6. Re-Animator (1985)

During the 80s I went to just about any horror movie that opened in the West End, even those which ran for a single week on a tiny screen. As the decade progressed, more and more of these films went straight to video – and when I was reviewing videos in newspapers and magazines I discovered some real corkers. But I always missed the theatrical experience, especially with films like Re-Animator. It’s loosely based on a story by HP Lovecraft, but any whiff of literary credibility is completely spurious. Re-Animator is an all- orgy of shock and gore, as demented young scientist Herbert West sets about bringing the dead back to life. It starts off with a cat – one of my favourite ever ‘pets in horror’ scenes. If I had time and a private income, I’d write a thesis on this neglected area of the genre, because if a film hasn’t got an animal sensing evil, or a pet going demonic, I’m really not that interested. Re-AnimatorThe effects in Re-Animator are outrageous, there’s a ton of slime, some great ham acting and a script full of hilarious lines. There’s a fine decapitation, and one of the most distasteful sex scenes I’ve ever seen outside a John Waters movie. The follow-up by the same team, From Beyond, is also really great, but Re-Animator strikes the perfect balance between intelligence, humour and total over-the-top horror. Once seen, never forgotten.

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