Stuart Gordon, Cult Horror Director of ‘Re-Animator,’ Dies at 72
The horror film world has lost a legend. Stuart Gordon, the director of numerous cult classics including Re-Animator, has died. His family confirmed the news with Variety. A cause of death was not announced. Gordon was 72 years old.
He was born in Chicago in 1947, and went to school at the University of Wisconsin, where he got deeply involved in theater. He founded theater companies, directed plays, and continued working on stage productions throughout his life. But Gordon is best known for his work as a horror filmmaker. His feature directorial debut, 1985’s Re-Animator, based on an H.P. Lovecraft story and starring Jeffrey Combs, remains one of its era’s most beloved indie horror films thanks to its disturbing practical effects and dark humor.
Gordon and his Re-Animator collaborator Brian Yuzna reteamed on numerous other projects, including From Beyond, which is even stranger than Re-Animator if that is possible.
Other Gordon productions include several episodes of the Masters of Horror anthology series, Space Truckers, and Castle Freak. One of the more surprising aspects of his career was his key role creating the children’s film series Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Gordon and Yuzna co-created the concept, and received story credit on the first film. Their initial concept was — not surprisingly given their talents — a much darker take than the version Disney ultimately made. But even the finished movie shows hints of their nightmarish vision, with a bunch of shrunken teenagers trying to survive a journey through a suburban backyard, where they encounter giant ants, scorpions, and bees. It’s about as freaky a kids movie as Disney has ever made. (I rewatched the original Honey recently as part of an article on its spinoff theme-park attraction, Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, which I genuinely believe is one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen.)
72 is not that old. It feels like we have lost a talent who should have been with us much longer, making many more surreal horror films. For those who are interested in a tribute screening, Re-Animator is currently available on Showtime and Showtime Anytime.
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