An interview with Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon

Re-Animator Head

Re-Animator: The Musical
lives again in Hollywood!

The first theatrical movie Stuart Gordon directed, he also co-wrote. That movie was Re-Animator in 1985, followed the next year with From Beyond. Those two movies would be enough to make Gordon a permanent horror luminary, but he’s continued to make some dynamite movies as a director — Dolls, The Pit & the Pendulum, Dagon.

The latter marked a return to the source material for Re-Animator & From Beyond, legendary horror author H.P. Lovecraft.

It is unlikely old H.P. ever thought one of his stories would wind up as a stage musical, but that is just what has happened. Theatre & horror fans can see this restaging of the successful show when it starts previews October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, running till November 2.

Graham Skipper reprises his role as Herbert West and Jesse Merlin is again playing Dr. Carl Hill. There are several new cast members and even some new songs.

Jerry Eberts had a chance to speak with director Stuart Gordon recently.

HMPod: How did Re-Animator ever become a musical?

Gordon: It took about three years to write it. I worked with the very talented composer Mark Nutter. It’s almost an operetta, practically the entire show is sung. And the music is really funny.

HMPod: What was your process for making a musical from a distinctly unmusical movie?

Gordon: We used the screenplay to start and I think fans of the movie will find most of their favourite scenes are there. The idea was to tell the story of the movie on stage, but of course it had to be changed a bit.

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HMPod: How has the show been received?

Gordon: It’s been well received. The play was originally staged in 2011. It toured a bit, went to New York in July 2012 and we also took it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2012.

HMPod: Any chance of seeing Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West?

Gordon: I talked to Jeffrey about it, but he’s in his 50s now and we needed a young kid to do it. Luckily, we found Graham Skipper, who is great as Herbert West.

HMPod: Do you have plans to do anything beyond the upcoming run at the Steve Allen Theater?

Gordon: We’re doing four weeks over Halloween. People outside of Los Angeles might get a chance to see it — but there are no plans right now to tour again as we did in 2012.

HMPod: Though your movie Robot Jox (1989) was not well-received, it was a lot of fun. You worked with science-fiction writer Joe Haldeman on that.

Gordon: I did. We became friends working on that movie. We based the idea on the Transformer toys, but Robot Jox continues to influence other movies. I think Pacific Rim owes a little to our movie.

HMPod: Can your fans expect another horror movie in the near future?

Gordon: Nothing specific. At the moment I’m looking for financing for various projects. That’s what I spend a lot of my time doing — looking for financing.