How do I love thee, Herbert West? Let me count the ways. I love that you look and act like the sick, twisted, hilarious lovechild of Norman Bates and Ashley J. Williams. You're brilliant, you're creepy, you're slightly campy and, to me, you are the perfect make-believe horror movie boyfriend. I love your drive and focus, the way that you pull out all the stops in order to achieve your goal of bringing the dead back to life. There's a purity to your pursuit; you're not seeking fame or fortune, you aren't trying to resurrect a lost love, it's not personal for you, you just care about scientific advancement. I admire the single-mindedness of your obsession.
You were birthed from the brain of H.P. Lovecraft back in the 1920s but you seem right at home in the mid-80s setting of Stuart Gordon's enthusiastically, unapologetically gruesome Re-Animator. You're a synth-pop, post-punk Victor Frankenstein. Your roomate, Dan Cain, is arguably the fella the audience is supposed to be rooting for but, make no mistake, my love, you're the one I'm invested in, you're the one running the show and you're the main reason that I enjoy revisiting this movie. Your antics always make my toes curl.
It's not that I don't appreciate the crazy black humor, the lurid subplot involving Megan and Dr. Hill's re-animated head and the aforementioned boatloads of gore. I love all that stuff. In fact, Re-Animator is about as close to perfect as a horror film can get. But you, Herbert West, are the mad, marvelous glue that binds the whole bloody, sordid affair together. And that tiny flash of humanity you exhibit at the end of the film? Nice touch, my pet. Just when I think I have you pegged you surprise me. You're a brilliant character and you're played, brilliantly, by the insanely talented Jeffrey Combs and you, and this movie you inhabit, absolutely rock my world.