How well do you remember Re-Animator, the movie based on an H.P. Lovecraft tale?

By: Torrance Grey
Image: The Movie DB

About This Quiz

It's campy, it's gory, it's thoroughly revolting... but this 1980s film is now considered a cult classic. Are you up on your Re-Animator trivia? Find out now with our quiz!

What year was Re-Animator released?

Re-Animator landed squarely in the middle of the 1980s. However, the film's score and opening credits were pretty retro; both were a throwback to Hitchcock films.

Where is Herbert West studying when the movie opens?

The film's opening shot shows the sign for the Institut fur Medizin at a university in Zurich. This is likely a nod to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; her obsessed doctor was Swiss.

What is the name of West's mentor (and the first experiment subject we see)?

His full name is Hans Gruber. That's right -- he shares his name with Alan Rickman's character in Die Hard.

How did Dr. Gruber die?

When Herbert West is accused of killing Gruber, he says, "I gave him life!" This indicates strongly that West didn't actually murder him mentor -- yet we don't learn how Gruber died.

What is the name of the medical school West transfers to?

Miskatonic Medical School is in Arkham, Massachusetts, also from Lovecraft's writing. You may know it for its asylum.

Why does Miskatonic accept West, despite his obvious misconduct?

West just turns up at Miskatonic, being shown around by Dean Halsey. Interestingly, Halsey tells Dr. Hill that West "worked with" Dr. Gruber -- but he seems unaware of how hideously that mentor-student relationship ended.

What is Dan's last name?

In Lovecraft's story, the character is unnamed (he's a first-person narrator). The screenwriter seems to have chosen a name with chilling implications -- odd given that it's West who's the primary bad guy here.

What is Dan doing when we first see him?

The determined Cain has to be called off by an older, wiser doctor. This is setting up his willingness to working with West on his theories, no matter how outlandish they are.

What year of medical school are Herbert and Dan in?

Cain has a lot of responsibility for a third-year. We see him taking corpses down to the morgue, implying he already works at the hospital.

What does Herbert accuse Dr. Hill of when they first meet?

Herbert has zero interest in social graces. Immediately on meeting Hill, Herbert tells him that in Europe, he's considered to have plagiarized Gruber. Then he says that Hill is wrong in saying that after 12 minutes, no one can be revived from death.

What is significant about Megan, Dan's love interest?

Megan is Dean Halsey's daughter. West considers this somehow immoral, even though she's an adult and the dean knows about the relationship.

What is Dan's street address?

We see Dan's address when he pins a Roommate Wanted sign on a bulletin board. The symbolism in this movie is really not very subtle.

What does Herbert do while Dr. Hill is lecturing about the 6-to-12-minute timeframe?

Herbert is so annoyed he snaps one pencil in half, then another. After class, Hill says icily, "I suggest you get a pen!"

What is the name of Dan's cat?

You might think it's Megan's cat, because she's very solicitous of Rufus. But since Rufus lives in Dan's apartment, viewers have concluded that the cat must be his.

How does Herbert claim that Rufus died?

Supposedly, Rufus knocked over some trash, then put his head in a jar, got stuck, and suffocated. Viewers are meant to have their doubts.

What color is West's "re-agent"?

The effects department used the fluid from glow sticks as the re-agent. It was apparently the first time this technique had been used onscreen.

What is Dr. Carl Hill's relationship to Megan?

We first learn this when Halsey makes a toast at dinner. He calls Megan, "the obsession of all who fall under her spell." Awkward!

When Cain comes to Halsey with news that West has resuscitated a dead cat, what is Halsey's reaction?

You'd expect the dean of a medical school to express interest in a potentially Nobel-winning breakthrough. Halsey, though, is only interested in punishing the infractions committed. See, Halsey -- this is why you're not Dean of Johns Hopkins or Harvard!

How does Dean Halsey die?

Halsey walks into the morgue while Dan and Herbert are trying to subdue a lively corpse they've just revived. Actually, Halsey doesn't walk in -- the door falls and flattens him, and that's not the worst thing that'll happen to the dean this day.

Where is Dean Halsey kept after his re-animation?

Hill can observe Halsey through a large plate-glass window, raising the question, did the hospital staff just throw together the padded cell after Halsey's mishap? Was it always there, right next to a professor's office? This is never explained.

Why does Dr. Hill lobotomize Dean Halsey?

Hill intends to claim West's serum as his own work. He thinks West will keep silent because Hill can always blackmail him with Halsey's "murder." He seriously underestimates West's craziness.

What does Dan find in a file in Dr. Hill's office?

The news clipping notes that Megan was voted "Sophomore Sweetheart." Really, what's everyone's fixation on this girl? She has the world's worst pageboy-with-bangs hairstyle!

How does West kill Dr. Hill?

West hits Hill over the head, then decapitates the man with the shovel blade. Did we mention you shouldn't watch this movie while eating?

Why does West re-animate Hill's head and body?

Though it seems like a bad idea to bring your rival back to life, West does so. He says he's never tried his re-agent on "whole parts," which is an oxymoron. Drop by the English department sometime, Herbert.

Who attacks West from behind and knocks him out?

Yes, apparently Dr. Hill's severed head controls his body by a kind of telepathy. Just go with it.

Who does Hill capture and strap down in the lab?

Newly re-animated, Dr. Hill knows what needs to be done next: make time with the dean's daughter! Frankly, this damsel-in-distress scenario seems more like a gratuitous way to sneak in some full frontal nudity.

Why does Hill's body take blood from a lab refrigerator?

Yes, although the movie shattered basic tenets of life science to bits, it was apparently important to show that Hill had a blood supply to his brain. So his body pours donated blood into the pan the brain is resting in, like he's watering a plant. Ah, science!

How does Hill fight Cain and West in the lab?

In the original script and a deleted scene, Hill has psychic mind-control powers. In the actual film, Hill explains that his lobotomy process makes slaves of re-animated corpses. That's why, at his command, they get up at once from their gurneys and attack.

If Halsey is lobotomized, why does he defend Cain and Megan?

A possessed/mind-controlled/zombified person being affected by the sight or sound of a former loved one is a classic of the horror and thriller genres.

How does Herbert West die?

West is work-obsessed until the end. Though he's turned the morgue into a mini Romero movie, West's first concern is that Dan escape with the briefcase containing the serum. (Of course, this will be needed later).

How does Megan die?

Since the serum works on body parts, the hand doesn't stop choking Megan, even after Dan has dispatched its body. Dan rushes her to the ER, but when he can't save her... well, you can guess what happens.

Who directed Re-Animator?

Gordon has directed a number of horror movies. Wikipedia notes that he's married to an actress, Carolyn, "whom he frequently casts and often murders in his movies." Hey, if it works -- they're still together!

Is Re-Animator considered a zombie movie?

It's rare for a zombie movie to use the word "zombie." This is often because the revival of the dead is such a new phenomenon that there's no name for it. But Re-Animator is on at least one "best zombie movies" list.

Which of the actors has also played H.P. Lovecraft?

Combs played the writer in Necronomicon: Book of the Dead. He's also been in other Lovecraft adaptations, horror films, and science-fiction shows.

Which is NOT a Re-Animator film sequel?

Army of Darkness vs. Re-Animator was a comic book, not a movie. The original Lovecraft story and the movie spawned a number of creative offspring, including a musical.

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