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Podcast Episode 41: Tribute To ‘Re-Animator The Musical’

Interviews with director Stuart Gordon plus actors and effects crew

Dr. Hill (Jesse Merlin) doesn't let decapitation slow him down in

Credit: Re-Animator The Musical

Above: Dr. Hill (Jesse Merlin) doesn't let decapitation slow him down in "Re-Animator The Musical."

Episode 41: Behind the Scenes of 'Re-Animator The Musical'

A tribute to 'Re-Animator The Musical' featuring interviews with director Stuart Gordon plus the actors and effects crew.

Subscribe to the Cinema Junkie podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcatcher.


This week's horror-themed October Cinema Junkie podcast pays tribute to "Re-Animator The Musical."

I have always loved Stuart Gordon’s 1985 low budget, cult horror film “Re-Animator,” so when I heard there was to be a musical stage version and with a “splash zone,” well I was hooked.

Both the film and the play are based on an H.P. Lovecraft story about Herbert West, a young medical student who discovers a reanimating agent that can bring the dead back to life … but the dead aren’t too happy about coming back.

In the years since it opened I have seen it more than two-dozen times including following it to Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland and most recently to Las Vegas, where I saw it four times in three days. I can’t get enough. I constantly have songs stuck in my head, including one about “an outstanding basement.”

I even learned the Miskatonic Fight Song by heart and have helped teach audiences how to sing-along.

But what could possibly prompt such devotion and obsession?

First, the show serves up a rare kind of perfection and ingenuity. When Stuart Gordon decided to bring his own film to the stage he recognized that doing a stage play now is like doing a low-budget horror film in the 1980s because there was no CGI and no budget for optical effects back then.

So everything was done like you would in live theater.

That provides another reason to love the show. It makes us willing participants in the illusions it creates. It has a charming, as well as wickedly clever, DIY quality that thoroughly engages the audience. It’s like knowing the magician’s trick and still being dazzled. And maybe it’s that DIY quality that inspires creativity on the part of its fans.

People in line have come in elaborate costumes and with homemade props, sometimes of amazing quality.

And of course the inventive music and lyrics of Mark Nutter are irresistible.

I have faith that “Re-Animator The Musical” will continue to reanimate. I can’t imagine life without it. So while I wait for announcement of the next location of the splash zone, enjoy my tribute to "Re-Animator The Musical" and my interviews with the highly creative team behind it.

I conducted the interviews in March 2011 during the opening week of the play. The music comes from a CD I won for best costume on one of the closing nights of the production. The music was recorded at a radio play reading of the play so it's not the music as it normally would be in the full production.

Here's my NPR story I did.

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