Interview: Stuart Gordon, director of Re-Animator, From Beyond and Castle Freak
The filmmaker has also turned his hand to theatre, directing Re-Animator: The Musical and Taste
For aficionados of the undead, Re-Animator is counted as a true great alongside Dawn of the Dead and Zombie Flesh Eaters. The film is a smart, funny and gloriously gory slice of horror cinema starring Jeffrey Combs as an insanely driven medical student who concocts a luminous serum that reanimates the dead.
Based on a little known HP Lovecraft story, it helped induct a new generation of genre fans into the writer's world of Cthulhu. 'There are some Lovecraft stories that are easier to adapt than others,' explains director Stuart Gordon. '“Herbert West-Reanimator” is just action-packed and very cinematic, so very easy to adapt.' Surprisingly, Lovecraft himself hated the story so it wasn't available in any collections or reprints of his dark tales but Gordon eventually tracked down a copy in the Chicago Public Library. 'He was paid to write it, so in his eyes that demeaned it.'
Gordon obviously has an affinity with Lovecraft having also directed From Beyond, Castle Freak, Dagon and 'Dreams in the Witch House' (for the Masters of Horror TV series). 'He is just so out there. I have had arguments with people who say "why don't you just set your films in the period that he wrote the stories?" But he's so far out that setting them in the past limits him.'
Gordon started out in theatre at university and in recent years he has returned to the medium. Re-Animator: The Musical appeared on the Edinburgh Fringe in 2012 and he's currently working on Taste, a new play based on the true story of Armin Meiwes, the German cannibal who advertised on the internet for a victim. 'We're doing it live on stage in a working kitchen so it really involves all of the senses. We've had people pass out,' he chuckles. 'That's the power of theatre: it's really happening in front of you.'
Re-Animator is released on Second Sight Films, Mon 2 Jun.