When Re-Animator came out in 1985, it was really a breath of fresh air for the horror genre.
Where there were a number of Poe adaptations on the big screen previously, this was the first time an HP Lovecraft story had been done well, and it was enormous, sick fun. Director Stuart Gordon subsequently had further success adapting Lovecraft with From Beyond, before crossing over into kids movies with the successful Honey, I Shrunk the Kids franchise, which he actually considered horror films, believe it or not.
Now, those who read TG regularly are probably about to roll their eyes right here thinking, “Oh great, they’re gonna remake it and ruin it.”
Actually, the flim has already been remade, as a musical of all things, and it’s been doing bang-up business out there.
Frankly, it’s hard for me to imagine Re-Animator as a musical, but if you go back and watch the movie, there’s a lot of humor in it, and it’s a very irreverent horror film, so I guess singing and dancing wouldn’t be too out of place. (And there’ve certainly been morbid musicals before, like Sweeny Todd).
As Gordon told Entertainment Weekly, “People had been suggesting it to me for several years and I kind of laughed. I thought it was a ridiculous idea. But one day it sort of hit me – all of the effects in the movie were done practically on a stage, so we could do them all live in front of audiences.”
Gordon also said that the music for the play was written by Mark Nutter, and his tunes remind him of Tom Lehrer, who wrote dark parody songs back in the ’60s. What’s also bizarre to discover is George Wendt, Norm from Cheers, is performing in the play, and is a big horror fan. What should also make the play a lot of fun is there’s a “splash zone,” where you can sit close to the stage and get splattered with stage blood.
While there’s always been a big debate among horror fans about how much humor should be mixed in with the terror, Gordon told me, “I’ve always feltyou never find an audience that wants to laugh more than a horror movie audience. You can laugh at something, and you’re not afraid. I always think it’s a good thing to give the audiece something to laugh at without hurting the movie.”