Re-Animator (1985, Stuart Gordon)

“West killed the corpse.”
“I see how that sounds.”

Academia Horror, an unbelievable horror-comedy that never winks. Even the music is very good, by Richard Band, little brother of Dollman vs. Demonic Toys director Charles.

We’ve got medical school dean Halsey, his student daughter Megan, and her boyfriend Dan… then there’s the boyfriend’s eccentric new roommate Herbert, and his archrival, brain surgeon Dr. Hill. Dan and the Dean (horror royalty Robert Sampson of City of the Living Dead and Netherworld) are fine, but the other three… Barbara Crampton, Jeffrey Combs, and David Gale as Hill… if I was in charge, I’d cast them in every movie.

Opens with Herbert losing his mentor, then Hill losing a patient, and the two face off in the morgue with conflicting beliefs about the nature of life, and I’d forgotten that Hill is also a hypnotist. The autistic West, not great at making friends, gets addicted to his own reagent. The first human he reanimates kills the Dean, so the Dean has to be reanimated – then locked up, since they come back fully mad. As for Hill, West just straight up kills him with a shovel (“plagiarist!”) then reanimates his severed head to prove his methods to the skeptical late doctor, but things… escalate.

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