Saturday, 26 February 2011


As part of my occasional dealings with Lovecraft, I've been listening to the HP Literary Podcast, which discuss Lovecraft's stories. About twenty or so episodes in, and they're coming up to discussing Herbert West - Reanimator. I haven't read the story, but I did have the movie on DVD, so decided to watch that instead.

The story is about... well, Herbert West and his Re-animating. Of people, as it happens. And, well, wacky hi-jinks ensue! It's dead people coming back to life and running around, yeah, it's not an indepth serious epic about the nature of good and evil... and, indeed, what is evil varies throughout the movie. It's Science! Gone Mad! Maaaaddd!!!

And it seems like a student film. Well, it was Stuart Gordon's first directorial movie, and it was mid eighties and... it shows. That said, while it is of the time, they clearly had a lot of fun making it, and it also shows. The actors were willing to give anything a go, the effects aren't terrible, and the story is strong enough to carry.

And, of all the names associated with this (although he wasn't a name at the time), Herbert West is played by Jeffrey Combs. He's just quiet and creepy and sure of himself and damn fine casting for the role.

Lovecraft wasn't a zombie writer, and this isn't a zombie movie. In fact, this is about the part before the zombies happen. Most movies would use this as a jumping off point to do a zombie attack. Yay for not doing that.

The DVD has a range of extra material, including a 'making of' feature that is about as long as the movie itself. While that is nice, it also says a lot that they spend more time on not the movie than the movie (and there are many movies like that). "We'd rather talk about the movie than actually produce more/better movie." Huh.

Anyway, this is a twenty year old movie based on a ninety year old story... and it holds up! Go watch!



evildicemonkey said...

The movie is very loosely based on the book, have fun reading/listening to a very different story.

(The movie is a classic)

Jamas Enright said...

The DVD also has the actual story on it, so I have it to read. The recap (on the podcast) gave enough details so I know what the actual story is (and they are discussing the story with Stuart Gordon). Another, quite fun, version is the HPLHS carol 'Slay Ride' based on this story.