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Re-Animator (1985)


Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 46
Fresh: 43
Rotten: 3

Critics Consensus: Perfectly mixing humor and horror, the only thing more effective than Re-Animator's gory scares are its dry, deadpan jokes.

Average Rating: 5.9/10
Reviews Counted: 7
Fresh: 6
Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: Perfectly mixing humor and horror, the only thing more effective than Re-Animator's gory scares are its dry, deadpan jokes.


Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 35,736



Movie Info

Scientist Herbert West has discovered a fluid which brings living tissue back to life. After the death of his professor, West moves to a new university to continue his research. He involves a fellow student and the student's fiancée in his research by experimenting on their dead cat. Dan, fascinated by West's research, agrees to smuggle him into the hospital morgue...

Horror , Science Fiction & Fantasy , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
H.P. Lovecraft , Dennis Paoli , William J. Norris , Stuart Gordon
In Theaters:
Dec 10, 1997
Empire Pictures


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Critic Reviews for Re-Animator

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (43) | Rotten (3) | DVD (35)

It's simply the best, funniest Grand Guignol horror picture to come along in ages.

Full Review… | October 6, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Oh, those crazy doctors, when will they ever learn to stop messing around with the natural order of life and death?

Full Review… | October 6, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

It's this kind of flat-footed stuff that gives garbage a bad name.

Full Review… | June 5, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Pic has a grisly sense of humor, and sometimes is so gross and over the top the film tips over into a bizarre comedy.

Full Review… | June 5, 2007
Top Critic

The injection of humour into HP Lovecraft's 1922 tale is what saves this splatterfest from being mere fodder for gorehounds.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

All of this, ingenious as it may be and much as it will redound to Mr. Gordon's credit in hard-core horror circles, is absolutely to be avoided by anyone not in the mood for a major bloodbath.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

A ground-breaking horror/black comedy that reintroduced HP Lovecraft to a new generation, and set a new level as to how far on-screen outrageousness could go.

Full Review… | October 7, 2013
Radio Times

Because Re-Animator is so poorly acted and directed (by Stuart Gordon, whose first film this is), there is no tension to break. So the gruesome scenes are just clinical and dull.

Full Review… | October 6, 2013
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

I definitely see its appeal and influence. It's tasteless, shameless, and nasty. And I mean that in the most positive way.

Full Review… | April 26, 2013
Film Geek Central

A gross-out slapsticker to rival The Evil Dead.

Full Review… | October 9, 2012
Total Film

It's no match for The Evil Dead, but as far as tongue-in-bloody-cheek gorefests go, this update of the H.P. Lovecraft tale is a lot of fun, and it easily earns its cult status.

Full Review… | September 26, 2012
Creative Loafing

Thumpingly good gore-fest.

Full Review… | October 7, 2011

It's so politically incorrect that there is no way anyone would be able to make it today.

Full Review… | June 19, 2008

It's sweet when a classic lives up to its legend, isn't it?

Full Review… | June 15, 2008
Cinema Crazed

This is one of the greatest films ever made. Period. It's outrageous, erotic, gory, jaw-dropping, genre-busting ,shocking, and altogether exhilarating filmmaking.

Full Review… | May 5, 2008

A classic horror-comedy.

January 29, 2008

In its best moments, the film itself practically leaps off the screen.

Full Review… | October 22, 2007
Projection Booth

Stuart Gordon doesn't just push the envelope of good taste with this one; he tears right through it.

Full Review… | July 10, 2007
DVD Review

While Re-Animator fails as a faithful adaptation of Lovecraft, it is an incredibly demented movie in its own right that combines a plethora of downright disgusting grand guignol with disturbing black humor.

Full Review… | June 5, 2007
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The plot... took a genre obsessed with masked killers, monsters et al, completely by storm.

Full Review… | April 18, 2007
Empire Magazine

Re-Animator was Stuart Gordon's first (and best) movie.

Full Review… | April 13, 2007
Slant Magazine

When Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator arrived in 1985, it set a benchmark in horror-comedy that few films have matched since.

Full Review… | March 31, 2007

Audience Reviews for Re-Animator


With this, his first film, Stuart Gordon made a campy horror classic of the '80s that we could watch again and again and never get tired, offering us great effects in a gory plot full of memorable moments and with a spot-on dry humor that blends in perfectly with the rest.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Herbert West: You'll never get credit for my discovery. Who's going to believe a talking head? Get a job in a sideshow.

"Herbert West Has A Very Good Head On His Shoulders... And Another One In A Dish On His Desk"

Re-Animator definitely is deserving of the high praise it has received. It's definitely more of a cult horror film then anything else, with a lot of campy acting, loads of blood and disgusting images, and an amazing and bizarre character in Herbert West. I've been meaning to get to this film for a long time and I'm glad I finally gave it a look. It's a fun and interesting movie, and may be the closest to perfection a film has come in nailing the mad scientist character.

Herbert West, a young medical student, arrives at the same University as students Dan and Megan. Both are extremely dedicated to their work and studies. This is all interrupted though by the arrival of West, who moves into Dan's apartment. Soon, Dan and Megan realize that the experiments West is doing are not the average students experiments. He's bringing back dead animals and before long, maybe human beings as well.

I loved Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West. He's really what made this movie so great. His performance is definitely campy and bizarre, but it also is a great mad scientist performance; maybe even one of the best ever. The movie was only going to be as good as this character was presented and the direction of Stuart Gordon and the performance from Combs bring out the most in Lovecraft's interesting mad scientist.

This is obviously one that I can't recommend enough to all horror and film fans alike. It's a movie that is really rewarding because of how fun and well done it is, while appearing to be nothing more than a B-movie, cult film. Re-Animator is a classic of the horror genre and will stand as an important film in the genre. 

Melvin White

Super Reviewer


Based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft, this is a wild, gruesome, and surprisingly solid 80s horror film.

With a strong sense of black humor, the story here follows a warped scientist's experiments with a serum that can reanimate dead tissue, and bring it back to life, whether its a whole body, or just bits and pieces. Things start off well enough (as well as something like this could I suppose), but quickly get out of control when the serum gets into the wrong hands.

There have been some whacked out zombie films before, but none are quite like this. This features tons of gore, nudity, and jaw dropping moments (the best of which was briefly referenced in American Beauty, among other places), but it's not just a spectacle driven piece. It's tightly written and paced, done with intelligence, and care, and, aside from a few cheesy tongue-in-cheek moments, is pretty legit as a horror film.

It's definitely got more cult than mainstream appeal, but that's probably to be expected. I mean, this film doesn't hold back, and, even though it isn't for everyone, if you want something really twisted, sick, but still entertaining and fun, then definitely give this a look.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


One of the more intellectually challenging and beautifully crafted eighties' horror films, "Re-Animator" was wildly popular at the time of its release and proves to be a cult classic of epic proportions. There's no mistaking the faultless stink of cheesiness that almost all horror films reek of in this period, but it makes up for it with its sincerity. Based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft, this film takes liberties from the original which was a parody of Frankenstein. Modernized and filled with the most gruesome and yet terrific gore, "Re-Animator" focuses on some seriously amazing effects and even has a heart thumping relationship between medical students Dan and Megan. The couple is studying at a medical school, headed by Megan's father. In comes European schooled Herbert West, the basis of Lovecraft's short story. Herbert has become crazed, studying the human brain in school and performing gruesome experiments in the basement of the house he shares with roommate Dan. To Dan's amazement Herbert shows him the effects of a serum that re-animates dead tissues, which leads to a deadly set of events for the two as they bring back those who are woefully gone from this world. The film does some amazing things with brain matter, blood, horror show effects, stuffed animals, and makeup to make some newly animated bodies look like the obvious zombies they truly are. The film breaks ground by showing nudity, not just for sex appeal, but also to show the likelihood that corpses would be naked, and doesn't subject that nudity to simply undead females. There is an iconic scene, that isn't in all cuts of the film, where a severed head eats out a bound and naked woman, and has been referenced to death by top ten lists and internet reviewers. "Re-Animator" just is one of the best horror films because it doesn't take itself too seriously, is filled with raunchy and subtle effects and bloodshed, and at least tries to build up characters past the usual stereotypes we're all so sick of.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Re-Animator Quotes

Dan Cain:
[visiting the morgue] What if we get caught?
Herbert West:
What'll they do? Embalm us?
– Submitted by Nick S (22 months ago)
Dan Cain:
This is a dream. It's fiction.
– Submitted by In Your D (23 months ago)
Herbert West:
Cat dead. Details later.
– Submitted by Joshua C (2 years ago)
Herbert West:
I must say, Dr. Hill, I'm very disappointed in you. You steal the secret of life and death and here you are, trysting with a bubble-headed co-ed. You're not even a second-rate scientist.
– Submitted by Wes S (2 years ago)
Herbert West:
You'll never get credit for my discovery. Who's going to believe a talking head? Get a job in a sideshow.
– Submitted by Wes S (2 years ago)
Herbert West:
Dammit! It wasn't quite fresh enough!
– Submitted by Joseph M (3 years ago)

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