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Herbert West—Reanimator

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"Herbert West: Reanimator" is a short story by American horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft. It was written between October 1921 and June 1922. It was first serialized in February through July 1922 in the amateur publication Home Brew. The story was the basis of the 1985 horror film Re-Animator and its sequels, in addition to numerous other adaptations in various media.

The story is the first to mention Lovecraft's fictional Miskatonic University. It is also notable as one of the first depictions of zombies, as corpses arising, through scientific means, as animalistic, and uncontrollably violent creatures.

48 pages, Paperback

First published June 1, 1922

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About the author

H.P. Lovecraft

4,003 books16.4k followers
Howard Phillips Lovecraft, of Providence, Rhode Island, was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction.

Lovecraft's major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror: life is incomprehensible to human minds and the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. Lovecraft has developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a series of loosely interconnected fictions featuring a pantheon of human-nullifying entities, as well as the Necronomicon, a fictional grimoire of magical rites and forbidden lore. His works were deeply pessimistic and cynical, challenging the values of the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Christianity. Lovecraft's protagonists usually achieve the mirror-opposite of traditional gnosis and mysticism by momentarily glimpsing the horror of ultimate reality.

Although Lovecraft's readership was limited during his life, his reputation has grown over the decades. He is now commonly regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th Century, exerting widespread and indirect influence, and frequently compared to Edgar Allan Poe.


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Displaying 1 - 30 of 535 reviews
Profile Image for Bill Kerwin.
Author 1 book81.2k followers
June 21, 2019

H.P. Lovecraft stories don't usually make me think of Mel Brooks and Bruce Campbell, but "Herbert West" is definitely an exception.

This story, like H.P.’s subsequent work “The Lurking Fear,” was written to-order as a serial publication for the humor magazine Home Brew. Although Lovecraft’s interest in atmospheric effects often mars “The Lurking Fear”’s humorous tone, “Herbert West” is unharmed by any serious horror. On the contrary, H.P. embraces this over-the-top tale of “re-animation”—a congeries of cliches filched from Frankenstein, “The Body Snatcher” and more debased sources—and makes of it a mocking parody of gothic horror, the only thoroughly successful work of death’s head humor Lovecraft ever achieved.

Herbert West, the grave blue-eyed, blond-haired medical student and his narrator sidekick, raid the nearby graveyards and hospitals looking for fresh corpses to stir into life. Although they may produce a series of twitches, a leap or a howl—and even the occasional word here and there—their experiments are ludicrous failures. Still, these failures are more successful than they think, and literally come back to haunt them.

Lovecraft clearly enjoyed writing this farce, and I think you will enjoy reading it too, appreciating how he transforms his great weakness as a writer—a penchant for overwrought prose—into a positive strength. I particularly like how he deals with one of the challenges of serial publication—the recap at the beginning of each episode—and turns it to his advantage, creating a somewhat different recap every time, each entertaining in its own way. Unfortunately, “Herbert West” also has more than a touch of Lovecraft’s customary zenophobia and racism (brutish negroes, superstition Italians, etc.) but here these odious tendencies are partially redeemed by irony: the most degenerate, decadent example of humanity displayed here is the blond-haired, blue-eyed Herbert West himself:
Gradually I came to find Herbert West himself more horrible than anything he did—that was when it dawned on me that his once normal scientific zeal for prolonging life had subtly degenerated into a mere morbid and ghoulish curiosity and secret sense of charnel picturesqueness. His interest became a hellish and perverse addiction to the repellently and fiendishly abnormal; he gloated calmly over artificial monstrosities which would make most healthy men drop dead from fright and disgust; he became, behind his pallid intellectuality, a fastidious Baudelaire of physical experiment—a languid Elagabalus of the tombs.
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,114 reviews3,550 followers
October 10, 2018
One of the best H.P. Lovecraft's stories!

Herbert West believes that human body is not other than an “organic machine” and therefore, there has to be a way of “re-starting” it when it passed away. Since he was a medical student at Miskatonic University, he allied with the story’s narrator, another fellow medical student, to make secret experiments to make possible the reanimation of a dead person, and those experiments continued once both get their medical degrees and began their private medical practice, and even during their military medical service on World War I. During all those years, having different morbid results on their sinister experiments.

It’s curious to know that H.P. Lovecraft only accepted to write this story for the money and he disliked to be forced to make “cliffhangers” at the end of each chapter, when it was originally published in a magazine, and moreover to be considered by many Lovecraft’s scholars as his weakest work.

I say that it’s curious since I truly loved the story!

Easily my second favorite H.P. Lovecraft’s story, right after The Dunwich Horror.

I think that it was productive taking Lovecraft out of his “comfort zone” having him to write cliffhangers, and plotting more action scenes than in the rest of his usual work. Even he introduced the iconic Miskatonic University in this very tale. I believe that it allows him (not matter if he wanted or not) to greatly plot a very dark, way grim and quite morbid tale, easy to understand, easy to follow, easy to enjoy, without any metaphysical ambiguous elements.

Simple. To the point. Truly scary.

And without having the reader needing to look for any “secret clue” to link with the Cthulhu Mythos.

Yes, Cthulhu is cool but, here, Lovecraft proved that he could developed a totally human villain, with totally human wickedness, that he was evil of his own without having being contaminated by some paranormal and/or alien external source. Good ol’ evil human nature.

And still, the story presents clear Lovecraftian elements such as the preference of employing drugs in the plot instead of other means like electricity (as used on Frankenstein) to reanimate corpses, that certainly has to be one of the earliest prose stories (besides Frankenstein) in the exploit of the Zombies literary genre, so popular nowadays in the new millenium.

Also, since the character of “Herbert West” is part of the story’s title, I think that he can be easily one of the most known characters of Lovecraft’s work, just behind of the character of “Cthulhu”, that it’s helped too due the loosely based film franchise of Re-Animator.
Profile Image for Peter.
2,491 reviews450 followers
June 21, 2019
First person narrator talks about his time with Dr Herbert West who reanimates dead people. Chapter by chapter he drives his experiments further. Starting with little animals and guinea-pigs he soon turns to human beings. The corpses have to be fresh. Dr West is also working at the front of WW 1. What happens to the reanimated corpses? Are they a threat to anyone? Why is Dr Herbert West missing at some point of the story and no one knows his whereabouts? Absolutely creepy and pageturning story. A real Lovecraft classic. Absolutely nothing for the faint hearted here! Recommended!
Profile Image for Mir.
4,840 reviews5,003 followers
April 17, 2019
This was published as separate stories, I think not all in the same journal, with the result that each chapter is about 50% dull recapitulation of the set-up and previous events. The cheesiness was amusing, though -- and surprising. I had kind of assumed that was added into the movie, but no.
Profile Image for Althea Ann.
2,230 reviews1,003 followers
September 23, 2015
Although presented here as one story, this is actually a series of six linked stories about the mad scientist, Dr. Herbert West. More than anything else by Lovecraft, these feel like true pulp fiction, written for pure shocking entertainment, with a dashed-off, distinctly "non-literary" feel. Originally published as a serial, the magazine that they were written for apparently (and unfortunately) demanded that Lovecraft 're-cap' previous events in each installment, which makes for repetitive, tedious reading when you're not waiting a month between segments.

Once the re-cap bits are dealt with, though, the story itself is great fun. It can be viewed as a parody of or an homage to Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' - but where Dr. Frankenstein was an earnest experimenter, Dr. West is a straight-up psychopath. Each segment tries to outdo the one before with gross and disturbing gory details. [One 'alert' - the third segment clearly reflects what can be most generously interpreted as the narrator's racism, in a way that's a different sort of unpleasant.]

I haven't seen the movie that was based on these stories. Someone told me, back when it was a recent release, that its cheesy schlockiness didn't do Lovecraft justice. But after reading the stories, I actually feel that a schlocky, campy adaptation is appropriate to the source material.
Profile Image for Coos Burton.
753 reviews1,281 followers
December 25, 2015
Esta es, por lejos, una de las historias que más me perturbaron en la vida. Literalmente tuve que apartar el plato de comida durante el almuerzo porque no podía continuar con el mismo mientras leía semejantes asquerosidades. Es sencillamente magnífico, y me da gusto saber que aún sigue causándome la misma repulsión y fascinación que cuando era más pequeña. Recomendadísimo.
Profile Image for Apatt.
507 reviews764 followers
March 2, 2021
I am in the process of writing a review for The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, apparently the most popular Lovecraft anthology. However, as I have just finished reading Herbert West–Reanimator which is a longish short story (AKA novelette) of about 30 pages I thought I would review this separately.

This story is atypical of Lovecraft’s main body of work in several ways, not in tone but in structure and prose style. Lovecraft was commissioned to write a six parts serial for Weird Tales magazine, each part ending with a cliff hanger. HPL hated having to write outside his preferred framework but he had to this one for the money and consequently hated this story with a passion. So much for the quality of labour of love because this is one of his most popular works and it is one of my favorites of his stories. Another divergence from the typical HPL fare is that Herbert West–Reanimator has nothing to do with the Cthulhu mythos, no elder gods and the unmentionable (but frequently mentioned) Necronomicon by the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred here, certain parts of the story are set in the Miskatonic University in Arkham though.
Herbert West–Reanimator is about the eponymous Dr. Herbert West who is obsessed with the idea of defeating death under his theory that life is thoroughly mechanical in nature, there is nothing else beyond it, no soul, no afterlife (but hopefully some form of rock ‘n roll). This being the case West likes to experiment on fresh corpses to try to bring them back to life with their minds intact. I don’t think it will much of a spoiler to say . The more he experiments the more chaotic the results, much hilarity mind-shattering horror ensues.

While I enjoy HPL’s work in general I am not a fan of his prose style. All too often he seems to strive too hard for eloquence and ends up with awfully convoluted almost unreadable sentences that often outstay their welcome. I tend to prefer his shorter works, whereas I struggle to get through his longer works like At the Mountains of Madness and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

This is another unusual aspect of Herbert West–Reanimator, while it is longer than most of his stories, it is written with an economy of word usage I seldom see in his work, the prose here is straightforward, free from artifice and verbiage, he even calls a spade a spade! Consequently, this is one of his very best stories. As mentioned above, the subject matter has nothing to do with the Cthulhu mythos, no Mad Paula Abdul (or whatever his name is) and no Necronomicon, this makes for a nice change of pace.
small cover
This story is pure sci-fi horror (as opposed to his usual cosmic horror), the “sci” part of it is handwavium nonsense but nobody is expecting him to do an Asimov. It will likely remind modern readers of zombie stories and Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, without the subtlety. To quote the AV Club "H.P. Lovecraft wasn’t generally a barrel of laughs", but I did find this story unintentionally hilarious at times. I don't know if anybody will find it scary, but it is vastly entertaining, and I would heartily recommend it to newcomers to HPL and fans of the horror genre.

The cult classic 1985 movie adaptation deserves a mention, as with most adaptations it diverges freely from the source material, especially as it is (very) darkly hilarious, read more about this at the AV Club.
Profile Image for Shannon.
885 reviews221 followers
March 12, 2022
The wonderful audio tale of Herbert West and his obsession with desecrating the dead to discover immortality.

Profile Image for Maliha Tabassum Tisha.
130 reviews311 followers
January 21, 2021
Originally serialized in Home Brew, an amateur humor magazine published by his friend, Lovecraft was required to end each episode on a cliffhanger and begin the next with a recap of the previous. He never merged/ edited the story afterwards, due to which the narrative is too frustrating to read. In addition, the dull humor did nothing but subdue whatever horror the story could possibly generate in the reader.

Overall, a below average read.
Profile Image for Иван Величков.
934 reviews60 followers
September 23, 2021
И двете произведения от тази книжка ги има в "Некрономикон", но както обикновено се случва с разказите, извадени от контекста на въпросният сборник, заживяват съвсем друг живот.
В случая имаме краткия роман "Възкресителят" и разказа "Хърбърт Уест съживителят на мъртви". Съответно обединяващата тематика е вдигането на трупове, като в двете произведения това става по коренно различен начин. Далече са нещата от заомбиапокалипсиса, макар доста хора да твърдят, че Хърбърт Уест е първото произведение в жанра. Не смятам така, даже да не броим самия "Франкенщайн" или "Истината в случая с господин Валдемар", пак ни остава Ищар и нейното:
Ако не отвориш портите да вляза,
Ще смачкам вратата и строша резето,
Ще смачкам рамката и преобърна портите,
Ще вдигна мъртвите и те ще ядат живите:
И мъртвите ще са повече от живите!
Оф, отнесох се...
КАкто и да е, тези два разказа са едни от най-добрите на Лъвкрафт, поне за мен, сигурно заради афинитета ми по темата (ако не си е проличало).
А, илюстрациите ми се сториха по-скоро забавни, от колкото въздействащи, но това не нарушава качеството на изданието.
Profile Image for persephone ☾.
453 reviews1,834 followers
March 24, 2023
i'm one step away from becoming just like herbert west and trying to find the secret of life to reanimate dead people (minus the little hiccups that he had, please.)
Profile Image for Baal Of.
1,194 reviews39 followers
December 12, 2021
Ahhh, Lovecraft, you fucking racist, always having to mar your stories with your nasty judgmental shit. I love the ideas, but hate the way you were mired in your time. Anyway, this one is clearly serialized, since each chapter starts with a recap of what went before, so there is a lot of repetition, But the reason it gets three stars is because it inspired one of my all-time favorite zombie movies. It's got a decapitated zombie that speaks from the head it carries around in a suitcase for fucks sake, which gives it points in my book. And the way West's creatures gather together and collude to rip him apart is fucking awesome, even if it's completely unexplained.

-- reread December 5th, 2021

After the insult filled comment from Dan The Asshole, I took the one potentially valid point he attempted to make and decided to read this story again to consider whether I had maybe over-reacted. Was there any actually racist content in this story, or was I just responding more to Lovecraft's well-known racism in general, and projecting into the story? Here are a few quotes:
He was a loathsome, gorilla-like thing, with abnormally long arms which I could not help calling fore legs, and a face that conjured up thoughts of unspeakable Congo secrets and tom-tom poundings under an eerie moon.

There exists a long history of portraying black people as less than human. This seems like a pretty clear example.
it was wholly unresponsive to every solution we injected in its black arm; solutions prepared from experience with white specimens only.

There is a long-standing racism in medicine in which black people are treated as if they are fundamentally different and don't need the same kind of medical treatment as white people. There is extensive documentation of this fact, and I can't possibly cover all the evidence here, but this quote reflects that entrenched attitude.
but Italian peasants are exceedingly superstitious, and this woman seemed as much harassed by omens as by facts.

Just some mild stereotyping. You know... of the time.
still another, a loathsome African monstrosity

More portrayal as bestial. Yes one could make the argument that this is a description of the revived corpse, not the man, but given the story as a whole, I think it at least reflects some of Lovecraft's racism.

I believe I have shown that comment to be incorrect. Ironically, I think I enjoyed this story more the second time around. I love the core story which takes ideas Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and twists them into some thing much nastier with lots of gruesome violence. Yes, it's pulpy, yeah the writing is kind of overly-dramatic, but I still get enjoyment out of it. The briefcase...
Profile Image for ᴥ Irena ᴥ.
1,649 reviews214 followers
February 6, 2015
Herbert West: Reanimator is told by an unnamed narrator, who became friends with Herbert West while they were both studying medicine at Miskatonic University in Arkham. It consists of six chapters ('From the Dark', 'The Plague-Daemon', 'Six Shots by Midnight', 'The Scream of the Dead', 'The Horror From the Shadows', 'The Tomb-Legions') and repetitions of West's appearance and certain events clearly show that it was written in instalments. That and the chapter cliffhangers make this story a bit annoying to read.

Still, each chapter show the obsession that was the driving force of West's life and his following degradation. It is a morbid, even cautionary, story of an obsessed scientist's quest to beat the laws of nature, of death and life. From experimenting on animals to body-snatching to finally obtaining a truly fresh specimen, West was determined to reanimate the corpses he got. And the narrator was there from the beginning to the end.
'Briefly and brutally stated, West's sole absorbing interest was a secret study of the phenomena of life and its cessation, leading toward the reanimation of the dead through injections of an excitant solution.'
While West is an obsessed lunatic, the narrator doesn’t even have that to justify his actions. He started being afraid of West much later. For years he helped him get whatever he needed for his experiments.
Profile Image for Brian .
414 reviews5 followers
July 27, 2017
Four stars until the end, now five.

I wonder if SK found partial inspiration for "Revival" from this short story.

A scientist becomes obsessed with reanimating life. The beginning reminded me of the movie "Flatliners," which I loved. Lovecraft began the story in a medical college, and the two did experiments attempting to reanimate the dead.

Herbert West, the narrator's comrade, increases in obsession over years, taking his obsession for dead bodies and parts for his experiments to joining the war effort, with alternative motives.

The story has a fantastic ending, in my opinion.
Profile Image for Juho Pohjalainen.
Author 5 books248 followers
September 30, 2020
The serialization of this story does it a disservice. Lovecraft's forced to come up with artificial tension and highs and lows in between, and isn't allowed to take his time and build it up properly. He even ends up giving up an otherwise very nice final twist well in advance, trying to squeeze the same climax twice over, which simply doesn't work.

But he could have pulled it off way worse, and the atmosphere is as gloomy as his work always is.
Profile Image for Estelle.
168 reviews97 followers
October 19, 2015
One of the most accessible and straight-forward horror short stories by Lovecraft. A good place to start for those who want to try this author.
Great audiobook narrator on Librivox.

One thing tho, this story was originally serialised in some publication which is why each chapter/part includes some kind of recap and might feel repetitive if you read the whole thing in one sitting.
Profile Image for Pedro Ceballos.
287 reviews25 followers
March 1, 2023
Puedo decir que es una de las historias que más me ha gustado de Lovecraft, ya que se encuentra centrada en lo terrenal, lo palpable, lo creíble, lo verdaderamente terrorífico... Creo que tiene una buena idea central, sin embargo, siendo un historia corta carece de una estructuración de los personajes para mejor entendimiento de su perfil psicológico.
Creo que toma algunos elementos de la historia de Frankstein pero lo lleva a un extremo más oscuro y menos sentimental, en el cual los resucitados retornan para matar.
Profile Image for Dan.
431 reviews33 followers
October 27, 2021
I hate to give a Lovecraft story two stars, but this one just didn't do it for me. It was written in six installments. It's too bad the six stories were all brought together as one, wholesale, and presented to readers that way. Each began with a summary of preceding events and ended on a cliffhanger. This is so not Lovecraft's style. I have no doubt that before presenting this story entire Lovecraft would have edited out the repetitions to make a smoother story. But I imagine Lovecraft didn't touch this because he was hoping it might be buried and never see the light of day again.

The repetitions and cliffhangers are not why I didn't like the story. I actually don't mind a recap in the middle of a story, and having to end on a cliffhanger guaranteed at least five high points of interest during what proved to be an otherwise dull read.

Wikipedia says this was Lovecraft's parody of Shelly's Frankenstein. That's inaccurate. A parody makes fun of something, in a way belittles it even though the writer of the parody may love the story. Parodies can be a lot of fun. Rocky Horror Picture Show is the best example of a Frankenstein parody that comes to mind.

No; this story is an homage to Frankenstein. It's a tribute, a very polished one in terms of writing craft. Lovecraft portrays the re-animating of dead flesh in a more convincing way on a better scientific basis than Shelly did. This is easier to do for Lovecraft. He's writing 100 years later, after science made advances in chemistry (embalming fluid, etc.) during the intervening century between the stories. Of course we are now a century after Lovecraft; his science seems as silly to us now as Mary Shelly's must have to Lovecraft at the time.

My basic problem with Lovecraft's version of the story is that he centers it more on the creation of the monster and the creator than Shelly did. Shelly was more interested in the result, the monster created. Shelly, not Lovecraft, was right on what the story's interest and therefore focus should be, I think.

Maybe that isn't really my problem though. There's another key difference between these two versions of the story. Shelly was deeply passionate about her subject matter, completely emotionally involved in what she was writing about. Her heart and soul went into the writing of her masterpiece. This isn't Lovecraft's masterpiece. It's something he took as an assignment to write near the beginning of his career in order to make a little money, very little, even for those times. Maybe Lovecraft thought he could do more with the idea, but found as he was writing it he couldn't. That happens; I'm sure.

I forgive Lovecraft this story and am looking forward to all the good Lovecraft stories we get to read after this, out to the end of our program.
Profile Image for Elena Rodríguez.
524 reviews240 followers
November 16, 2019
Herbest West: Reanimator, es el primer relato que leo de H.P Lovecraft. A decir verdad, siempre he sido muy fan de los relatos de Edgard Allan Poe y cuando lo comentaba, me decían que si no conocía a Lovecraft le debía darle una oportunidad. Además, estaba el hecho de que está considerado como uno de los grandes autores de terror del siglo XIX.
Por este motivo decidí coger un relato que a simple vista me llamó mucho la atención.
En él se nos narra la historia de dos compañeros de la escuela de medicina que deciden experimentar con cadáveres para así poder devolverlos a la vida y burlar de esta manera a la muerte.
El relato está dividido en 6 capítulos. Al comenzar cada uno, el narrador te contaba lo sucedido en el capítulo anterior, como si no lo recordases. Pensé que era un poco repetitivo, pero luego me acorde de que en el siglo XIX muchas novelas eran publicadas por capítulos en los llamados folletines. Si no te habías comprado el folletín anterior. No pasaba nada, el propio narrador te contaba la historia anterior.( Igual se trataba de eso, no lo sé a ciencia cierta).
A decir verdad, en cuanto a la historia se refiere, el relato es bastante interesante y macabro. Lo que llegaban a realizar estos dos médicos llegó incluso a rozar lo ético. Por otro lado, lo que más me sorprendió fue descubrir lo racista que era Lovecraft, pues en un momento dado, cuando se encuentran con un personaje negro lo único que dice el narrador fue: “ era un ser repugnante, con pinta de gorila, unos brazos anormalmente largos, que me parecían de manera inevitable patas anteriores y una cara que irremediablemente hacía pensar que los secretos insondables del Congo y las llamadas del tam-tam bajo una luna misteriosa.” sinceramente me dejó muy descolocada. Muchos dicen que se debía a la época, otros dicen que, al contrario, no tenía nada que ver. Yo, desde mi punto de vista no sé qué pensar al respecto. Lo único que sé a ciencia cierta es que a pesar de todo me ha gustado su prosa, y su imaginación para crear estas historias, sobretodo en la época en la que escribió, durante la cual más de una de sus historias debieron de parecer bastante terroríficas a los lectores.
Profile Image for Katy.
1,293 reviews284 followers
August 23, 2012
Note: This story is part of The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft, made available in ebook format at CthulhuChick.com.

Synopsis: The narrator tells the story, in multiple vignettes, of Herbert West's obsessive quest to reanimate the recently dead.

My Thoughts: When I lived in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, my husband at the time and I developed an obsession with B-movies of all ilk, watching them for hours. Among those we particularly enjoyed were the "Reanimator" series of films, based upon this short story.

The story provides a low-level, steady progression of horror as the narrator watches Herbert West devolve into madness. Lovecraft writes using beautiful, lyrical language - linguists will find reading these stories riveting and enjoy the mental stimulation of the lovely words.

If you enjoyed the movies, if you enjoy stories of the weird and esoteric, and if you enjoy highly creepy tales, then don't miss this wonderful short story.
Profile Image for Paula Mota.
925 reviews274 followers
October 25, 2019
Herbert West - 3*
Celephais - 2*
A Oliveira - 2*

Só a história que dá título a esta pequena compilação é realmente interessante, a fazer lembrar "Frankenstein" de Mary Shelley, só que é extremamente repetitiva e ainda tem a pérola do "preto retinto" que parece um gorila e come criancinhas. Já sabia que o Lovecraft não era a pessoa mais tolerante do mundo, mas dispensava isto no meu primeiro encontro com o escritor.
Profile Image for Michael Sorbello.
Author 1 book234 followers
June 7, 2019
Has all the essential elements of a good Hammer Film Productions piece. It’s gritty and gross, cheesy yet fun and verbose. Feels like a skeletal frame of Frankenstein, just not nearly as long and emotionally complex. Frankenstein is the better book in my opinion, but I gotta give Lovecraft credit for whipping up something that’s pretty damn morbid.
Profile Image for Jody Taylor.
2 reviews
August 31, 2013
Very funny, by classic Poe-type author. Concise and much easier to read than a lot of Lovecraft's works. Fans of the movie should check this out, as the plot differs quite a bit. My favorite phrase is "corpse of a doubtful vintage". Hilarious.
Profile Image for Mariano Hortal.
717 reviews175 followers
February 28, 2014
Publicado en http://lecturaylocura.com/el-resucita...

No deja de ser curioso que conociera la obra “Herbert West: Reanimator” de Lovecraft a través de su adaptación al cine “Re-Animator” dirigida por Stuart Gordon; habida cuenta de que conozco la mayoría de las obras del norteamericano a través de diferentes ediciones de todo tipo y que, sin embargo, no tenía recuerdo consciente de haber leído esta. La película, encomiable en su realización, es deliciosamente trash y hay que reconocer que es una adaptación más que aceptable del universo lovecraftiano, muy disfrutable para todos los amantes del terror.
Esta historia tuvo una génesis muy particular y distinta a las otras obras del escritor: fue publicada por entregas en la revista “Home Brew” en el período comprendido entre octubre de 1921 y Junio de 1922; él manifestó a través de sus cartas que quería hacer una parodia del “Frankenstein” de Mary Shelley y no quedó muy satisfecho del resultado ya que se vio obligado a adaptarse al tipo de entrega, jugando con medios no muy comunes para él, como el uso del cliffhanger entre una entrega y la siguiente.
El narrador en primera persona, del que no sabemos el nombre en ningún momento, ayuda al profesor Herbert West, modelo típico de “mad doctor”, en su obsesión por devolver a la vida a las muertos, por sobrepasar los límites de lo vivido:
“West era entonces un joven con gafas, de baja estatura, esbelto, y con rasgos delicados, rubio, los ojos de color azul pálido y una voz suave, así que resultaba siniestro oírlo sopesar los méritos relativos del Cementerio Cristiano y las fosas comunes. Al final optamos por las fosas comunes, ya que prácticamente todos los cuerpos del Cementerio Cristiano estaban embalsamados, algo que por supuesto constituía una adversidad para las investigaciones de West.”
Los primeros intentos de resucitar a los muertos resultan fallidos, trayendo a la vida horrores que les aterrorizan a ellos y a nosotros como lectores, ya que lo que vuelve a la vida puede ser muy peligroso, nos envuelve en incertidumbre el hecho de la resurrección de los muertos; sorprende que en esos momentos el humor negro aflore:
“Tanto para Herbert West como para mí, el disgusto y el horror fueron supremos. Incluso ahora siento escalofríos de sólo pensar en ello. Aunque, por supuesto, me estremecí mucho más aquella mañana en que West mascullo entre sus vendajes: “¡Maldita sea, tampoco estaba lo bastante fresco!”
Sin título-1En este libro se producen unas de las primeras apariciones literarias de los muertos vivientes; en el caso del nihilista Lovecraft se convierte en su repuesta descreída a la fe; la respuesta atea que desafía la resurrección cristiana convirtiendo al hombre en dador de vida, en un “Dios”:
“Lo que buscaba era, nada más y nada menos, que un abundante suministro de hombres recién asesinados en todos los posibles estados de desmembramiento.
Herbert West necesitaba cadáveres frescos porque el trabajo de su vida era la resurrección de los muertos.”
El formato por entregas no benefició a Lovecraft, encorsetó su estilo y le obligó a repetir en cada entrega parte de lo que había sucedido en la anterior; aun así, el final, digno de una pesadilla, nos congratula y consigue que disfrutemos de la fuerza de la prosa del gran escritor (cada vez más venerado) de terror.
El terror actual no sería lo mismo sin la influencia subyugadora de Lovecraft, creador de una mitología fascinante que aviva cada día nuestros miedos más profundos. Nuestros miedos ante lo desconocido e incognoscible.
Los textos provienen de la traducción del inlés de Juan Cárdenas para “El resucitador” de H. P. Lovecraft para esta edición en Periférica.
Profile Image for Audrey.
328 reviews36 followers
September 1, 2013
This is my first HP Lovecraft. I have a slight fixation on Jeffrey Combs which inevitably led me to watching Stuart Gordon's Reanimator as well as some of Combs's other Lovecraft-based films, most of which didn't really convince me to read Lovecraft ("body horror"; required scene of a monster groping naked and screaming Barbara Crampton). I had been warned by a friend beforehand that the film is quite different from the short story. I can't say I approached this warning with much trepidation as though I enjoyed the campy gorefest of a film, I was not sure if I would have liked reading such a depiction. However, Jeffrey Combs read the story. OF COURSE I WOULD LIKE IT. He vocalizes dread, horror, and fear in such an effective way, in my humble opinion. Even without my bias, he did an excellent reading. I wish he was hired more for audiobook readings. DO IT, PEOPLE. I WILL GIVE YOU MY MONEY.

Story-wise, I actually liked the story better than the film. It reminded me a lot of Gaston Laroux's Phantom of the Opera, in both feel and narrative style. Pulp gothic horror. I'll have to re-read this story again in text form without Mr. Combs clouding my judgement. Um, after I listen to the audiobook again. Which I will be doing... right now.
Profile Image for Marina.
645 reviews158 followers
November 1, 2019
Una grossa delusione. I racconti sarebbero anche belli e "orrorifici" al punto giusto, se non fosse che ciascuno di essi ricapitola brevemente ciò che è successo nei racconti precedenti... Così che l'ultimo racconto finisce per essere per una buona metà un riassunto dei 5 racconti precedenti. Insomma, ogni racconto contiene un riassunto e un paio di paginette di storia originale. Alla fine dunque si sbadiglia della grossa.
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