Re-Animator (1985)

86 mins | Horror, Science fiction | 18 October 1985

Director:

Stuart Gordon

Producer:

Brian Yuzna

Cinematographer:

Mac Ahlberg

Editor:

Lee Percy

Production Designer:

Robert A. Burns

Production Company:

Re-Animator Productions
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HISTORY

According to the 29 Oct 1984 HR, the $2 million budgeted picture would begin principal photography on 28 Nov 1984 in Los Angeles, CA, with a six-week shooting schedule.
       The film was presented at the Cannes Film Festival and Market, and won top honors by critics in the science-fiction, fantasy or horror category, as announced in the 20 Aug 1985 HR.
       As reported in the 28 Oct 1985 DV, filmmakers decided not to have the film rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), fearing it would receive an “X” rating. Their decision to release an unrated picture resulted in restrictions in advertising, as many media outlets had a policy against promoting films with an “unrated” status. In particular, filmmakers were denied television spots in the Chicago, IL, market. LAT was reportedly the only newspaper to reject the film’s promotional image, which featured a severed head in a tray. An exclusive four-week engagement was held at the Royal Theater in San Francisco, CA, as a means of promoting the picture, prior to its 25 Oct 1985 release in Los Angeles.
       According to the 17 Jun 1986 DV, the picture finally received an “R” rating from the MPAA, after filmmakers submitted an edited version for review several months earlier. In the meantime, the “R” rated cut was released on video by Vestron Video, Inc. in Apr 1985. After receiving its rating, Re-Animator was prohibited the unrated version from playing theatrically, per MPAA rules.
       The 24 Dec 1986 HR announced that a novelization of the film, ... More Less

According to the 29 Oct 1984 HR, the $2 million budgeted picture would begin principal photography on 28 Nov 1984 in Los Angeles, CA, with a six-week shooting schedule.
       The film was presented at the Cannes Film Festival and Market, and won top honors by critics in the science-fiction, fantasy or horror category, as announced in the 20 Aug 1985 HR.
       As reported in the 28 Oct 1985 DV, filmmakers decided not to have the film rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), fearing it would receive an “X” rating. Their decision to release an unrated picture resulted in restrictions in advertising, as many media outlets had a policy against promoting films with an “unrated” status. In particular, filmmakers were denied television spots in the Chicago, IL, market. LAT was reportedly the only newspaper to reject the film’s promotional image, which featured a severed head in a tray. An exclusive four-week engagement was held at the Royal Theater in San Francisco, CA, as a means of promoting the picture, prior to its 25 Oct 1985 release in Los Angeles.
       According to the 17 Jun 1986 DV, the picture finally received an “R” rating from the MPAA, after filmmakers submitted an edited version for review several months earlier. In the meantime, the “R” rated cut was released on video by Vestron Video, Inc. in Apr 1985. After receiving its rating, Re-Animator was prohibited the unrated version from playing theatrically, per MPAA rules.
       The 24 Dec 1986 HR announced that a novelization of the film, written by Stuart Gordon, Dennis Paoli, and William J. Norris, would be released by Pocket Books.
       A lawsuit for $11 million was filed against Charles Band and Vestron Video Inc. by an unnamed producer of the film, who claimed the picture was edited without his consent, and that profits were not properly disclosed, according to the 26 Feb 1987 DV. An injunction was filed to prevent Band from further distribution.
       Multiple film reviews deemed Re-Animator worthy of “cult” status. Two sequels were released: The Bride of Re-Animator (1991, see entry), and Beyond Re-Animator (2003), both featuring actor Jeffrey Combs reprising his role as “Herbert West.” Re-Animator: the Musical, written and directed by Stuart Gordon, opened on Broadway in 2011. The stage play toured the country and received several awards, and revivals continued in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, NV, through 2014.
       End credits include the following acknowledgements: “Special Thanks To: Charles Band; Ann Cline Bernholz; Albert Band; Sammy Martin; Peter Manoogian; Sara Curtis; Debra Dion; Janice Storey; Dr. Daniel Del Boccio, M.D. - Pathology Dept., Henrotin Hospital; Dr. Robert Stein, M.D. - Cook County Morgue.” Also noted: “Filmed at S and A Studios, Los Angeles, California," and, "No animals were killed or injured in the making of this movie.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
28 Oct 1985
p. 1, 14.
Daily Variety
17 Jun 1986
p. 8.
Daily Variety
26 Feb 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Oct 1985
p. 3, 17.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Dec 1986.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Oct 1985
Section H, p. 11.
New York Times
18 Oct 1985
p. 6.
Variety
15 May 1985
p. 29.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Brian Yuzna Presents
An Empire Pictures Release
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Unit mgr
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d unit cam op
2d unit asst cam
Exterior photog
Still photog
Gaffer
Best boy elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Grip
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Assoc art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Prop master
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Asst spec eff
COSTUMES
Costumer
Asst costumer
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Mus coord by
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Sd eff ed
Dial ed
Asst sd ed
Spec sd eff
Sd re-rec at
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff and spec makeup eff by
Spec eff and spec makeup eff by
Asst makeup eff
Eff asst
Eff asst
Eff asst
Eff asst
Eff asst
Eff asst
Eff asst
Eff asst
Addl spec eff makeup des and created by
MMI crew
MMI crew
Main title seq des by
Opticals
MAKEUP
Key makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Exec in charge of prod
Prod assoc
Prod assoc
Prod assoc
Prod accountant
Prod coord
Scr supv
Scr supv
Unit pub
Post prod controller
Loc mgr
First aid
First aid
Craft service
Extra casting by
Extra casting by, Take-1 Casting
Set mgr
Post prod facilities provided by
Exec in charge of post prod
Head prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod coord's asst
Intern prod asst
Intern prod asst
Prod payroll
Prod vehicles
Honeywagon provided by
Honeywagon driver
Animal handler
Animal handler, Critters of the Cinema
Caterer
Caterer
Security
Medical consultant
Medical consultant
STAND INS
Dr. Hill's body double
Dr. Hill's body double
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Herbert West--The Re-Animator" by H. P. Lovecraft in Home Brew (Feb--Jul 1922).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
H. P. Lovecraft's Re-Animator
Release Date:
18 October 1985
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 18 October 1985
Los Angeles opening: 25 October 1985
Production Date:
began 28 November 1984
Copyright Claimant:
Re-Animator Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
27 December 1985
Copyright Number:
PA293304
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Cameras and lenses by Ultra Vision, Inc.
Duration(in mins):
86
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At the Universität Zürich Institut Für Medizin in Sweden, colleagues break down the door to Dr. Hans Gruber’s laboratory, and find his student, Herbert West, standing over Gruber’s shaking body, holding a syringe filled with a glowing green substance. The doctor’s head explodes, and Herbert is accused of killing him, but the student claims to have given him life. Sometime later, at the Miskatonic Medical School in Arkham, Massachusetts, medical student Dan Cain attempts to revive a patient with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), but his colleagues insist the woman is dead, and he should give up. Dan takes the body to the hospital morgue, and is introduced by Dean Halsey to new transfer student, Herbert West. When Herbert meets Dr. Carl Hill, he accuses the professor of plagiarizing Dr. Gruber’s work, and calls Hill’s theory about the brainstem remaining alive for six minutes after death “outdated.” Meanwhile, Dan Cain posts a notice seeking a roommate, and returns home to have sex with his fiancée, Megan Halsey, the dean’s daughter. She worries that her old-fashioned father will discover her active sex life, and promises to marry Dan as soon as he graduates. Herbert West arrives, unannounced, in response to the roommate advertisement, and surprises Dan and Megan. After touring the house and basement, Herbert offers Dan cash to move in immediately. Megan is alarmed by his odd behavior, but Dan accepts his offer. The students attend Dr. Hill’s class and watch as he removes the brain from a corpse. Herbert causes a scene, and insults the professor again. That evening, Dean Helsey invites Dr. Hill to his home and ... +


At the Universität Zürich Institut Für Medizin in Sweden, colleagues break down the door to Dr. Hans Gruber’s laboratory, and find his student, Herbert West, standing over Gruber’s shaking body, holding a syringe filled with a glowing green substance. The doctor’s head explodes, and Herbert is accused of killing him, but the student claims to have given him life. Sometime later, at the Miskatonic Medical School in Arkham, Massachusetts, medical student Dan Cain attempts to revive a patient with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), but his colleagues insist the woman is dead, and he should give up. Dan takes the body to the hospital morgue, and is introduced by Dean Halsey to new transfer student, Herbert West. When Herbert meets Dr. Carl Hill, he accuses the professor of plagiarizing Dr. Gruber’s work, and calls Hill’s theory about the brainstem remaining alive for six minutes after death “outdated.” Meanwhile, Dan Cain posts a notice seeking a roommate, and returns home to have sex with his fiancée, Megan Halsey, the dean’s daughter. She worries that her old-fashioned father will discover her active sex life, and promises to marry Dan as soon as he graduates. Herbert West arrives, unannounced, in response to the roommate advertisement, and surprises Dan and Megan. After touring the house and basement, Herbert offers Dan cash to move in immediately. Megan is alarmed by his odd behavior, but Dan accepts his offer. The students attend Dr. Hill’s class and watch as he removes the brain from a corpse. Herbert causes a scene, and insults the professor again. That evening, Dean Helsey invites Dr. Hill to his home and toasts him for receiving an award for a medical invention. Dr. Hill makes a suggestive remark to Megan, making his interest in her clear. Later, Megan expresses her dislike of Herbert to Dan. When Dan’s cat, Rufus, goes missing, Megan searches Herbert’s bedroom and discovers the dead cat in his mini-refrigerator. Herbert arrives, and Megan accuses him of killing the pet, but he claims to have found the animal dead. Dan inquires about the strange, glowing liquid in Herbert’s possession, and is told to mind his own business. Later, Dan is awakened by sounds in the basement, and finds Herbert being attacked by Rufus, who has come back to life. The young men fight the rabid cat, and Dan kills the creature by throwing it against the wall. Afterward, Herbert shares his re-animation theory, and reveals his “re-agent” serum. He asks Dan for his help, and to prove that it works, injects it once again into the mutilated feline, which twitches back to life. Megan arrives and is shocked to see what they have done. Later, Dan excitedly reveals Herbert’s discovery to Dean Halsey, but Halsey threatens to take Dan’s student loans away if he continues with the re-animation experiments. Regardless, Dan and Herbert sneak into the morgue and inject a corpse with the serum. The dean warns Megan to stay away from Dan, and discovers that the young men are in the morgue. Dan and Herbert believe the serum has failed, but the corpse returns to zombie-like life, and attacks them. As Dean Halsey arrives, the corpse breaks down the door and attacks him. Herbert uses a bone saw to kill the creature. They discover that the dean has died, and Herbert insists they experiment on his “fresh” corpse, injecting the dean with the re-animation serum. Megan enters, unaware of what the young men have done, and witnesses her crazed father choking Dan and Herbert. His colleagues assume the dean has gone insane, and lock him up in a straitjacket. When Dr. Hill asks Megan to sign a release allowing him to experiment on her father, she reluctantly agrees. Sometime later, Dan confesses the truth to Megan: that her father is actually dead. Elsewhere, Dr. Hill visits Herbert in his basement laboratory, and reveals his knowledge of the dean's demise. Fearing imprisonment, Herbert shares his research and serum. However, as Dr. Hill looks through a microscope, Herbert attacks him with a shovel, beheads him, and injects Dr. Hill’s severed head and body with the serum. Herbert places the head on a tray, and takes notes on the experiment. Dr. Hill’s headless body slams Herbert’s head into a table, and knocks him unconscious. Elsewhere, Dan and Megan visit her father, and discover that Dr. Hill has performed a lobotomy on him with a laser beam. The subdued dean cowers in the corner. Dan finds a file that Dr. Hill kept on Megan, containing pieces of her hair, and indicating his obsession with the young woman. When Herbert regains consciousness, Dr. Hill’s head and body are gone, and his serum and notes are missing. Dan returns home, and Herbert confesses to Dr. Hill’s murder and re-animation. Meanwhile, Dr. Hill goes to his office and injects himself with more serum, increasing his cognitive ability. He releases Dean Halsey, and orders him to kidnap Megan, then returns to the morgue where he injects several corpses with the serum. Worried about Megan, Dan checks on her at home. After a tearful reconciliation, the couple is attacked by Dean Halsey. He takes his daughter’s unconscious body to the morgue where Dr. Hill straps her naked to a table, and begins molesting her breasts. Megan regains consciousness, and screams as Dr. Hill’s body picks up his head and holds it to her ear, grunting his desire. He licks her face, and with the help of his hands, continues moving further down her body. Herbert arrives and confronts Dr. Hill, while Dan frees Megan from the straps. However, the re-animated corpses come to life and attack the students. To tame and control the zombie-like creatures, Dr. Hill previously performed lobotomies on their reanimated corpses, and they obey his command. Dr. Hill captures Herbert, and begins to perform a laser lobotomy on him. Megan tries to reason with her father, and after he finally recognizes her, he turns his attack on Dr. Hill, crushing his detached head. Meanwhile, Herbert injects Dr. Hill’s headless body with an overdose of serum, causing the intestines to spring from his disintegrating body, and wrap themselves around Herbert. Before he succumbs to strangulation, Herbert throws his research and remaining serum to Dan and Megan. The couple flee to an elevator, but Megan is choked by a corpse. Dan chops off the creature’s hand, and performs CPR to resuscitate her. He takes her limp body to an operating room in the hospital, where his colleagues assist him. Dan uses electric paddles to shock Megan’s heart, but when she remains unresponsive, his colleagues stop his efforts. He kisses Megan goodbye before remembering that he has Herbert’s serum. Professing his love, Dan injects her brainstem with the glowing liquid. Megan lets out a scream in the darkness. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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