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Did Herbert West kill the Cat?

Did Herbert West kill the Cat in The Re-Animator?  

62 members have voted

  1. 1. Did Herbert West kill the Cat in The Re-Animator?

    • Yes, he's a sociopath.
      42
    • No, he's a refined scientist who understands the difference between workplace and home.
      20


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West killed the cat and he's probably killed before. Guy just kills people who get in the way of his experiment. Then he probably rationalizes that he's trying to save lives in the end or whatever

 

But I've never read the short story so maybe I'm wrong

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100% he killed the cat. Megan should have left Dan right then and there when he didn't believe her.

 

Daniel..... the TRUE monster of RE-ANIMATOR? I'd posit a solid MAYBE.....

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I was originally a yes but now it's unclear to me. His story for how the cat died is comically ridiculous, but the fact that he never kills a single person makes me think he's not a killer. I'm a maybe.

 

Actually the more I think bout how unclear this is the more I think it's a significant flaw.

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His story for how the cat died is comically ridiculous...

 

Cats get their heads stuck in things all the time. I wouldn't put his explanation out of the realm of possibility.

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It's possible, but I don't find it particularly likely. I've had cats all my life and I've never even heard of someone's cat dying that way.

 

If you found your cat dead in your creepy roommates mini-fridge and that was his explanation you would never believe him. I mean maybe, MAYBE he's telling the truth, but you'd be a fool to not move out ASAP.

 

But within the world of Re-Animator it's one of the more normal things to happen so that's why I think it's unclear.

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Everyone keeps saying that he never kills anyone, but I feel like we're forgetting a very important shovel beheading?

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Everyone keeps saying that he never kills anyone, but I feel like we're forgetting a very important shovel beheading?

Yeah but he's a badddiee

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West seems exactly like the kind of person who would think so little of a pet cat that killing it for science wouldn't bother him in the least.

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West killed the cat and he's probably killed before. Guy just kills people who get in the way of his experiment. Then he probably rationalizes that he's trying to save lives in the end or whatever

 

But I've never read the short story so maybe I'm wrong

 

I just finished the short story. This episode gave me an appetite for Lovecraft. In the story it's pretty clear West is willing to murder purely for his experiments. Whether he's murdering people's pets in the story is pretty ambiguous. The one line that mentions animal experiments is "n his experiments with various animating solutions he had killed and treated immense numbers of rabbits, guinea-pigs, cats, dogs, and monkeys, till he had become the prime nuisance of the college." His being a "nuisance" might just mean he's using up all the medical school's experimental animals. A few lines later, regarding human subjects for experimentation, it says, " It was here that he first came into conflict with the college authorities..." The story is also from pre-animal rights, so we're not impassioned about vivisection and other cruel experiments yet, and Lovecraft was sort of a neckbeard for the period when the chain of being, the hierarchy of types of life, was a big thing. It's unclear if medical authorities of that time in a Lovecraft story would be stepping in for dogs and cats.

 

It's also important to remember that the story isn't he movie. The movie is set in modern times rather than in the period the story is set in, which is around the first world war. Killing small animals has much more of a serial killer vibe to it in modern times because our research on serial killers, which may or may not have been made then, or a satanic vibe (satanic panic just happened?), and whatever animal rights notions have filtered into the general consciousness from the 1970s also apply. I also think the delivery of the line coupled with West's multiple protests about people being in his space suggest that he probably did it. Edit: And, of course, him being about to blackmail Dan a few seconds later, as Jimmy Mecks pointed out below me. The degree ambiguity, in my opinion, is just there to give you enough room to like the character later by making his pet-murder not so visceral. You can't cheer for him at the end if you watched him break a cat's neck.

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I thought it was pretty clear that he killed the cat when he was after being confronted he was ready to blackmail Dan with his relationship. He had it all thought out and the fact that he's been experimenting on dogs, cats, birds and other animals before make me think he's not so attached to animal life.

 

And there's NO justification for him beheading Dr. Hill where you can say "West isn't a murderer."

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Although it's possible that the cat died randomly and certain that Herbert would use that dead cat if he found it, there's no doubt in my mind that he'd kill a cat in a second for his ends. I think you could argue that he has empathy of Dean, at least by the end, but I don't think that empathy would stand in the way of his ambitions. So I can't iamgine him keeping the cat alive for his sake.

 

As to whether he has empathy for Rufus himself, Herbert's cackling starting at the cat after Dean re-kills it. As A House Plant said above, it's abiguous for the fun, and because the movie walks a fine line to allow the audience to enjoy Herbert when they're supposed to and to be shocked by him when his ethics are on display. If we knew he killed the cat it would be much harder to enjoy him, but that isn't to say he isn't a monster. He's just a great monster.

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Were this the short story Herbert West I feel there would be debate here. West's willingness to kill for his science is an important point in the story. He crosses that line several chapters in and the narrator notes the moment he realizes that West has finally crossed a point of no return. Unfortunately, Jeffrey Combs does not seem like a person who wouldn't cross a line until he goes mad with curiosity. He seems like a creepy, horrible, "will do anything for his science" asshole.

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He did not kill the cat. West is not evil, he is egotistical. He also never lies in the movie, so having him lie at this one point, but never again, and never get called on it, makes no sense.

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the fact that he never kills a single person makes me think he's not a killer. I'm a maybe.

 

He 100% kills Dr. Hill by cutting his head off with a shovel. Why is everyone forgetting that?

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He 100% kills Dr. Hill by cutting his head off with a shovel. Why is everyone forgetting that?

 

Oh sure. Someone mentioned that way back in July. I think it was mentioned on the episode that he never killed anyone, and I just never double-checked.

 

My original assumption was definitely that he killed the cat.

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