upon relocating to New England, West rents a room in the home of his virtual opposite, fellow medical student Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott of Bad Dreams (1998) and Bride of Re-Animator (1990)), who is a kind and caring young man on a medical scholarship who plans to marry his beauteous blonde fiancee Meg Halsey (scream queen Barbara Crampton) once he gets his MD. Meg is the daughter of the dean of the medical school, Alan Halsey (Robert Sampson), who his daughter describes as “the world’s last living Puritan” and who has a grudge against Dan since he is banging his daughter. Dean Halsey is a comrade of hack professor Dr. Carl Hill (British screen villain David Gale) and on the first day of class, Herbert West accuses his theories of being derivative of Dr. Gruber’s theories from the 1970s, adding, “in fact, it’s so derivative that it would be considered plagiarism in Europe.” Dr. Hill lets West know that it will be a pleasure failing him. Little do both men know that they will later be involved in a deadly zombified game involving corpse-based cunt-chomping, killer intestines, and headless servants.
A rather normal young lady who enjoys sneaking over to her boyfriend’s house to have passionate orgasms with a film poster for the experimental Talking Heads documentary Stop Making Sense (1984) directed by Jonathan Demme hanging over her beau’s bed and who dreams of living a simple life in suburbia with her boyfriend involving a white picket fence and 2.5 kids, Meg rightfully immediately becomes unnerved by Herbert West’s presence and when her cute little black kitty cat goes missing, she immediately suspects the glaringly strange medical student. Upon investigation, Meg finds Rufus’ corpse in a refrigerator in the basement of the house, which West has turned into a makeshift lab. Of course, West walks in on Meg’s discovery and threatens to tell Dean Halsey about Dan’s carnal excursions with his daughter. That night, Dan wakes from a nightmare and after hearing some noise in the basement, heads down there with a baseball bat to investigate, only to find West being attacked by a zombie cat in a superlatively schlocky slapstick scene. After they kill the killer kitty, West once again reanimates its completely crippled corpse to prove to Dan that his neon green serum has the power to reanimate the dead. Finally convinced of West’s seemingly unbelievable claims, Dan goes to Dean Halsey with the discovery, which is promptly rewarded with his scholarship being rescinded, potential criminal charges, and the demand that he write a formal letter of apology. As for West, he is expelled from the school. Of course, Dean Halsey’s actions are clouded by his anger regarding the fact that Dan is ostensibly defiling his daughter. Unable to continue school without his scholarship, Dan becomes determined to prove the soundness of his wackjob roommate's wild theories, so he sneaks West into the university morgue and they foolishly decide to reanimate the largest and most muscular corpse there. Of course, Halsey goes to stop them and is killed when the corpse, ‘Melvin the Re-Animated’ (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s personal stuntman, stand-in, and friend Peter Kent), goes berserk, knocks down a door, grabs the Dean, bites off some of his fingers, and slams him around until he is dead. Trapped in a precarious situation that can result in murder charges, West naturally comes up with the idea to reanimate Dean Halsey’s corpse, which immediately attacks him and Dan just as Meg walks in. West accuses Halsey, who is now in a terribly confused retarded zombie state, of going insane and attacking them, so the undead dickhead dean is put in a padded cell and observed by his ostensible friend Dr. Hill, who has him lobotomized and eventually comes to the conclusion that he is dead, thus causing him to realize that his much hated ex-student has found a way to reanimate the dead.
When Dr. Hill, who is ultimately the real villain of Re-Animator (and not Herr West as the viewer suspects during the first half of the film), goes by Herbert West’s basement lab to blackmail him for his reanimating serum and research, stating, “I’ll have you locked up as a mad man…or a murderer,” things get a bit complicated between the old fraud and the young genius. Needless to say, West would never allow for his extensive research on his favorite subject to be stolen by an arrogant old fart that does not have a single original idea of his own, so he hits Dr. Hill over the head with a shovel and subsequently decapitates him with it. Of course, West decides to reanimate Dr. Hill’s decapitated head, but also makes the mistake of reanimating the corpse, which the prick professor manages to be able to control when he is reanimated. Using his own body as his evil henchman, Dr. Hill has it sneak up behind West while he is taking notes and knock him unconscious. After stealing West’s serum and research, Dr. Hill has his body carry his head back to his office where he studies the groundbreaking theories of reanimation. Using mind control techniques, Dr. Hill also turns undead Dean Halsey into his own personal slave and has him kidnap his own daughter Meg and bring her back to the university morgue where he has created a heinous yet rather retarded lobotomized zombie army using an eclectic collection of morgue corpses, including an ashy negro and a grotesque obese bitch (who, unfortunately, is not the only unclad lard ass lady featured in the film). When zombie Halsey comes back with Meg, Dr. Hill has her stripped completely naked, put on an operating table, and, in the most infamous part of the movie, the “head giving head” scene (which Gordon has dubiously described as the “world’s first visual pun”), the debauched decapitated head performs cunnilingus on her for a split second while her undead daddy mindlessly watches on. While Dr. Hill is in the middle of giving head, West storms in and Dan soon frees his girlfriend while the animated head is distracted. From there, Dr. Hill reveals his brigade of brazen lobotomized corpses, who he uses mind control to attack his enemies. Luckily, lobotomized zombie Dean Halsey has enough human memory to hear his daughter Meg’s pleas and responds by fighting off the multicultural zombie gang and by crushing Dr. Hill’s head, which thwarts his mind control powers. West also gets the bright idea to inject Dr. Hill’s body with an overdose of the reanimating serum, though his plan backfires and the headless corpse’s intestines wrap around him and begin to kill the young mad scientist, who pleads to Dan to save his research. Dan does what West tells him to do, which ultimately seems to be quite auspicious as Meg is soon strangled to death by a burnt zombie, so it gives the grieving boyfriend an opportunity to revive his girlfriend. When Dan and his fellow doctors fail to resuscitate Meg the normal way, the shattered beau uses West’s green juice, thus causing the undead dame to wake up screaming. Needless to say, Dan is not the sort of the guy to partake in necrophilia.
As you can expect from any successful (and oftentimes less than successful) horror flick, Re-Animator was followed by two watchable yet innately inferior sequels, Bride of Re-Animator (1990) and Beyond Re-Animator (2003), both of which were directed by producer Brian Yuzna and once again starring Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West. Director Stuart Gordon has also, not unlike Yuzna, practically created a career out of directing super schlocky and uniquely unfaithful Lovecraft adaptations, which include the films From Beyond (1986), Castle Freak (1995), and Dagon (2001), as well as the Masters of Horror episode Dreams in the Witch-House (2005) and a musical version of Re-Animator entitled Re-Animator: The Musical (2011) that he produced, co-wrote, and directed on Broadway. Unquestionably, I am somewhat of a reluctant fan of Re-Animator and, as a fan of punk/deathrock music and unclad punk-goth girls dancing on tombstones, I considered The Return of the Living Dead (1985) directed by Alien (1979) writer Dan O'Bannon (who, incidentally, also directed The Resurrected (1991) aka Scatterbrain, which is a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the Lovecraft story The Case of Charles Dexter Ward) infinitely superior and much more re-watchable. Personally, I can never forgive Gordon for sanitizing Lovecraft's work and making it absurdly silly and ridden with spastic scatological slapstick routines and incredibly unsexy gratuitous nudity and moronic gore. As a Hebraic ex-hippie, it should also be no surprise that when he directed Stuck (2007)—a film based on a repugnant real-life incident where a nasty meta-negligent negro named Chante Mallard hit a homeless white man, Greg Biggs, with her car while high on marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol, thus leaving his body lodged halfway through her windshield and parked inside her garage before the poor forsaken man bled to death and his corpse was disposed of in a park by the cunty culprit and her beau—Gordon opted for changing the race of the rather revolting villain from black to white, with a wiggerized and miscegenation-practicing Mena Suvari absurdly playing the role modeled after a butch overweight negress.
In Re-Animator, Gordon—a racially conscious man not unlike his Zionist comrade David Mamet (whose politically incorrect 1982 one-act play Edmond Gordon cinematically adapted in 2005) who proudly received a belated Bar Mitzvah in 1997 and who staged Howard Schwartz's Hebraic horror anthology Kabbalah: Scary Jewish Stories in 1999 in an attempt to get in touch with his Jewish roots—makes it blatantly clear what he thinks of WASPs (aka the American majority), as they are all almost unanimously depicted as outmoded puritans, scheming psychopaths, and crypto-perverts (notably, in the audio commentary for the Anchor Bay DVD release of the film, Gordon describes actor Robert Sampson as resembling a Republican spokesman for Ronald Reagan). After all, how else can one explain why Jewess Pauline Kael—an intolerably pretentious film critic who was largely responsible for promoting anti-establishment films that undermined the mores of American's white Christian majority—would give the film puffery-plagued praise, even absurdly describing it as “pop Buñuel” in her review. Notably, Gordon also revealed that he originally intended to hire what he described a “blond Aryan type” to play the role of Herbert West but was so impressed with Jeffrey Combs' that he decided otherwise. Unquestionably, National Socialist era auteur Frank Wisbar (who directed the Nazi era classic expressionist horror flick Fährmann Maria (1936) starring tragic Teutonic diva Sybille Schmitz) would have made a more fitting adaptor of Lovecraft’s work. Like his kosher comrade Walter Kaufmann has done with Friedrich Nietzsche, Gordon devoted his career to warping and Judaizing the work of an Aryan master (or as the late great Jonathan Bowden described him, an “Aryan mystic”). Aside from Gordon, it seems that all so-called ‘Cthulhu Mythos’ writers (aka Lovecraft wannabes) and various other novelists and filmmakers inspired by Lovecraft spend most of their time complaining about how much of a racist he was as demonstrated by shitty documentaries like Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown (2008) where a bunch of these slave-morality-ridden hacks complain about the perfectly logical, albeit now unfashionable and unpopular thoughts of the great Aryan master of horror and fantasy. What none of these hopeless morons seem to get is that racialism and anti-miscegenation sentiments are an innate and imperative attribute of Lovecraft's work that, as fellow anti-leftist Michel Houellebecq noticed in his excellent work H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life (1991), was responsible for the “poetic trance” quality of the writer's work.
More recently, a group of rather resentful and mostly nonwhite untermenschen commie fantasy and sci-fi novelists lead by people like Brooklyn-based mestizo would-be-writer Daniel José Older (who no one ever heard of until he started the pathetic petition), English neo-Trotskyite hipster dork China Miéville (who Modern Library Classics absurdly got to write the introduction for their 2005 edition of Lovecraft's Spenglerian novella At the Mountains of Madness: The Definitive Edition just so he could complain about how much of a big racist meanie the writer was) and Nigerian-American Nnedi Okorafor (who dubiously won the award in 2011 in what one might describe as a case of crypto-affirmative-action) have attempted to gain unwarranted attention for themselves to the point of actually somehow receiving support from the mainstream media by demanding that the World Fantasy Awards award for ‘Lifetime Achievement,’ a goofy caricature bust of H. P. Lovecraft, be replaced with the unsightly mug of no-talent Octavia E. Butler—an Afrocentric negress that is best known for her postmodern Afrofuturist racial polemics (which only have superficial sci-fi trappings and hardly feature a distinct and revolutionary literary universe like Lovecraft's work) who is not even worthy of smelling the Aryan alpha-horror writer’s postmortem farts and whose less than beauteous appearance would have certainly inspired one of the beasts from the Providence-based wordsmith's Cthulhu Mythos (not to mention the fact that most sci-fi and fantasy fans could care less about Butler's work and she would already be totally forgotten by now were it not for the fact that she was a race-hustling far-leftist who is adored by establishment academic types). With that being said, it would certainly be poetic justice if someone reanimated Lovecraft Re-Animator-style so he can seek good old fashion Anglo-Saxon revenge against his hordes of thankless ex-colonial defilers. If anything is for sure, it is that, while Older, Miéville, Okorafor, and Butler will be forgotten in a couple decades (not that any of them is really that famous now), Lovecraft, whose writings have influenced everything from psychedelic rock bands to left-hand path based religions to some of the best horror films ever made, will still be looked at centuries from now as one of the greatest and most revolutionary writers that the horror genre has ever produced.
Above: Stuart ‘The Poor Man’s John Landis’ Gordon curiously sporting an Adolf Hitler ‘European Tour’ t-shirt
As for Gordon's Re-Animator, while I think that it is an abject disgrace to the Lovecraftian Weltanschauung and everything Lovecraft stood for during his all-too-brief and all-too-human life, it still makes for a great, if not majorly misleading, philistinic introduction to the Weird Tales maestro's singular oeuvre. Indeed, I, for one, owe credit to Gordon's film for introducing me to the wonderful of H.P. Lovecraft, so I will always have a slight soft-spot for it. When it comes down to it, Re-Animator is probably best described as a Lovecraftsploitation flick as directed by a man who probably has more of an interest in reading from the works of Norman Mailer and the Talmud than from the Necronomicon. After all, Gordon has done a hell of a job getting blonde Shiksas to disrobe for him for his schlocky cinematic works, with Re-Animator probably being the most notable example of this. Certainly, one can never forget a uniquely unhinged zombie flick where an undead head gives head to a blonde Nordic beauty.