Hi all -- I'm new to the forum, but have been listening to the show for a long time. For some reason, I feel compelled to actually chime in on this one.
When I was a teen, discovering horror-comedy was a big part of my "artistic awakening," if you will: the awareness that there was a creative world out there beyond "Independence Day" or whatever else the major studios were churning out. Probably not coincidentally, I discovered "Re-Animator" about the same time that I discovered MST3K and books by Vonnegut and Douglas Adams. A lot of us are probably in the same boat.
When I first watched "Evil Dead" and "Evil Dead 2," it was like the scales had been lifted from my eyes; I wanted to experience everything new and different that was part of this exciting world, and "Re-Animator," along with "Dead Alive" and "Return of the Living Dead" and John Carpenter's stuff and the 80s slasher stuff felt so important because it was dealing with content that, due partially to a fairly Catholic upbringing, would have been considered somewhat taboo, in a playful but not dismissive way.
But here's the thing: although "Re-Animator" is fun, it doesn't feel, at the root, nerve-ending level, like it was transformative for me and my friends in the same way that the first two "Evil Dead " movies were (or, for that matter, "Halloween," or "The Shining"). It's an Also-Ran. Don't get me wrong: it's great fun. It just doesn't seem, when it comes down to it, like a Canon-worthy film.
I won't get all Film Theory on you here, but as a minor example of what I mean, I believe strongly that every choice made by the filmmaker(s) must be made to fulfill a specific purpose. In keeping this in mind, I want to direct your attention to the opening credits sequence: a song that is essentially the theme to "Psycho" plays over a credits sequence that is essentially the opening credits to "Vertigo," declaring proudly that the source material is originally from H.P. Lovecraft... but none of this ever pays off. It doesn't serve any purpose. I mean, sure: it's cool that the filmmakers found an interesting way to tip their caps toward Hitchcock's masterpieces... but it serves no purpose in creating meaning or developing theme in the film. It's just cool nod -- an "easter egg," almost -- to the filmmakers' inspirations. I mean, that's fine, but if a film is going to be considered for The Canon, shouldn't its artistic choices add up to something more than empty allusion?