Ruthlessly Efficient

“Herbert West- Reanimator” is not the best work H.P. Lovecraft ever did. In fact, it's the worst, by the common consensus of just about every H.P Lovecraft fan and critic out there. Even Lovecraft didn't like the story, and only wrote it because they were paying him five dollars per serialized chapter. The man had to eat, after all, but this was probably not the best Lovecraft story to make a movie out of.

Yet “Re-Animator” actually kind of works, because they didn't try to make it too Lovecraftian (which would have failed, since the original story isn't all that Lovecraftian) or too serious at all for that matter, and interpreted the story as an over-the-top horror comedy.


Say what you will about Herbert West- he's a madman, he's a killer, he brings the dead back to life- but there's one thing you can't deny. The man gets the job done, and with a vengeance. After seeing this movie, me and an ex-girlfriend of mine started giving out the (notional) “Herbert West Award For Ruthless Efficiency” to anyone who displayed the Re-Animator's characteristics of maximum effectiveness and minimum concern for the laws of man, the universe or sanity.


One interesting point about the original story is that it's the first or one of the first “modern zombie” stories, in which the re-animated dead are portrayed as instinctively and constantly violent killing machines. Lovecraft's “zombies” don't eat people (or even their brains) but they are a big step in that direction, making Lovecraft an indirect influence on the otherwise un-Lovecraftian genre of zombie apocalypse movies.