Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Re-Animator (1985)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Re-Animator (1985)

In director Stuart Gordon's cult comedy-horror film - a combination mad zombie and mad scientist film (and a retelling of the original Frankenstein films), from a series of stories by H.P. Lovecraft - outrageous tale of a demented medical student who was experimenting on regenerating dead bodies:

  • the film's opening: third year university student-scientist Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs), an incorrigible and obsessed 'mad-scientist' with a reanimating fluorescent green reagent, was doing "independent research" in Zurich, Switzerland, behind a locked lab room where screams were heard; when the door was broken into and unlocked by guards with guns drawn, there was the terrifying scene of West leaning over professor Dr. Hans Gruber (Al Berry) with a hypodermic syringe and insisting he had to get the man's vital signs; Gruber was screaming in agony, then stood up as his head turned purple, and his skin and eyes bulged outward - with blood spewing everywhere; Gruber then collapsed dead to the floor; Dr. West explained how a life-resurrecting dosage was lethal: West: "Of course he's dead. The dosage was too large." Female: "You killed him." West: "No, I did not. I gave him life."
Dr. West with Dying Dr. Gruber
Dr. Gruber Screaming
West: "I gave him life."
  • Dr. West transferred to the US (at Miskatonic Medical School in Arkham, Massachusetts), and became friends and roommates with co-partner/fellow student Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott); Cain's secret girlfriend/fiancee was Megan Halsey (scream-queen Barbara Crampton), the daughter of the Dean of the medical school Dr. Alan Halsey (Robert Sampson); Cain was discreetly having sex with Megan, since her puritanical father would object; one of the eminent professors at the school was megalomaniac Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale), specializing in brains (and brain death), one of Dr. West's research competitors
  • the scene of Dr. West's first attempt at reanimation in his apartment's basement, after he alleged that Dan's black housecat Rufus had accidentally died of suffocation (and then was stored in the refrigerator in West's room), along with a glowing green substance; when Dan asked about the green fluid, West suggested blackmail and retorted that it was none of his business: "...just as it's none of my business that you’re sleeping with Dean Halsey's daughter"; the cat was revived in the basement, although it became hyper-crazy and screeched, and both Dan and Herbert tried to kill it with a baseball bat and croquet mallet, respectively; Dan heaved the cat against the wall and broke its back, and West began laughing hysterically
Deceased Cat Rufus Stored in the Refrigerator
Re-Animated Cat Thrown Against Wall - Now Dead a Second Time
  • next, the incorrigible researcher Dr. West admitted what he had done - he had attempted to reanimate the recently-deceased creature by injecting it with a luminous green flourescent goo, reagent or serum - a substance designed to bring back the dead (he bragged: "I conquered brain death"); to prove he could regenerate the dead animal again, he reinjected it a second time - and the cat briefly howled and twitched.
Reinjecting Rufus Again With
The Green Serum
Rufus Briefly Back to Life a Second Time
  • after Dan told Dr. Halsey about Dr. West's regenerative experiments, the strict administrator expelled Dr. West from the medical school for conducting experiments that were unauthorized and "beyond the scope of...legitimate studies"; Dan was required to submit a written apology, and his student loan was rescinded (effectively ending his studies); however, Dan continued to aid Dr. West to salvage both of their careers - he wheeled Dr. West (under a sheet) into the medical school's autopsy room filled with corpses
  • the scene of the first awakening of an autopsy room patient from a slab and the ensuing struggle with the superhuman zombie, who in the melee attacked Dr. Alan Halsey and bit his fingers - Dr. Halsey had arrived to accuse them of trespassing; the zombie was killed by Dr. West applying a surgical buzz bone-saw to its back and emerging from its chest; the dead Dr. Halsey, now the "freshest body" available, was now reanimated as an undead zombie ("We can bring him back to life")
  • soon after, Dr. Hill became the "guardian" of the zombified, strait-jacketed Dr. Halsey (held in a padded observation cell/office); to investigate the cause of death by exploratory surgery, Dr. Hill secretly performed a lobotomy on his boss, and discovered that Halsey had been reanimated
  • the sequence of the murder of Dr. Hill by an enraged Dr. West, who feared that Hill would soon plagiarize his research (Hill had already plagiarized Dr. Gruber's work); Hill had threatened: "I want your discovery"; Dr. Hill's head was crushed when a shovel was swung at it, and then severed from his body at the neck; Dr. Hill's decapitated head was then placed within a silver tray, and West injected reagent into both parts - the head and the body; in retaliation, Hill's reanimated, headless body grabbed Dr. West from behind and knocked him unconscious
  • using mind control, weirdly-obsessed, lecherous Dr. Hill sent a reanimated Dr. Halsey out to kidnap his own daughter Megan ("Alan, it’s time for you to come out now..."); Megan was brought to the lab - she fainted, and she was stripped and her left arm was strapped onto a metal lab table next to Hill's head in the tray
  • the next infamous scene was an outrageously humorous and horrifying scene - the film's most famous over-the-top, perverted sequence - "rape-by-severed-head"; decapitated Dr. Carl Hill's disembodied, reanimated undead 'head' was aroused by the sight of a naked Megan while she was restrained and bare on the laboratory gurney next to him; after Dr. Hill's body (his head was propped onto his neck) massaged both of her breasts, Megan kicked off his fake head; Hill's body picked up his own head in the tray, then leaned over her with his disembodied head (held by his own body) and managed to speak in a gravely voice to her, while trying to kiss her breasts: "I've always admired your beauty, my dear. I think I've always loved you. (She screamed and attempted to push him away.) And you will love me. You will!" As she protested and screamed: "Please stop, let me go," he attempted to provide oral sex ('head') to Megan, but was interrupted by West: "I must say, Dr. Hill - I'm very disappointed in you! You steal the secret of life, and then here you are trysting with a bubble-headed co-ed. You're not even a second-rate scientist."
Severed Head Sexual Attack by Dr. Hill on Megan
  • Megan was rescued by Dan from the table, and the two escaped, as all the other corpses (reanimated by Dr. Hill's body with a new laser-drill lobotomizing procedure) in the room were commanded by Hill to come to life; Dr. West was held down on a metal lab table and was beginning to be laser-drilled in the head, but was interrupted when Dr. Halsey grabbed Dr. Hill's disembodied head; he squeezed it and gouged out its eyes, and tossed it into the hallway - and then, he was torn to pieces and had his head ripped off by the other zombie-corpses; to destroy Hill's body, Dr. West injected it with a large overdose of the reagent from two syringes, while he cried out for his work to be saved; Hill's body fought back, attacked, and began to mutate (and grabbed West with twisted parts of its intestines).
Dr. Hill's Head Squeezed by Dr. Halsey
Intestines in Dr. Hill's Body Wrapped Around Dr. West
  • in the conclusion, as Dan and Megan fled into the basement hallway, she was choked to death by one of the re-animated corpses (a burn victim) in the elevator; after attempting CPR, Dan wheeled Megan into a nearby upstairs emergency room, where there were vain efforts to resuscitate and save her; the room was cleared, but then Dan had an idea - he opened Dr. West's medical bag (holding a syringe) and injected her in the neck with the reagent as he told her: "I Love you!" The screen faded to black, and then she screamed!

(l to r): Dr. Halsey, Dr. Hill, Dan Cain, Dr. West

Megan Halsey (Barbara Crampton) Having Sex with Dan Cain

First Re-Animated Corpse in Autopsy Room

Zombie Crunching on Dr. Halsey's Fingers

Dr. West "Killing" Reanimated Zombie Corpse with Bone-Saw

Re-Animating the Dead Dr. Halsey

Dr. Halsey Detained in a Padded Cell in a Strait-Jacket

Dr. West Severing Dr. Hill's Head With a Shovel

Dr. Hill's Disembodied Head

Dr. Hill Commanded Dr. Halsey to Kidnap Megan

Megan Abducted and Brought to the Lab

Concluding Sequence:

Death of Megan - Choked by Zombie

Dr. West Attempting to Revive Megan in Emergency Room


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