In which we, the rats, share our honest opinions

Re Animator 1985

During our Rat Utopia vacation (as documented here), Rat Hannah and Rat Megan relaxed after a beautiful day out in the San Diego sun, and indulged in the relaxing sleepover tradition of a night in with a good horror movie. Tonight’s feature: Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator!

Based off HP Lovecraft’s first published story, Re-Animator tells the story of the medical student hopeful Dan Cain and the budding yet psychotic young scientist Herbert West. Herbert seduces Dan Cain into following his necrotic path of scientific wonder as he embarks on his quest to reanimate the dead. As West and Cain search to destroy the boundary between life and death, those who walk the boundary between life and death destroy them.

As lab rats, we have more than a few opinions about the type of science displayed in this movie. While one ought to make allowances for Hollywood flair, as professionals in the field we had to have a good chuckle over the lack of realism. For one thing: people can’t even come back to life! We don’t even think Herbert West is even certified to work with human or animal subjects!

Mad science and evil scientists are always fun to watch, but Hollywood tends to gloss over the plight of the little guy: the animal test subjects! Herbert West’s first subject in his experiments is Dan Cain’s poor pet cat Rufus. The first obvious ethical question is: did Herbert kill the cat for the sake of the experiment? The second is: was this experiment IRB approved? Musty Massachusets basements do not a sterile laboratory environment make, and judging by the cat’s distress at being zombified and bisected he wasn’t even unionized. What a cat-astrophe!

Rat Megan’s made a few life mistakes, and as a result considers herself a classic horror movie fan. As a cheerleader of all things gory and cheesy, she appreciated the deft mix of gore, black comedy, and genuine thrills. The lead actor Jeffery Combs gave Herbert a charismatic yet intense presence on screen, and his scene-nibbling performance contributed towards the film’s overall bombastic energy. As far as 80s cult classic horror films go, the fun and bizarre Re-Animator is certainly one of the best.

The most memorable aspect of the movie (beyond the ‘head giving head’ scene - if you know, you know!) is definitely the unbelievable homoeroticism between Cain and West. We’d be remiss not to mention it. Cain and his girlfriend Meg (no relation - or is there?) have a cute relationship, but Meg clearly isn’t open-minded and ready enough for Cain to move ahead and introduce West into the throuple. There were some obvious jealousy issues from West, and Meg was clearly still trying to reconcile her Protestant upbringing with her new alternative lifestyle. We were also missing a few Meg and West interaction scenes - but that may have led towards a happy ending and healthy polyamorous relationship, so perhaps it simply wasn’t meant to be.

All in all: four out of five cheeses! Rat Meg enjoyed it just as much the second time, and despite Rat Hannah’s talent for predicting the next five minutes at every point, it was still wonderfully bizarre and memorable. Minus one cheese for not enough pencil snapping.

Squeak again soon!
Rat Megan and Rat Hannah