Stuart Gordon's adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's Herbert West: Re-Animator puts a Night of the Living Dead spin on the classic Frankenstein story. Jeffrey Combs furrows his brow and bugs his eyes as the preternaturally intense Herbert West, a maverick medical student whose gory, gooey experiments cause bloody corpses and body parts to jerk to life. Bruce Abbot is the studious roommate drawn into his extracurricular experiments, which soon involve the dean's daughter (the frequently naked Barbara Crampton) and the college's cadaverous, calculating star professor (David Gale), who literally loses his head over a battle for West's discovery. In this world, that's only a minor setback. Charged with sick gallows humor and a ghoulish gallery of undead beasties, Re-Animator, like Evil Dead II, is one of the most inspired and inventive--and funniest--horror films of the 1980s. Combs, Abbot, and Gale reunite for the almost-as-entertaining sequel Bride of Re-Animator. --Sean Axmaker
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