Stuart Gordon’s ReAnimator is a healthy dose of schlocktastic fun, taking a page out of the silly splatter book of Sam Raimi, and although not quite as fun as some of the stuff it draws inspiration from, it does the trick. I know this film has a massive cult fanbase and while I can’t say that I loved it quite as much as some no doubt do, I always have some love for gory practical effects, and the ones on display here are pretty impressive. Jeffrey Combs is funny (if not exactly the definition of subtle throughout his whole career) as Dr. Herbert West, a loony fuckin quack who has stumbled upon an ectoplasmic looking serum that brings dead corpses back to life, albeit with a side of extreme retardation. Things go riotously awry when a jealous rival (David Gale) literally loses his head and steals it, prompting a gruesome comedy of errors in which heads, limbs, blood and entrails are hurled about the screen in a feverish celebration of all things gory and grisly. You can’t exactly call them zombies, I mean I suppose they are but they’re given a modicum more sentience than your average shambling Romero flesh-eater, but the actors get to have fun with their zany side, as the formula sort of plays havoc with their cognitive functions, a hilarious touch. There’s a sexually icky part that was even a bit in bad taste for my lax sensibilities (poor Barbara Crampton is a trooper and better have gotten paid hefty fucking overtime), but I suppose that trash is sort of the name of the game here. The 80’s was a very formative decade for the horror genre, and its fascinating to see how not only was this inspired by earlier stuff like Raimi, but would itself go on to rouse other filmmakers and give them ideas, as Hollywood progresses in symbiosis. A fun, freaky time.
I think Goethe might do a few barrel roles in his grave if he ever saw Brian Yuzna’s Faust: Love Of The Damned, an unhinged, risible and obnoxious rendition of his literary works, filled with Spawn inspired effects, heavy metal music, extreme nudity and a general sense of debauched commotion running through it. When regular guy John Jaspers (Mark Frost) sells his soul to the mysterious M (Andrew Divoff) in order to exact revenge on those who killed his girlfriend, things don’t… quite go as planned. Before he knows it he’s transformed into some ridiculous walking demon vigilante thing, given snazzy superpowers and set loose on the city. M, being the devil, is naturally not a man of his word and is planning some horrific apocalyptic mayhem using Faust’s unwitting help, and it all goes so monumentally haywire it’s hard to tell what is even going on, for fuck’s sake. Much of the film consists of him just running about with blaring music in the background, killing people in over the top, spectacularly gory ways. Story has little place here amongst the ruckus din of VFX and soft core porn sensibilities. Divoff is in Djinn mode as M, sporting a startling blonde dye job and Mayan inspired costume design, and having as much fun as every Hollywood character actor has playing Old Scratch himself. There’s a scene where he reprimands his hot sidekick by causing her to melt into a moaning pile of her own bodily fluids that will have everyone nervously shifting on the couch and wondering just exactly what the fuck they’re watching. The Reanimator himself Jeffrey Combs has an eccentric police detective role that somehow just gets swallowed up by the orgy of visual and auditory assault that the film consists of. Nothing remotely similar to the original tale of Faust, you’ll either get a sick thrill, laugh the whole way through or get up and walk out. I loved it.