My early twenties were a massive blur. It’s safe to say that I passed out at the age of twenty, and woke up on my twenty-eighth birthday. In that blur of an era, however, there were a few memorable moments, one of which being the first time I watched Stuart Gordon’s classic, RE-ANIMATOR. Now, before you all think (or find out) that I am super lame because I didn’t see this film until about a mere seven years ago, it’s not like I was fronted the anti RE-ANIMATOR fanclub, I had just never really gotten around to it, silly, I know. When I finally DID watch the film, it instantly became one of my favorites, and still is. Here is my first experience with RE-ANIMATOR!
At the age of 21, I worked at the local mall. I made a few friends while working there, and during one break I realized I had a lot in common with an awkward, interesting dude who looked a lot like Adrian Brody. To be completely honest, I forgot his name in that haze of my 20’s, so I will just refer to him as Adrian. One day during a lunch break, Adrian and I were walking around to pass the time, and check out all of the vendors that were selling stuff in the middle of the mall for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Random sports memorabilia, and framed pictures of Marilyn Monroe were pretty much covering every inch of our walking route, but somewhere, deep in the middle of that calamity, was a booth that instantly caught my eye. Some unnecessarily buff dude (like freakishly buff) was at said booth, drawing a picture that looked like it came straight out of a comic book. He was selling some pretty cool, hand drawn zombie/horror prints, so he definitely had my attention. Like my fellow slave to the mall grind, I don’t recall the guy’s his name, so I will call him the buff dude. Seconds later, the buff dude, Adrian, and I were immediately talking about the one thing we all had in common: horror.
I dazzled the buff dude with my self-proclaimed extensive knowledge of zombie films, and I’m pretty sure at one point in the conversation that I acted out an entire scene from the NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD remake. Feeling proud of myself was absolutely slaughtered, when Buff Dude casually asked about my personal opinion on RE-ANIMATOR. With shame in my voice, I replied “I have never seen it.” Buff Dude didn’t take the news very well. He looked at me with such fury in his eyes, that I swear if a passerby saw his anger, they would assume I just told this guy that I slept with his Mom, and ran over his cat. He proceeded to yell at me for about fifteen minutes, and then ended his rant with “Go over to F.Y.E right now, and buy it!!!” I didn’t want this random buff dude to yell at me any longer, plus I did want to watch it before I ruined his life so why not? Adrian and I made a movie day plan, and our double feature consisted of RE-ANIMATOR, and DAWN OF THE DEAD. When the day came, we sat down with our ridiculous amount of Chinese takeout, and enough beer to give a frat house a hangover, and put on the movie. I was in awe the entire time, I truly had never seen anything like it. The scene that really got to me and made me yell out obscenities, was, of course, the scene where the very beautiful (and very nude) Megan (Barbara Crampton) is stuck in an awkward situation with a bloody head… And not just any bloody head, it is the face of what nightmares are made of. No joke. I had many nightmares after watching that film, which may or may not have involved a headless zombie trying to get frisky with me.
The following day, proud of myself, I walked right up to the buff guy’s booth, and I gave him my full review of RE-ANIMATOR. He was pleased to know that I enjoyed it, and we laughed about how intense he was about me not watching the film before. I asked him why he had yelled at me, and not Adrian. I figured it was because I was into horror films and it made him upset that I didn’t watch a true classic like RE-ANIMATOR, and I asked him why he didn’t want to yell at my male friend for not watching it till we had our double feature. He said “Well, I knew that you knew your shit from talking about other things, and you not seeing it just gave me nerd rage. Your friend, well, I didn’t yell at him because he didn’t share the same love for zombie films that you had, so I could see how a movie like RE-ANIMATOR would slip past him…but you…there’s no excuse for you.” In a weird way, that was somehow taken as a compliment to young me. After I thanked the buff dude for pretty much yelling me into watching it, I never saw him or his drawings again, but I have seen RE-ANIMATOR countless times since then. I may not remember a whole lot of my life at age twenty-one, but I will never forget being introduced to a life-changing film. Keep that headless Dr. Hill away from my dreams though…
What were your first times watching classic horror films like? Sound off and let us know!