For those of you who have yet to see Stuart Gordon’s superb 1985 Re-Animator and It’s 1989 sequel Bride Of Re-Animator, allow me to introduce you to doctor Herbet West: the titular re-animator.
Through his seriously questionable research and macabre experiments he pioneers a serum which brings dead tissue back to life – often with disastrous consequences. Playing a man dangling so precariously on the edge of genius and lunacy -“I will not be shackled by the failures of your God!”- is no cake walk for any actor but Jeffrey Combs relished the challenge, turning out one of the most entertaining mad-man performances in horror cinema.
Combs later reunited with Bride Of Re-animator director Brain Yuzna for the slightly disappointing 2003 Beyond Re-Animator. Such talents were noticed and snatched up by one Peter Jackson in his 1996 supernatural comedy The Frighteners. So impressed was he with his mad cap Re-animating antics he cast him in the role of Milton Dammers, a psychologically fractured FBI agent investigating the occult. With celebrated work in science fiction like regular roles in the Star Trek franchise Combs’ passionate and loyal fan-base is not just in horror – apologies to the Trekkies among you for the horror focus here.