TWO films in a ROW featuring a mutant kitten? It’s either a crazy coincidence, or it’s Stuart Gordon’s horror cult-classic, Re-Animator.
A modern take on the Frankenstein story with the darkest of comedy, this campy classic of the horror canon stands up remarkably well today.
Episode 309, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw
Todd: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd.
Craig: And I’m Craig.
Todd: Well, it was my week to pick the movie and, uh, just sort of out of the blue, I chose 1985’s Re-Animator, a pretty famous horror movie directed by Stewart Gordon. The reason I picked it was just because it’s, I think one of the more notorious, I suppose, horror movies, it’s a franchise.
There are at least three. I think there’s three mm-hmm and, uh, we just hadn’t done it. And this was one that had always been on the shelves in the horror section. In fact, my understanding is, although it, it did okay in the theater and it was actually surprisingly well reviewed at the time by the critics.
It, it wasn’t like a smashing success, but it apparently found huge success on home video release. Some of that may be due to the fact that what they released in the theater was an R rated version. And what come came out in home video was a little closer to. The movie that they wanted. Um, I think had almost an extra 15 minutes in it, which was the, the one that pretty much everybody ended up seeing , which, which has all the gore effects and all the, the shocking scenes and things intact.
So. I, uh, remember seeing this as a kid and, uh, being pretty impressed with it. So I just thought, yeah, let’s, let’s watch free animator. I really had not seen it since I was a kid. I hadn’t seen any of the other movies in the franchise. Uh, it was a fun movie. It was a bit notorious. Uh, but it wasn’t something I was terribly interested in continuing to, you know, see, Ooh, what happens in part two?
What happens in part three? So I kind of stopped there. How about you, Craig? Uh, what’s your history with Re-Animator?
Craig: I remember seeing it on the shelves all the time and I don’t remember specifically why I never. Picked it up. I don’t know the box art is I, and I don’t mean this in a bad way, but it’s a little silly looking.
It, it it’s, uh, yeah, it’s kind of schlocky looking. And so I think that probably as a kid, I assumed that it was intentionally schlocky and, and maybe that’s why I wasn’t really drawn to it. So I didn’t see it until I was in college graduate school, actually. We’ve been doing this for so long now that when you recommended that we do this, I was 100% sure that we had already done it.
I was positive that we had already done it and I’m, I’m Googling us. And Re-Animator and I’m like, I know it’s there. It’s gotta be there. We have surely done this movie, but we had, it’s crazy. Right?
Todd: it’s so true. I’m honestly not sure why either. Like, uh, again, it’s just one of those movies. I think every horror fan knows of it. Uhhuh, even if you haven’t seen it. I think it’s just one of those that gets brought up every now and then and talked about, but not like on the same level as most other horror franchises, it.
The lower rent one. Yeah.
Craig: But at the same time, I also think that it’s very much considered like a camp classic. And I think that it deserves that recognition and there’s a lot of really good stuff going on here. There really is like the cinematography is good. The effects are, are cool. Um, it’s an interesting dark.
But also darkly comedic story. It pushes some boundaries. Um, almost to the point of making me a little bit uncomfortable in some places which mm-hmm , which is, is good. Uh, I think, but, but I, I also don’t think that it crosses the line into being entirely distasteful. It’s weird because. Can’t be and silly and, and you could almost call it so bad.
It’s good. Except for that, it’s really not bad. It’s just, uh, no, it’s just different and odd, but also fun. And, and definitely like, I feel like if you are a horror fan, you’re obligated to see it. And, and I don’t think, I, I don’t think that you’re gonna be disappointed. It may not be your cup of tea, but I think that if you appreciate the genre, you’re gonna appreciate the movie and.
They were doing here. And there’s a lot of interesting stuff to talk about, you know, like, yes, gosh, the, so it it’s directed by Stewart Gordon who we’ve done a couple of his movies. We’ve done dolls, which was a favorite of mine. When I was a kid, we did castle freak, which neither of us loved, but it was fun to talk about.
We haven’t done castle for, we haven’t yet. Craig, which 1:00 AM I thinking of? Haven’t which 1:00 AM I thinking of, of with the, the guy in the. Palace in the basements
Todd: oh, oh no. You’re thinking of that’s that Canadian one. He didn’t have anything to do. Ghost something, I don’t remember.
Craig: don’t, I don’t know what it was.
I always think of that as castle free. Okay. So we haven’t done Castle Freak yet, but I’m familiar with the, the title. See, I told you, I can’t remember. Six years, 300 plus episodes. I have no idea. I completely
Craig: but, okay. So we’re familiar with Stewart Gordon. It’s also, um, produced by Brian Yuzna. Yeah.
Who by the way directed both sequels, but, uh, Brian Yuzna did Society, which remains one of the weirdest movies I’ve ever seen. Mm-hmm he also did one of the Silent Night, Deadly Nights. I think part three.
Todd: or four. Four, The Initiation also
Craig: very bizarre, very bizarre. So it comes already from, you know, kind of this pedigree of these kind of weird out there, movies done by these guys who do these weird out there things.
And so even that, you know, is. Tempting enough for me to be
Todd: interested, you know, it’s true, right. There are these little camps of people, right? You have like the, the sort of a Wes Craven in Sean Cunninghams and, you know, sort of their circle of people who were doing The Hills Have Eyes and the slasher movies and Friday the 13th.
And then you kind of have this camp of like Sam Raimi and like, His group, you know, we’ve talked about this, how you see that, like, even though like directors of some movies will end up acting in other people’s movies or they’ll produce each other’s movies and stuff like that. And then over here you have empire pictures and, uh, full moon pictures.
It’s. And, uh, Brian Yuzna and, uh, Stuart Gordon, and, um, the guy who did, uh, I think like Return of the Living Dead and, and the, that seemed to be like another camp, you know, this, these, these all kind of like very successful production houses or production teams are just, like we’ve said, like people who just kind of seemed to know each other and encourage each other and work on each other’s projects.
And this definitely comes from that side. And. I’m getting a greater appreciation for this camp. yeah. Yeah. As we do this podcast, because some of them, I used to laugh because a lot of the full moon pictures or empire pictures, uh, that are produced they’re, they’re pretty, I don’t wanna say bad that’s well, some of
Craig: them are, some of them are bad.
Todd: They’re bad. Um, but a lot of them are, are, they’re almost all low budget. They’re almost all the acting can, can vary as far as quality goes, but you, the concepts, they’re just a couple steps beyond pure exploitation that get you beyond exploitation and sort of into, wow. This is kind of interesting and unique and original realm.
Yeah. You know? Yeah. Like we did, like dolls is an interesting movie. Uh, even that silent night, deadly night initiation was an interesting movie. Yeah. Society was a really weird movie, but my goodness, you know, How fun. Oh gosh. Yeah. It was
Craig: super original and interesting
Todd: Uhhuh puppet master series and all that.
So it’s like, there is this camp here that I’m kind of like, and I, I saw a lot of what I liked a, about these kinds of movies in re animator. And I think re animator is definitely up at the top of the pack. Yeah. As far as. Production value as far as acting sincerity, even special effects, particularly for the time are quite impressive.
I’ve read that the producer, uh, I can’t remember the owner of, uh, full moon pictures. It’s Charles band. Isn’t it? Charles band. Yes, that’s right. He didn’t even like this movie when he produced it. Although apparently his production house was only going to distribute the movie. And then after they started seeing dailies, they decided to get a little more involved in the production of it and help them out a little bit more in that.
um, Richard band, his brother composed the music. He’s composed the music for a ton of these films. I think we’re gonna have a lot of fun talking about it. I really enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. And it wasn’t, as you know, the movie calls itself, a horror comedy in a lot of places. It’s not, if you say, Hey, we’re gonna sit down and watch this horror comedy.
You’re gonna have an expectation that this movie is not. Meat. It is not a laugh out loud, a lot of silly stuff happening. It’s darkly comic. Yeah. It’s not a so bad. It’s funny movie. It’s very clearly intentionally darkly comic. And I think that it, it just reaches a certain level of sophistication there where there’s that layer there for you.
If you enjoy that kind of thing and you’re looking for it, you definitely get it. And so there are scenes where on their face as we describe them, you’re gonna think, oh my God, this is terrible. There’s a layer to those scenes that plays out that I was laughing yeah. In the movie. Yeah. A movie that can kind of touch all these little places and hit all these buttons for you simultaneously, uh, is impressive.
Ultimately, I, I really enjoyed watching this again.
Craig: Yeah. It was an interesting watch. I think that a lot of the comedy comes from the intensity of Jeffrey Combs performance. Uh, Herbert west, who is kind of, I don’t know if he’s the main character, but he’s, he’s a central character for sure. And, and we can talk more about him in a second, but the inspiration for the movie, Stewart Gordon was just talking with some friends, um, about his frustration, that there were so many vampire movies, particularly Dracula movies and Dracula knockoffs.
He thought that it would be interesting to, you know, break out of that and see something different, like, uh, more Frankenstein inspired movies. And one of his friends said, well, have you read this story? Herbert west ReAnimator by HP Lovecraft and, uh, Gordon. Was familiar with Lovecraft’s work, but not that particular story, which had been out of print for a long time.
So he went to the library and he read it and he was inspired by it. And that’s where the idea for this movie came from. But he initially conceived it as a stage play a completely straight. You know, no humor involved, uh, stage play. And then that evolved into a television pilot, a 30 minute television pilot.
And then I think he wrote like something like 13 or 19 episodes of this television show.
Todd: Yeah. With a, with a couple co-writers. Yeah. And it was also told like, you know, half hour is not saleable, like, like make it an hour. So 13 hours. This, I guess, you know, presumably for season one. Right? Right. If not, it is the kind of thing that I suppose could, especially nowadays would make.
An interesting television series. It could,
Craig: it could, I think, but, but I, I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but eventually, you know, it continued to evolve and it became a feature film.
Todd: Well, there’s more of a market for horror on television now than there used to be
Craig: that that’s right. Yeah. And so this is, uh, what it became and, um, the story they had in initially intended to try to remain really faithful to Lovecraft’s story, which by the way, I haven’t read, I, I have read some of Lovecraft’s stuff, but I’ve not read this, so I can’t speak to, you know, how faithful it is, but they eventually deviated, uh, from the story a little bit from my understanding is that this, uh, movie kind of.
Adapts the first half of Lovecraft story. And then the second movie bride of ReAnimator kind of adapts the second half of the story, or at least elements of it. And then the third movie is called beyond ReAnimator because it goes beyond the story that Lovecraft told in his original. I’ve not seen any of the eat well, any either of the sequels I’ve, I’ve read about them and they sound kind of interesting, but, um, I haven’t seen them yet, but here we are with this movie, it opens, uh, at Zurich university and there’s this big commotion.
There’s like screaming behind a door and security guards in a nurse are frantically knocking at the door. And calling the name, um, of this doctor, you know, the Dr. Gruber, Hans Gruber. And when they finally burst in, they see young medical student, Herbert west played by Jeffrey Combs grappling with. this Dr.
Gruber, who is like freaking out and he’s got like his face, like his eyeballs and the veins in his face are like pulsating and his eyes like burst and blood sprays all over the nurse. The nurse says you killed him. And he very seriously and very sweaty says, no, I did not. I gave him life.
This, this was Jeffrey Combs, one of his first major roles. He took it. He said because he needed the work and he never expected that it would have a wide audience. Anyway, ironically, this is. Absolutely 100% the defining role of his career. Yeah, he has played it again in both of the sequels and most of his other work has been in horror, playing characters much like this one, he plays it very serious, very over the top and he just has this lunatic intensity.
In every scene.
Todd: yeah, but you know what? This it’s actually. I mean, when you say over the top yes. I mean, he he’s playing it very sincerely and he’s very playing it very hardcore, but it’s not a. Like a parody, you know what I mean? It’s not a silly, crazy campy. I, I think mad scientist in this case, med student, you know, who’s dead serious about his work and believes that he’s gonna be reanimating the dead and, you know, nobody understands my genius kind of thing, the way that he played it.
And I was quite impressed by it. I think I, I, in my life have known at. Three or four people, very antisocial like him. I mean, they’re not reanimating the dead, but they’re people who are just a little off, a little narcissistic, maybe somewhere on a particular spectrum, but, you know, I don’t really know how to describe this, but there are just people who, who don’t get feelings.
Who don’t really care about others. Yeah. Like they’re just lacking a little bit of this, this humanity, and usually they’re obsessed with something, right. They’re obsessed with a collection or they’re obsessed with a particular hobby or they’re obsessed with their work. And even though he’s a Dick yeah, he is.
He comes across from the get go in this movie as like within five seconds of meeting him. He’s the kind of guy, you know, he’s a Dick at the same. I’ve known people like this. you know what I
Craig: mean? Yeah. I don’t know that I’ve, I don’t know that I’ve known people like this, but he does. I mean, like you said, he just plays it in such a sincere way.
You, you, you could say he’s a Dick and I would, I would say he’s a Dick, but you could also argue that he’s just completely straightforward. Like he doesn. He tells it like it is, you know, or at least the way that he sees it. So if, if he has a criticism of something or someone, he will just say it directly to their face, um, he’ll
Todd: say it.
And if you, and if you don’t like it, you know, doesn’t really care or he just doesn’t get why not everybody else sees the world the way he does. He doesn’t get, Hey, he just told you something straight. Like you should agree with him. And if you don’t, well, you know, that’s your problem. And there were times in the movie.
He could have veered into this sort of caricature and he didn’t. And I was really impressed with that restraint, as silly as the whole concept of the movie is. And as silly as the movie does get, you know, it made his character more believable to me. I could relate to him, even though ultimately he’s not a likable character for, for the most part.
Craig: don’t think I could relate to him, but I do really like Jeffrey Combs performance. In fact, I believe that this movie rests on his shoulders. I, I don’t think, I don’t think that this movie would be as well remembered if it weren’t for his performance. Um, I could be wrong. Um, maybe another actor could have done.
Differently or similarly, and, you know, with similar results, I don’t know, but Jeffrey Combs is, um, unique. He has a unique style, um, at least as he works in this film and I like, you know, he pops up in things, particularly in horror movies and I’m always happy to see him
Todd: seller dweller. Right. He was the cartoonist, he had a very brief cameo role
Craig: in the beginning.
Yes, yes. Yeah. I liked him in that. I just, I just watch. Uh, uh, the house on haunted hill from the, the early OS I think, oh yeah, it’s not a good movie, but he’s in it. and he plays, he plays a, a crazy doctor in that. I forgot that. So after that opening scene, um, then we get the opening credits, which the, the visuals of the opening credits, I really liked.
It’s all, um, like illustrations out of medical textbooks. Mm done in like fluorescent colors and changing colors and, and the, the illustrations kind of swirl around. It’s a, it’s, it’s a great visual. I really enjoyed it. I also really liked the score, but the film is, is somewhat heavily criticized for borrowing heavily from the score of psycho.
Yeah. Yeah, you can, it it’s, you know, blatant on its face. they’ve outright accused him of plagiarizing. The score is very fitting for the movie. In addition to kind of sounding like psycho. It also reminded me a lot of this score of troll, which I love. And also, I don’t know if you’re familiar with this movie or not, but the movie death becomes her with Goldie Han and Merril
Oh, I love that one.
Craig: Me too, very similar score, very, very similar and, and shockingly, a very similar movie about a serum that Reen animat the dead. So maybe that was intentional on the makers of that movie’s
Todd: part, but that’s a very interesting point. When that score first came on, I was like, wait a second.
This is the freaking score to psycho. How did they pull that off? Did they get permission to use it? Whatever. Um, and you’re right. It is to say it’s borrowed is a very, uh, generous Uhhuh, you know, or inspired by it. It’s a blatant ripoff. And I think Richard bands even admitted. He said, yeah, I took the score from psycho because I thought it was fitting because the character is a bit Norman Baty, but then I, you know, added my own touch and flare to it.
I. What composer does that? That is you’ve got giant balls. oh, I’m just gonna take the score from psycho and add my own flare to it and put it the opening credits and a motif throughout the whole film,
Craig: but it works O honestly, I very much enjoyed the score. I liked it throughout and, and I thought that it really set a good tone and atmosphere.
Throughout I, and it, and it varies mm-hmm depending on what type of action is happening, but I really liked it. We jump into the main story, which takes place at scat to medical school in Aham Massachusetts it’s Arkham , um, is a common set. Piece for HP Lovecraft stuff. And this is where we meet our main characters.
We’ve got a young, good looking doctor, resident. I believe Dan Kane played by Bruce Abbott and we see him. It ends up kind of being significant. I guess the first time we meet him, he’s frantically performing CPR on this heavy woman and he’s unable to revive her, the supervising. Doctor tells him, you know, sometimes you just have to let people go or whatever, which it it’s a bookend.
It comes back at the end of the movie. Yeah. Um, interesting piece of trivia, Bruce Abbott, who plays the doctor said that he was really, really intense in, in this CPR scene. And he believes that he actually broke like three ribs of the. Who he was, oh, God. Working on here. Also this woman, this heavy set woman who he’s working on, who, you know, her shirt is ripped open.
So her boobs are just flopping around. Apparently I don’t even know what this means, but apparently she was a dildo enthusiast, like,
and so she like hid dildos all around the set. That’s hilarious. Oh my gosh. Um, and I wish that I. Friend who was a dildo enthusiast, just so I could like tell people that like, oh, this is my friend, she’s a dildo enthusiast.
Todd: we should have consulted a dildo enthusiast to give us a little more insight into this.
Uh, you know, maybe go frame by frame through the movie and point some things out to us. I, I have to say at this. One thing I really respected about this movie was the casual nudity Uhhuh. There’s a lot of nudity in this movie a lot, but it’s, it’s not normal. Like it’s not like normal for horror movies, nudity.
It’s like normal for life nudity. For the most part, this guy’s got her chest open. They got doctors standing around and she’s not like this absolutely gorgeous, perfect body person. Yeah. This isn’t supposed to be a titillating exploitative scene with the nudity. Everywhere else through the movie, when we get reanimated corpses and things like that, it’s like, yeah, they don’t even, they don’t even put like fake underwear or whatever.
No, these bodies are gonna be nude. And so when they leap up and start running around, they’re nude and I was like, you know, I really appreciate this. It serves the story. It’s very honest, true to
Craig: life. Yeah. I agree with you, especially with the corpses and stuff, because, you know, Corps. Dressed, you know, they, they are, are naked.
I, I thought that it was a little strange for whatever reason, especially since initially they released this unrated, um, that they clearly went out of their way with angles to never show penis like true women. Full frontal. Great, no problem. Men. It was always shot in such a way that the legs were, you know, just at such an angle that no penis and which, whatever that’s fine.
I don’t care. I’ve seen enough Dick in my life that I don’t need to see it in a movie, but, but it was just interesting to me that. They kind of went out of their way to hide that. But yeah, other than that, there is a lot the, the other main characters, um, there’s the Dean of the university Dean Halsey who introduces Dr.
Dan to their new student resident, who is, uh, Herbert west Jeffrey Combs, um, who we’ve already met. And then. One of the professors at the medical school is Dr. Carl Hill played by an actor, a tall gaunt actor named David Gail. Um, I think that this part was originally written for Christopher Lee. I think one of the FA one of the famous, you know, horror icons, he turned it down and he’s a brain doctor, Herbert west immediately insults him to his face.
I know your work, Dr. Hill quite. your theory on the location of the wheel. And the brain is interesting though, derivative of Dr. Gruber’s research in the early seventies. So derivative, in fact that in Europe it’s considered plagiarized and your support of the 12 minute limit on the life of the brain stem after death, six to 12 minutes, Mr.
Uh, west Herbert west, frankly, Dr. Uh, hill. Your work on brain death is outdated. That’s just the kind of guy he is. Yeah. Um, and then there’s also, uh, Dan’s girlfriend, Megan played by a very young, beautiful, fresh faced. Barbara Crampton. Yeah. Uh, who is an icon? An absolute icon of the horror world. And she’s young and gorgeous here.
Um, she’s of a certain age and gorgeous now and still, uh, working all of the time. She’s a huge star in the world of horror and it’s really, she’s. She’s good. She’s fun in this movie. She’s pretty, she’s not afraid to. TIS out she’s fully nude towards the end of the movie. Yeah. She’s, she’s stripped completely nude and she’s, she’s talked about it.
Uh, she’s talked about doing nudity in her films and she just said, you know, if it serves the story, if it serves the film, I’ll do it. I don’t care. The quote that I read was. Sh from an interview that she did sometime post 2000. Um, and she said, I would still do it now. She’s like, you know, I don’t know when I’m, you know, a withered old grandmother maybe I’ll feel differently, but maybe not.
you know, like newly just doesn’t bother her. And she, again, she’s a beautiful woman. Um, I also think that she’s a representation of a healthy body, you know, like she’s not real thin. She looks like a healthy young woman. Mm-hmm and I just, I have a lot of admiration for her just because of all of the work that she’s done and, and how she’s represented herself and, and maintained such a.
Todd: career. She has even today, right? Mm-hmm and, and this is one of her very first film roles. I think she was on days of our lives, just up until the year before this movie came out and she had a couple film roles, uh, one movie body, double one movie called fraternity vacation, and then this one, and then I think the very next year we saw her in one of my all-time favorite movies, chopping malls.
Mm-hmm mm-hmm and she hasn’t really. The horror genre since except she’s dipped back and forth into soap operas, uh, a little bit every now and then like in the nineties, I think she was back in a couple of those. It’s
Craig: not surprising at all. You know, I feel like the horror world in the daytime soap world, they, they cross paths all the time.
but she not only is she Dan’s girlfriend, but she’s also Dean Halsey. Daughter Dan and, and Megan, we find out that they’re a couple and then immediately there’s a, a quick sex scene between the two of them. Then, uh, Herbert west responds to not an advertisement, but like a bulletin board post that Dan had made looking for a roommate.
So west moves in with Dan, he’s all excited about the house because it’s got a basement that he can like set up a lab in . I don’t know, you know, a lot of things happen. I don’t know how much of it’s consequential, like one of the scenes, one of the scenes that I thought was really funny as I don’t really don’t understand was that we see Dan and west in Dr.
Hill’s class and hill is like demonstrating how to open ahead for brain surgery. And west is just sitting there in the class. Strangely snapping pencils in half, like, yeah. like with a real intensity in his face. I’m like, what are you
Todd: doing? It’s so weird. I wondered for a while, if it was a very, like an outdated reference to something, you know what I mean?
Like is this. The way that people used to tease their professors or interrupt them in the middle of a speech by loudly snapping a pencil or something, but it, it irritates the hell out of him. And I think probably the, the most consequential thing that we have going on here is this dynamic as being set up where Dan Kane and Megan.
Are dating and she’s the Dean’s daughter and that’s problematic because, you know, he possibly could be accused, I suppose, of, of getting Korean favor with the Dean, which maybe would be a big deal. And it would ruin his career. If it’s found out that they’re sleeping together, the Dean would be angry. If, if, I mean, he knows that they’re sleep.
He knows that they’re dating. I guess he does. He would doesn’t know they’re sleeping together.
Craig: Okay. That was, that was so. So hilarious to me, like it was so funny. He like, Dan is a med student and you know, it’s not like they’re 16, you know, these are people in their twenties. Yeah. And yeah, the dad, the Dean knows they’re dating, but it would be like a huge, huge deal.
If he found out they were also ING, like yes. Come
Todd: on. What? Come on. Of course they are. , you’re a doctor, you know how these things work of a university, especially.
Craig: Well, and then there’s also a, a weird dynamic at one point Dr. Hill. Who’s just kind of creepy. Anyway, he has dinner with, um, the Dean and Megan, and he’s super creepy towards Megan.
Todd: up to this. My sympathies were with Dr. Hill. I thought Dr. Hill seemed fairly normal, dude. He’s a professor. He is very distinguished. He’s well respected. He’s got this, like, uh, they mentioned something about his amazing new laser surgery tool. That’s gonna revolutionize brain science or whatever, and he’s getting grants for the university and he’s really chummy with the Dean.
and then west comes in. He’s super douchy to him and yeah, you sympathize with hill, not with west up to this point. And then they have this lovely little, ah, I call it like, like little eighties, fancy dinner for rich people, right? Yeah. Yeah. And I love these scenes in movies from this era where it’s, it’s like in their home, they’re sitting down and they have a white table cloth and linen napkins and all the fine China is out.
And they’re drinking wine from crystal goblets and pouring Brandy from,
Craig: I mean, and they’re dressed. For the occasion,
Todd: like they’re dressed in suits, you know? And, uh, and they’re, and they’re like lit candles on the table. Right. You know, like, did anybody ever really do this? I don’t know, but that’s how it’s portrayed in movies all the time.
And this is a real pivotal scene and it’s also a very baffling scene. I was shocked that U didn’t direct this because this is, these are the kinds of scenes. Sometimes we get in the movies
Craig: that he’s involved with, it felt very society. Sure.
Todd: Yeah. It just, things suddenly take a turn for the surreal, both in the cinematography and, and I liked that it really puts you off.
Uh, you know, it’s, it’s just a very weird psychological effect. They’re all sitting and chatting hill is actually kind of putting the screws a little bit to the Dean saying you. I heard, you know, I know that your daughter is dating this guy. Do you really think that’s appropriate? And they, he kind of mentions west, you know, Wes just moved in with this guy.
And I think the two of them are working on something that’s kind of bad news. And then the daughter comes in, I think, oh, she’s sitting there, but, uh, Kane Dan comes in to pick, to pick her up. And they all shake hands and things. And, uh, hill was like, oh no, you should stay, you know, have a couple drinks with us.
And they’re like, no, we really need to get going. And then he practically commands them. No, stay like, have a drink. And they all kinda look around and there’s some awkwardness and he’s like, okay, we’ll have a drink. And then he starts grilling Dan on west. You know, I hear the west is staying at your house and blah, blah, blah, blah.
they leave. And as soon as they leave hill starts asking Dean Halsey, he’s like, so, you know, I don’t think it’s appropriate that your daughter be, you know, dating this guy. Do you realize what it would do for your reputation and for his reputation you need to get rid. And while he’s saying these things, the camera now suddenly we’ve almost like from Dean’s perspective.
So hill is now suddenly like the backdrop disappears. It’s almost like he’s in a black. With this spooky kind of, backlighting staring straight into the camera and very dead pan. Eventually you realize it’s like, he’s hypnotizing him. He’s got this sort of hypnotic aspect to him where he’s delivering his lines very slow and very deliberate.
And then it goes back to Dean Halsey and. He’s entranced. It just gets, gets right to him. And then the fire, like it starts to focus on the fire and then suddenly we see the light, the fire on them. It gets very surreal and almost dreamlike and weird right here.
Craig: Yeah. It, it was, it was initially a subplot that ended up getting dropped that he does have the ability to like Jedi mind trick people, like, but it
Todd: wasn’t totally dropped.
I mean, well, there are
Craig: several times through the. You see him do it once with, um, west, you know, it, it could in the scene with west later, it could just be kind of seen as intimidation, but it, that that’s out of character for west west is not yeah. Easily intimidated. Yes. Um, so if, if you know that it was initially intended as, um, A subplot that he could mind control people.
It makes a lot more sense. Otherwise you’re like why all of a sudden, why now is west, who has been defiant? Why all of a sudden is he submissive? And it also explains other things too. Like the fact that, uh, in the end, there’s, there’s a whole gang. Reanimated corpses and west can apparently puppeteer all of them at the same time.
Yeah. Um, well, I,
Todd: I felt it was sort of still in there. I, I, because cuz then, you know, the, the later scene with west where he’s talking to him in Wests is also seemingly entrance. It’s shot very much the same way. And that was the point. And when I was, I realized, oh, this isn’t just weirdness. He has some kind of special mental power.
I didn’t think it was supernatural. I thought, oh, well this is a brain surgeon. He’s clearly studied how to, you know, maybe somehow hypnotize people or whatever and do it. And I dunno, it was an interesting and unique element that kind of came outta nowhere. And, uh, I, I liked it, but just like society and just like some of the things I like about some of these other films is it’s way outta left field.
And it, the movie becomes very surreal during these moments and it kind of puts you on edge a little bit. And I really like
Craig: that bit. Well, it is, I, I mean, it definitely is still there. It’s just that it’s never commented on or explained, so, yeah, that’s right. You just kind of have to. Figure it out for yourself, I guess.
Todd: also what happens during the scene is suddenly you realize things are more complicated than you thought, right? Because up to this point, I don’t know how you felt. I felt if hill as a sympathetic character and after this scene, I was like, God, he’s a douche bag too. Well, I
Craig: thought he was a douche bag anyway, but it, it wasn’t so much, you know, the, the mind control thing that.
Freaked me out. It was the creepy gross, disgusting toast that he does to Megan. Well, then one last toast. Hmm.
Todd: To Megan, my esteemed colleagues capable.
Craig: Beautiful. Loving daughter, the obsession
Todd: of all will fall under her spell, like
Craig: Ew, gross. and he says that right in front of her dad and her boyfriend, like, Ugh.
Yeah. And Ugh, gross. And he clearly is obsessed with her, which comes in, uh, to play later. But, um, basically Dan finds out about West’s work with reanimating corpses because west. He kills Dan’s cat. He, he claims that he found it dead, but that seems highly improbable. Uh, Megan finds the cat in like West’s dorm fridge in his room, which is also a funny scene because west is incensed that anybody would have the audacity to come into his room, even though.
He’s got his roommate’s cat in the cat cat and his refrigerator. And then there’s a great scene where it’s the middle of the night. And Dan hears a terrible noise from this cell, and it sounds like a possessed cat or a cat screaming or something. And he goes down to this cellar to find west being attacked by this cat.
I can’t believe is this two weeks in a row that we’ve. A genetically enhanced evil cat. Like you go six years, six years with no genetically enhanced evil cats and then two in a row. .
Todd: Oh, and, and I did, I think, uh, for uninvited, I did say this is the very first horror movie that we’ve done with a genetically enhanced mutant caps.
no, I, I didn’t realize there was another one right around the corner.
Craig: around the corner. And so he’s re. This cat and they fight it. And it’s hilarious cuz they’re obviously fighting a
Todd: toy. It’s so funny. Well, it’s just to it’s well shot too, actually, you know, it’s not well when he comes down the stairs, like he kind of knocks a light.
It’s like, you know, it’s like your typical dark basement. That’s lit by one swinging light. And so the light starts swinging around. And so I think part of what actually makes this seem work and feel more intense due to their low budget is just the fact that that light. Coming in and out at regular intervals, it’s almost St.
Strobing, right? Yeah. So that also sorts helps to hide the fact that they’re running around the basement. Absolutely destroying it with bats and things just to get to this cat. And then when the cat finally does leap back out at, uh, Dan, he catches the cat. And throws it against the wall. yeah. And smacks the wall and falls down.
And I mean, I just thought it was hilarious. I’m sorry. it is hilarious. I’m laughing so
Craig: hard. It’s gross. Um, this is, it’s a bloody movie. It’s a violent movie. This they, Dan kills the cat and then west is like, I can reanimate. Things. And he tells him the whole thing and Dan’s like, I don’t believe you. He is like, okay, well watch this.
So he injects the cat again with this serum. He’s got this serum that is quite literally glow stick liquid. So it it’s this, you know, Lucent glowing. Yeah, it looks great. Um, he injects it into the cat. The cat is mangled beyond repair, but it comes back to life anyway. So it’s just this man. Puppet bloody cat, like riving around on the table and it’s disgusting.
It looks fake, but it it’s gross. Megan comes in and sees it. Don’t expect it to tango. It has a broken back
noise. Birth is always painful.
Todd: This is where, you know, the dark comedy of this comes in the fight with the cat is funny. Although it shouldn’t be right. It’s like, oh, cruelty to animals, whatever he reanimate this dead mangled cat, which must be absolutely horrible for the cat. But it still looks kind of funny. And when, and of course, Megan comes in, she’s already distraught about her cat being dead.
And she comes in right at the moment where she can see her mostly mangled, cat. Yeah. Like meowing and stuff. Mm-hmm I’m sorry. I laughed at that too. I thought it was,
Craig: it was funny’s it funny? And, and west wants Dan to like, be his assistant and he he’s like, you know, we’ll, we’ll be fam we can. Death, you know, you’ll be famous and live lifetimes because he’s convinced that, you know, uh, eventually as of right now, he’s just been experimenting on animals and they come back and they’re violent, but he thinks if he can, um, reanimate a human corpse, not long after it.
Dies that, uh, it will ha it will retain its consciousness and memories and those things, and he thinks they can be famous. But Dan, I guess isn’t ready to do that. So instead he rats on west to Halsey, which totally backfires because Halsey resends Dan. Scholarship money and he kicks west out of school. So I guess at this point, Dan feels like he has no other choice, but to try to work with west, because what else are they gonna do?
Yeah. They’re both kicked outta school or whatever. So they sneak into the morgue and that’s when things get really
Todd: fun west kind of convinces him, right. That like, look, this is our, your only option. Like we know we can do this and we can turn Halsey around if we can just prove to. You know that we can do it.
So we’ve gotta go. And I guess he thinks that if they just carry this little tape recorder around, you know, like scientists do in movies, where they record their notes in real time into tape recorder, that if they do that, while they’re trying to reanimate a corpse in the morgue and are successful, then that’s the proof they need to show to the Dean.
This is when all hell breaks loose though,
Craig: because, uh, it’s fun though. Like they go, they go to the Morgan. They’re like looking at different bodies and looking at cause of death and seeing which one would be the most viable. Uh, and they end up finding this guy who had only died a couple of hours before and he seemed otherwise healthy.
This guy is actually. Arnold Schwartz Neer’s long time body double no way. Yeah. Yeah. Body doubled for Schwartz. Naer in multiple movies and he looks like him. I mean, he’s huge. Yeah. That would not be the person that I would choose to reanimate. And obviously it’s a big mistake because he comes to this guy comes back to life and he’s violent and he’s like throwing them all around Halsey.
And Megan are there looking for Dan, um, and Halsey comes in and the huge naked reanimated corpse. Kills him. And then, uh, west takes down the corpse like uses like a bone SAR or something cuts all the way through his chest. And, and so the corpse is dead again, but now Halsey’s also dead. But since he only died moments before west injects him with the serum, thinking that he’ll, you know, come back fully aware and all that stuff.
And he does come back. And he seems maybe a little bit more aware than the other guy had, but he’s still crazy and, and whacked out and violent Howard in the corner and yeah, mm-hmm and Megan comes in and sees him and, and they say that, you know, west west explains, he came in and he was acting all crazy.
And now he’s, you know, I don’t know, he explains it away somehow. I, I, I’m not sure exactly. You know, Megan’s distraught obviously, but Dr. Hill the brain doctor can, you know, assures her. Oh, don’t worry. I’ll, I’ll take good care of your dad. And, um, if you need anything, if you’re lonely, like again, totally creeping on her.
Todd: He’s trying his hypnotic act on it basically. And, uh, and it almost works except, uh, well, I love that Dr. Hill has an office that also has a padded room right next to it. Yeah. with a window in there. How convenient. Yeah. A one way mirror. I, I read also in the trivia that that pad room was so poorly constructed that, uh, the actor playing her dad couldn’t really bounce around the walls cuz he tried it once and it knocked a wall down Uhhuh
But yeah, he bangs his kind of forehead on the glass. And so, you know, Dr. Hill’s like, I’m gonna take control of the situation. I’m gonna take care of your dad. You just trust me. And if there’s anything you need, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. In the meantime, uh, he decides he is going to investigate Halsy. Uh, and so he pulls Halsy into his lab, I guess, autopsy room.
I mean, he’s not dead. And, uh, he’s done all these scans and things on him. He said he has, uh, uh, Megan sign, a release form so that he can do exploratory surgery on him under the guise of fixing his brain. But what he instead does is once he realizes this guy should be dead, but he’s. um, he decides he needs to make the patient docile so that he for further study.
And so he uses his little laser tool to basically lobotomize him through the forehead.
Craig: Yeah. But he also immediately goes to West’s basement lab and is like, I know what you’re doing. You have to tell me your secrets and he Jedi mind tricks west. So west gives him his notes and he’s looking through the notes.
He’s like, oh my God, this is genius. I’m gonna be famous. And while he is got his back turn west hits him with a shovel. And then decapitates him with the shovel mm-hmm and then, and then immediately thinks, you know what, I’ve never tried this serum just on different parts before . So he injects it into the head.
Andy injects it into the torso, both of which reanimate separately and for whatever reason, West does kind of retain some of his consciousness. Cuz he can talk. He talks weird. Like he talks slow and low, but he can talk. You mean hill hill? You mean? Yeah, that’s what I mean. Sorry hill. Yeah. He talks low and slow, but he can talk and he can also like remotely control his torso.
And so then the rest of it is hilarious because he hill is like walking around, carrying his own head, like. Bowling bag and wearing like a, like a CPR dummy head on his shoulders. oh, it’s really, really funny. And goes back. He goes back to the lab where then he like hypnotizes the Dean. Halsy like through the mirror.
That was a weird scene. Mm-hmm but it was cool. And then he sends Halsy to abduct Megan, which he does yeah, his own daughter. Halsy abducts his own daughter Blas her on the autopsy table right next to Hills. Head, which is like leering lasciviously at her, um, Halsy strips his own daughter completely nude.
Mm-hmm ties her down to this table so that hill can molest her. And it’s, it’s weird. I, I assume that this is the part that you were talking about, where it’s so absurd and so like uncomfortable, but at the same time, hilarious.
Todd: Yeah. It’s one of them. Yeah, it definitely is. I mean, this is a severed head that is raping this girl, as she’s tied down by her own father.
I mean, he’s obviously like, not in control of himself, right. He couldn’t have done that otherwise, but still it’s, it’s very disturbing. And then he has his body pick up his head and it’s just like, she wa actually this what’s really funny is when she wakes up and she looks left and she. Starts, she looks down, sees that she’s naked.
She starts screaming. She looks left. She sees this blooded head of the doctor, just like, eh, right next to her screaming looks up and sees this weird looking man standing over her kicks the guy which knocks the fat off dummy head off of them. Screams some more. I mean, it’s. It’s so hilarious, even though you shouldn’t be laughing at this girl in her actual situation.
Craig: Oh, right. Because it is gross. Like he, he’s definitely molest. Like he, he Fonds her breasts through the body and then through the body and then the body picks up the head and he. Kisses her and licks her face and then like sucks at her breast, which I mean this in the context of the movie, it’s gross, but I’m also just kind of thinking of like, these actors really had to do this, and this is really.
Intimate in a gross way. And then the, the, the body moves the head down between her legs. His tongue is out Uhhuh. It’s really pretty darn graphic. But I feel like at this point west and Dan bust in right before, like, like seemingly right before the body was gonna thrust. The head, right. You know, between her legs into her lady area.
Todd: Oh yeah. It was very, it was right in the neck of
Craig: time. And I guess like, apparently this actor, uh, was really troubled, uh, uh, Performing this scene. Yeah. Um, very, very uncomfortable performing the scene. Um, and I guess his wife was, uh, troubled by it too, because when she saw it, she jumped up and left the screening and then divorced him.
Like like, surely there’s more to it, but, uh, seemingly this was like the straw that broke the camel’s back and she literally divorced him cuz she was so disgusted. Uh, but Dan and west show up and, and, you know, are, was saving the day or whatever. And west is confronting hill again, insulting him and says something.
It’s the greatest light in the movie. You’ll never get credit for my discovery. Who’s going to believe a talking head, get a job in a side show.
and he just says it with such since sincerity it’s it’s. Uh, it’s laugh out loud, funny. Um, but west is like, I have a plan and he’s like, so do I. And then all of the other corpses in the morgue, spring to reanimated life and begin to attack. Dan and west, and then there’s a whole big fight scene that goes on for a long time with all these naked people.
Todd: right. And then it gets into like bizarro territory where I think, uh, at one point west says something, I guess this was his plan. He said something like, I, I never tried overdose. And he jams two of these needles into the back of one of the core. I think it was, um, it’s Hill’s body, his body falls down and.
It just decides to reanimate all of the organs in his body. yeah, because his chest bursts open and these intestines start flying out, wrapping themselves around, uh, west. That’s how west dies.
Craig: Well it’s left. I mean, cuz he comes back for the sequels, but yeah, we don’t know if he’s dead, but that’s the last we see of him.
Right. He a as um, you know, Megan and Dan are fighting off corpses too, but they kind of get free and are running out. Meanwhile like chemical smoke is filling the room. Um, and west screams at Dan my notes take my notes and he throws and he throws his notes and Dan. Takes them. Um, but that’s the last we see of him.
Yeah. He’s presumably dead, but we don’t actually see him die, which in horror movies, you know, means he’s, he’s probably coming back at some point, but he doesn’t come back in this movie. They run away, but they’re pursued by a couple more corpses. One of which gets a hold of Megan and starts throttling her and Dan.
Get the corpse off. So he runs down the hall and breaks the glass and, and gets the fire acts and comes back and, and chops up the corpse and gets it off of Megan. But it’s, it’s too late. Um, she’s, she’s dead. He, he races her to. the emergency room and puts her, you know, on a, a gurney and tries to give her CPR again, here we are right back where we
Todd: started, same people and everything, doctors
Craig: surrounding her mm-hmm and he’s trying to resuscitate her.
They try to, you know, shock her. Um, but she’s dead and, uh, all the other doctors walk away and he. Has, uh, West’s bag and he pulls out the serum, um, and he says, I love you and injects her. And then it cuts to black and we just hear her scream. So apparently she has been reanimated, but that’s the end. And then of course the sequel is, uh, bride of ReAnimator and they wanted Barbara Crampton to.
Come back, uh, and play the bride, but it was a small role. And her agent, uh, basically told her that it was beneath her, uh, to take such a, a small role. So she didn’t come back. So they cast somebody else, a different woman. Um, and in the story, they. Set out to build a perfect woman using different parts of different women and they use Megan’s heart.
Um, so she’s still there, but it doesn’t look like her. Ah, and then in the third one, um, which came out in the two thousands, sometime west is in prison. And I think like a prison doctor convinces him to. Continue his experiments or something. And then there were other planned sequels. Like there was a planned sequel where either west or Dan, I don’t remember.
One of them was gonna be called to the white house to reanimate. The dead president or vice president of the United States, that was gonna be house of REM. And then there was another one too that was gonna have west lose his memory and have to start his experiments all over again. And, but those never, um, came to fruition.
But this one, again, I can’t really give any kind of, um, critique on the sequels cuz I haven’t seen them. And I’m, I don’t know that I’m necessarily gonna race. To see them maybe someday. Yeah. If, if I come upon them, but, uh, I’m pretty much satisfied with this one on its own. And it’s not my favorite movie. I don’t feel compelled to watch it over and over again.
But. I do have a lot of appreciation for it. There’s really a lot of good stuff going on. The effects are good. It’s really bloody. It’s a super bloody movie practical effects that don’t always look real, but it looks like they took a lot of care with, uh, the acting is good. Uh, I really like Jeffrey Combs performance.
Um, it’s, it’s unique. Um, it’s a little. Over the top, in my opinion, but in a good way, I, I think that it serves the story well, love Barbara Crampton. So there’s a lot of things to li it’s, it’s a, it’s an original take, even though it’s inspired clearly inspired by the story of Frankenstein. It’s, it’s a original take.
It’s a unique movie. It’s different than other things that were going on at the time. And there’s really not been anything that I’ve seen. That has been a lot. Like, it, it, it, it kind of stands. On its own. Um, so I would definitely recommend it to, uh, any horror enthusiast who hasn’t seen it and I’d be willing to bet that any real fan of horror would like me at least appreciate a lot of things about it.
If not out some, I think a lot of people would just outright love it. Oh
Todd: yeah. I, I mean, I echo everything that you said. I thought it was a really interesting take on the Frankenstein story. It kind of hits very similar beats. It goes a little above and beyond modernizes. And, uh, also adds a lot of blood and gore and fun effects.
You know, sometimes it looks cheap and, and silly, but it’s the eighties . Yeah. You know, and it’s a lower, lower budget movie. Uh, it’s got a little bit of camp in it, but I was surprised actually at the lack of camp, like overt camp. I expected it to come across more campy than it really does. And I think, again, part of that is due to the filmmakers involved.
Like we’ve talked about before with like again, in this, in this wheelhouse, like troll society, those kinds of things. They, they do get some of these movies are quite campy, but also there’s just another layer there. There’s just this real surreal, very original quality to ’em that we end up really enjoying and even big budget, horror movies or Hollywood movies in general.
Can’t always do that. So. I, I can see why the movie is memorable, not just because of that shocking scene with Barbara Crampton. Um, but I am actually happy to hear that, that scene wasn’t traumatic for her. yeah, me too. You know, and everybody seemed to walk away with good feelings about, about the movie and about their participation in it.
So, um, yeah, it’s, it’s ended up with a life on its own on home video. Um, and, uh, it’s well regarded right now, even Roger Ebert. Can you believe. Gave this movie, like three out of four stars when he originally reviewed it. And he even said something like, you know, I, I can’t even explain why I just walked out of the movie theater feeling like totally satisfied and uplifted when I was in a room full of people, you know, wildly yelling at the screen.
yeah, I get that. Yeah, I totally
Craig: get that. So it’s also, uh, right now, as of you. This recording it’s it’s, uh, easily accessible. It’s streaming in lots of places. It’s streaming for free on tuby it’s on shutter and I think several other places as well. So if you haven’t seen it, you should be able to find it pretty easily.
Todd: Well, thank you again for listening to another episode. If you enjoyed this one, please share it with the friend. You can find us online, Google two guys in the chainsaw podcast. Find our Facebook page, our Twitter feed our Patreon, uh, page. If you’d like to become a patron of the show and, uh, have access to some, uh, extra things.
So we have some minisodes out there. Uh, we’ve talked about, uh, a lot of random things about the horror video games, about the little more in depth about the, a slasher movie month that we did last month. All these things you can find. If you become a patron. Of our podcast. We really thank all of our patrons as well as our regular listeners for all of your support.
Thank you so much and spread the love. Until next time, I’m Todd and I’m Craig with Two Guys and a Chainsaw.
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