I seldom pray anymore, but when I do, I pray for Zombie Apocalypse. That’s right: I long for a scorched globe ravaged by nuclear fallout and inhabited by the living dead. I fantasize about charting and following an escape route out of the District and establishing a post-apocalyptic, libertarian paradise. But mostly, I dream of fucking up zombies, all day. Every day.
When I’m feeling especially prayerful, I settle onto my futon with a big bowl of Grape Nuts and watch movies about zombies. Last night I watched H.P. Lovecraft’s Re-Animator. Below, in no particular order, are my top five reasons why this is a great zombie movie:
5.) Peter Kent: Kent is the first character to be brought back to life by Herbert West, MFS (mad-fucking-scientist). He throws a couple of characters around, grunts and groans, busts down a steel door, and then takes a skull saw to the thorax—all the way through. Epic.
4.) The Green Goo: These things don’t come back to pseudo-consciousness all on their own (a la 28 Days Later: “No deus ex machina here folks, move along now, nothing to see.”), West has to bring these freaks back to life…by beating “brain death!” Whenever you see West break out the DayGlo syringe, grab your blanky: shit’s about to get heavy.
3.) Barbara Crampton: Crampton plays Megan Halsey, the daughter of Medical dean Alan Halsey (played by a stuffed and silvered Robert Sampson). Her character is a little too dopey for a good heroine, but she redeems herself by getting naked. Twice. (Email me for the in and out times: firstname.lastname@example.org.) Pointless nudity is horror-flick boiler plate, but in both scenes, Crampton’s nudity is a function of the plot (seriously).
2.) Absurdism: A re-animated house cat nearly kills West, Peter Kent shakes a man to death, Dr. Carl Hill manages to sneak into a morgue with his head in a bowling-ball bag and an instructional plastic skull atop his shoulders, and then orchestrates a zombie orgie. Holy. Shit. For every cringe-inducing moment during which a prosthetic eye pops like a golf-ball sized pimple, there are five minutes of footage so bizarre and so ridiculous that you can’t help but cheer.
1.) Herbert West: If my parents had been the type to let me watch scary movies when I was young, I would’ve had on my wall a poster of Herbert West (played by Jeffrey Combs). He stands short at 5’3″. He wears huge wire-frame glasses. He has a mustache that trembles when he’s on the verge of “discovery.” In short, he’s the nerd hero; Martin Linux King; a lone 1 in a field of 0s. And he saves the fucking day.
(And if you don’t feel like watching a flick at home, check out City Paper’s movie listings.)
Here’s a little taste: