Sunday, April 5, 2020

Stuart Gordon, director of the gore classic ‘Re-Animator’, dies

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Stuart Gordon’s life was changed by his first film. Released in Spain in January 1986, ‘Re-Animator’ electrified fans of fantastic cinema thanks to its lack of prejudice, the achieved special effects and its dark humor. Based on a text by H. P. Lovecraft, the film brought the sub-genre of ‘mad doctors’ up to date with the story of a scientist (Jeffrey Combs) obsessed with raising the dead. His experiments at Miskatonic University resulted in bizarre prints that caused the viewer a mixture of hilarity and repulsion: a dismembered body trying to make love to a handcuffed woman or a headless man who carries his head in his hands. The image of the protagonist with a syringe of phosphorite green liquid marked the horror cinema of the 80s.

Gordon (Chicago USA, 1947) passed away this past Tuesday at age 72 leaving a filmography framed within the fantastic series B. None of his films returned to give as much money as ‘Re-Animator’, which devastated the then thriving video market. His jump to the gore cinema, he confessed, came about thanks to the advice of a friend, who recommended that he debut with a tape of that genre because it was easy to finance. His intention was to give his fellow actors a job at Chicago’s Organic Theater company, where he met playwright David Mamet and actors Joe Mantegna and Dennis Franz.

Gordon had already shown signs of liking provocation at the University of Wisconsin, where he directed an adaptation of ‘Peter Pan’ in which Tinker Bell was gay and the protagonist traveled to Never Land blind from LSD. The joke cost him the arrest accused of obscenity and the expulsion from the center. He formed the Organic Theater with his wife Caroline Purdy-Gordon and triumphed on Off-Broadway with Mamet’s ‘Sexual Perversity in Chicago’ and ‘Emergencies’, which would later be serialized.

Joined by director Brian Yuzna and producer Charles Band, Gordon re-adapted Lovecraft after the success of ‘Re-Animator’ in ‘Re-Sonator’. Then they would come ‘Dolls’, ‘Robot Jox’, ‘Infernal Fortress’ and ‘Space Truckers’, starring Dennis Hopper as a galactic trucker. In 2001 he filmed with Paco Rabal ‘Dagon: the sect of the sea’, Another adaptation of a Lovecraft story set in a Galician fishing village and one of the actor’s latest films. Author of the script for ‘Honey, I have shrunk the children’, in his last years he worked on the stages of Los Angeles with works such as ‘Taste’, where a man agreed to be devoured by another, or the musical of ‘Re-Animator’ .

“I have realized that the most horrible things happen in the real world”, confessed this admirer of Lovecraft and Poe whose work was admired by Quentin Tarantino, as he made clear with his applause at the 1996 Sitges Festival, where ‘Space Truckers’ was presented.

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