Friday, October 16, 2009

Gross Anatomy

"You stole the secret of life and death, and here you are trysting with a bubble headed co-ed!"

For every fabulous gay that can be found regaling his friends at dinner parties with stories of Sharon Stone and sample sales, there is a schlubby and socially awkward gay, holed up in his parent’s basement eating Doritos and looking at internet porn for hours at a time until he no longer feels anything. Whether by shame or lack of social skills, these gays are to be avoided at all costs! Don’t think you can help them transform into a Pygmalion Adonis with some cetaphil and a gym membership – this kind of gay is a succubus who won’t be stopped until everyone is as miserable as he. This is the evil gay.

Take, for instance, the story of Herbert West in Re-Animator (1985).  Herbert is very smart, almost too smart. His intellect makes him arrogant without merit. He is one of those guys who can only function inside the world of academia, someone who has never had to learn real life lessons or the keys to social interaction. Herbert West is like those bad kids in middle school who’d light cats on fire and call it an experiment. Jeffrey Dahmer kinds of gays. Sociopaths have a hard time getting things like apartments and grants; this conundrum leads him to Dan Cain. Dan is in his third year residency and he is always shirtless; he blows off steam built up from working twenty-hour days with cadavers by having lots of sex with his girlfriend, Meg. Meg happens to be the Dean of Student’s daughter. Dan knows what he’s doing. Dan is pretty, he has a spare room in his apartment, and the staff of Misketonic Medical School universally adores him.  Herbert needs Dan.

Is Herbert West a gay? Probably, yeah. But he's not a fun happy gay at all. He doesn't have sex; he'd rather sublimate all physical needs into his all-consuming “work.” He hates women. He only tests his potions on well built men and has a personal vendetta set against Dan’s girlfriend, killing her cat and making snide comments about her hair and the diameter of her hips - going so far as to have her father mutilated to drive his point home. Evil.  As his appetite for power and carnage grows, Herbert becomes smug, almost hot!  Of course, such arrogance and homosexuality can only end in being suffocated by another man's large intestine, but I digress.

Re-Animator is "iconic" for a reason.  It delivers on all counts; moments sampling Bernard Herrmann's Psycho theme coupled with zombies and gobs of gore transcend the genre.  Herbert West often breaks the fourth wall, as though the audience is part of his fevered psyche along for the ride. It is baffling to me that more H.P. Lovecraft adaptations aren't made; Re-Animator works so well! Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve longed for syringes full of glow-stick ooze.  With gobs of male nudity and a pitch perfect horror-comedy tone, Re-Animator is a classic for this or any other season.

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