The Re-Animator is a zany pop-opera for the horror geek in everyone’, as described by the ‘Edge Los Angeles’. Directed by Stuart Gordon with assistance from co-writers Dennis Paoli and Williams J Norris, they create a modern version of HP Lovecraft’s story. Based upon the 1985 horror cult movie, The Re-Animator updated the classic twisted love horror story and revamped it towards the Hollywood style. Providing a very eccentric, electrifying, crowd pleasing performance, The Re-Animator, is everything but your typical play.
Medical student Dan Cain, (Chris L McKenna), is a very charismatic caring doctor in love with the deans’ daughter Megan Halsey, (Rachel Avery). The two seem to have it all and are even talking marriage. The two are very pleased with their life at the moment; Cain is excelling in medical school, and Avery working towards her under graduates’ degree. Avery is unable to fulfill the void of Cain’s need for a roommate, so he is forced to take someone in. While Cain seems thrilled to find another medical student, Herbert West (Graham Skipper) as a roommate, Avery is not enthusiastic to say the least. The direction is unclear, however Avery knows this is a bad idea for Cain to take in this particular roommate. Failure to listen to his fiancée, Cain will find out the hard way that his life that was once ‘normal’ is about to change and can not necessarily be re-animated.
Cain is under the impression that West needs a place to live; however, what he was looking for is a secretive basement he could turn into a laboratory. Ranting and raving about how perfect his basement was and how it will fulfill his needs the two decide to be roommates. West is a very clever, witty, secretive individual that has created this serum that shocks the brains of the recently dead which causes a state of‘re-animation’. West proclaims this is a breakthrough and persuades Cain to become his ally. Once Cain saw West bring his pet cat back to life, he was hooked and intrigued by the serum and its ability to re-animate and ‘raise the dead’.
The two begin to wreck havoc by getting the hospital involved and experimenting on recently dead bodies they receive. The college town turns into a mad zombie town with the few bodies that has been experimented with. Once re-created the bodies that were once life-less and ‘juiced’ up and given the ability to perform humanly functions in a zombie like form. Cain explodes with excitement with the discovery and informs Dean Halsey (Harry S. Murphy) of the practices that the two have been performing. In fear of his daughters’ safety, Halsey suspends West and puts Cain on probation. Cain ensures the dean that his daughter Avery is safe and out of harms way, in a rage Halsey sticks with his decision and orders Cain to leave the premises. Putting a strain on their relationship, Avery must choose between the two men she loves. In an act to safe his daughter, Halsey is now the next victim. West and Cain have gone mad and are trying the serum on anyone they can.
In the mist of all the distress, Dr. Hill (Jesse Merlin) tries to come to Avery’s rescue. With a humorous love balled, Hill attempts to sing his way to Avery’s heart multiple times. Missing all of the craziness Hill has one thing in his mind, and that is to sweep Avery off her feet and steal her from Cain. Hill has had a quick meeting with West in an attempt to steal the serum and ‘become famous’ as he jokingly sings, he is now the next victim. The zombie like victims unite and form into a hilarious singing and dancing balled. Cain and West have turned the town into a mad house and are trying to reconcile to normality. Trying to escape the madness, Avery is now the next victim. Cain is left with nothing else but his memories. Stuck in his sick twisted ways and obsession with the ‘re-animation’ serum, Cain tries the serum once more to revive the love of his life.
Witty, cleaver, and delivering a spectacular performance, The Re-Animator is back by popular demand and delivers many different aspects and takes Hollywood by storm. The Re-Animator, shares all of the guts and glory with its first few rows which are described as the ‘splash zone’. The actors then spray the audience with blood, guts, and whatever else they can find to accentuate the horror, and debauchery of the play. This play is splendidly calibrated and shares imaginative experiences with its audience and delivers an all around smashing bloody good time!
(Photo Credit: Thomas Hargis)