Since its release at the mid-point of the 1980s American horror boom, Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator (1985) has endured as one of the most beloved cult horror films of that era. Greeted by enthusiastic early reviews, Re-Animator has maintained a spot at the periphery of the classic horror film canon. While Re-Animator has not entirely gone without critical attention, it has often been overshadowed in horror studies by more familiar titles from the period. Eddie Falvey’s book, which represents the first book-length study of Re-Animator, repositions it as one of the most significant American horror films of its era.
For Falvey, Re-Animator sits at the intersection of various developments that were taking place within the context of 1980s American horror production. He uses Re-Animator to explore the rise and fall of Charles Band’s Empire Pictures, the revival of the mad science sub-genre, the emergent popularity of both gore aesthetics and horror-comedies, as well as a new appetite for the works of H.P. Lovecraft in adaptation. Falvey also tracks the film's legacies, observing not only how Re-Animator’s success gave rise to a new Lovecraftian cycle fronted by Stuart Gordon, but also how its cult status has continued to grow, marked by sequels, spin-offs, parodies and re-releases. As such, Falvey's book promises to be a book both about Re-Animator itself and about the various contexts that birthed it and continue to reflect its influence.
'The contextual analysis of Re-Animator in this typically thoughtful Devil’s Advocates study examines it as a pivotal product of the briefly thriving Empire Pictures... Falvey’s analysis hits just the right tone of affection, with pleasing incidental detail.'
Steven West, FrightFest