1980s | Re-Animator (1985)
Film 6 of 8, representing the 1980s, Zombies, and Body Horror
Expectations: Quite simply gross out body horror. The 80s kicked on from the films that the likes of Carpenter, Hooper, and Romero had established before, and ramped everything up: Sex, nudity, body horror, gore, and violence. The 80s was a real decade of self indulgence for horror, with huge quantities of theatrical output. So essentially that’s what I’m on the look out for here, horror excess and loads of it.
Reflection: Re-Animator certainly doesn’t disappoint in the body horror stakes (nor the humour stakes, let’s not forget this is a very black comedy). This is certainly indicative of the gloves coming off; this is horror cinema running rampant in a time where technological advances in makeup and prosthetics, combined with (perhaps younger) the audience’s hunger for body horror, meant that anything and everything was possible. John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) is probably horror’s high point of animatronic body horror, and films like Re-Animator aren’t far behind. Decapitated heads, spilled open bowels, and eyeballs popping.., it was all possible and done in the most visceral way possible. The 80s certainly is the era of ‘see-all’ horror, the more gory detail, the better. It’s likely that this was all too much of a good thing for audiences, there was only so far filmmakers could go and they reached that point in the 80s. There is only so many ways a body can be puled part, explode, deteriorate, melt etc. In many ways post 80s horror actually toned down the body horror, or at least presented it in a less flamboyant nature. The 80s took everything that horror had achieved up to that point and accelerated it to a level where, ever since, the genre has struggled to find an identity for itself. Leaving the 80s as an immensely interesting period in horror history where anything and everything goes.