Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon dies at 72
The filmmaker's other credits included From Beyond and Space Truckers.
Several notable film directors have brought the "weird" tales of horror novelist H.P. Lovecraft to the big screen – from Roger Corman, who tackled "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" with his 1963 film The Haunted Palace, to Richard Stanley who oversaw this year's acclaimed Color Out of Space. But the man who did most to shine a light on Lovecraft's tales is undoubtedly Stuart Gordon, the director of Re-Animator and From Beyond, who has died at the age of 72, according to Variety.
Gordon's directorial debut was 1985's grotesque and hilarious Re-Animator about a serum which can bring the dead back to life. Adapted from Lovecraft's "Herbert West—Reanimator," the film starred Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, and Barbara Crampton and, over time, would become regarded as a bona fide horror classic. Gordon reteamed with Combs and Crampton for 1986's From Beyond and 1995's Castle Freak, both of which were adapted from Lovecraft tales. The director returned to the writer's work again with 2001's Dagon, a reworking of the novella The Shadow Over Innsmouth. Outside of his Lovecraft movies, Gordon's other credits included 1989's Robot Jox, 1992's Fortress, 1996's Space Truckers, and 2007's Stuck. Gordon also developed the story which became the 1989 hit movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
More recently, Gordon directed a stage musical version of Re-Animator, which premiered in Los Angeles in 2011 and was also performed in New York. "[The audience] gets totally covered in blood," Gordon told EW in 2012. "A lot of them wear white because it’s sort of a badge of honor. People show up in white tuxedos and lab coats, all decked out. You know, we offer them plastic garbage bags to wear. But a lot of them decline it because they really want to walk out of the theater covered in blood."
Directors Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Baby Driver), Don Coscarelli (Phantasm), and Mick Garris (The Stand TV miniseries) have all paid tribute to Gordon on social media.
"Sorry to hear about the great Stuart Gordon passing," wrote Wright. "Along with his storied career in theatre and independent film, he is in the horror hall of hame forever for films like ‘From Beyond’ & the outrageous gem that is ‘Re-Animator’. Put a plaque up at Miskatonic University for him."
"At the first 'Masters of Horror' dinner, Stuart said something which resonated with every horror filmmaker: 'Horror films are a rehearsal for our own deaths,' wrote Coscarelli. "In eight words he answered why we make them and watch them. Stuart, you made the finest. RIP, my friend."
"To know Stuart Gordon was to love Stuart Gordon," wrote Garris. "One of the true Masters of Horror and a wonderful, wonderful man. He was brilliant, funny, and always at the top of his game. So hard to say goodbye. We love you and miss you, Stuart."
Barbara Crampton has also expressed her loss at Gordon's passing.
"An enormous talent, vibrant & boundary breaking, his work was in a class by itself," wrote the actress. "He created countless moments on film which were at once, funny, scary, daring & smart. He gave me my career. I lost a dear friend. I’m heartbroken. No words can do him justice. RIP Stuart Gordon."