Vitals: True goodness equals mad science plus slapsticky grossouts plus Jeffrey Combs in an early, over-the-top performance as crazy Dr. Herbert West, who invents a serum that brings dead bodies back to life. When he's kicked out of med school by a jealous professor, West continues his reanimation in secret - while his old professor builds an army of mind-controlled, undead freaks. Based extremely loosely on an H.P. Lovecraft short story.
Famous names: Stuart Gordon, Jeffrey Combs
Crunchy goodness: 5
Sight you'll never unsee: After West decapitates and reanimates his rival Dr. Hill, the headless undead doctor carries his head around in a bowling bag and kidnaps a young woman he's taken a fancy to. Hill strips her, straps her to a medical table, and then - well, let's just say he gives new meaning to the phrase "giving head."
Sequels: Followed by Bride of Re-Animator and Beyond Re-Animator, both directed by Gordon pal Brian Yuzna, who memorably includes a zombie rat vs. zombie penis sequence in Beyond Re-Animator. Gordon returns to the franchise in 2008 with House of Re-Animator, starring William H. Macy as the president, who gets involved in re-animation shenanigans.
Most memorable product tie-in: In The 4400, Jeffrey Combs (our beloved Herbert West) plays a mad doctor who invents a glowing green serum that he injects into people with a giant syringe to give them mutant powers. The glowing green syringe is a near-replica of the one he uses in the Re-Animator movies.