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Herbert West: Reanimator [short story] (1922)

by H. P. Lovecraft

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1737158,429 (3.82)1 / 6
Fiction. Horror. HTML:

"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.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This was a fun collection, with a few different stories. All fit well with the standard, mostly-off-stage horror that is threaded through all of Lovecraft's stories. But then, just when you think you've got the pattern down, you get a curveball tossed at you in the last story, a full-on SF story with nary an unspeakable horror in sight.

Really good collection. With only three more to go in this mostly excellent collection, I'm going to be sad to see the end. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
Back in Arkham. What we would today call a retelling of Frankenstein. I was actually on the edge of my seat toward the end, but the gratuitous hatred of black people right smack in the middle gives the whole thing a big black eye. I did not love the introduction of the unreliable narrator trope either. (I should mention that this one is novelette length; it was originally released as a magazine serial and there is a brief recap of the previous events at the beginning of each new section; I found it interesting to watch the narrator evolving events in his mind each time. That's how I took it, anyway.) Oh, and I almost forgot: ICK!

(Moved 2015 review to the individual work Sept. 2017 to make room to review the collection under its own entry.) ( )
  amyotheramy | May 11, 2021 |
I still think Lovecraft was a hack. "It was too horrible to describe" does not belong in a work of fiction. If you can't describe it to your reader, maybe you should take your cosmic horror down a notch or two.

His stories are always filled with nihilistic people and places, which is one of the things I like. OTOH, his characters are also stereotypes right down to the end.

Lovecraft's real work of art is his universe of strange gods, half human worshipers and the creeping fear that the whole world evoked. That's why his work lives on and expands so well. ( )
  rabbit-stew | Nov 15, 2020 |
Highly enjoyable read, like a slightly more modern telling of Frankenstein. ( )
  Conor.Murphy | May 27, 2020 |
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.
( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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Fiction. Horror. HTML:

"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.

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