AWESOME-tober-fest 2013: Herbert West – Reanimator by HP Lovecraft (1922)

Awesometoberfest banner

Today I’m going to look at a short story by one of horror’s most celebrated writers, HP Lovecraft. I’ve not really read any of his stuff before, so I thought this would be as good a chance as any to rectify the situation. I found a collection of his stories on last year. That collection is called The Road to Madness: The Transition of HP Lovecraft.

The collection includes Lovecraft’s novella At the Mountains of Madness which Guillermo Del Toro has been trying to set up as a film adaptation for many years.  But the story I was actually looking for was Herbert West – Reanimator.  It was this short story on which the classic 1985 horror film The Re-animator starring Jeffrey Combs is based.

I, for one, love that cheesy horror film from 1985.  So, I thought that since I was doing zombies for my Halloween theme, I’d not only revisit the awesome Re-animator movie but I’d also read and review the original Lovecraft short story.

And now I’ve read it.  To be honest, the story isn’t the best.  It’s not terrible, it’s just sort of fast paced and feels more like an outline of a larger story.  The short story is broken up into 4 parts.  While reading, it really felt like Lovecraft was repeating himself across the four parts as he continually describes Herbert West’s looks (slight in build, glasses, blond hair) and the events of the previous part of the story.  In action that only takes place in about 50 pages, it gets a little annoying.  I assumed while reading that this must have been originally serialized in a magazine and Lovecraft was just “refreshing” the reader’s memory from last time.  And after some research I see that I’m right.  The story was originally published in four parts in the amateur magazine Home Brew in 1922.


The story is very clearly based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. A brilliant but single-minded and unorthodox scientist, Herbert West, conducts arcane and taboo experiments on human bodies trying to reanimate dead tissue.  The story is told by a narrator who has been Herbert West’s assistant/apprentice for many years.  It starts off with experiments while the youths are in medical school and each part tells a different time in their lives when they begin their experiments anew.  The story is told by the assistant from some unknown time in the future as he’s looking back on the events which led to Dr Herbert West’s disappearance.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked the story, I guess.  There is potential there and this story is much more serious in tone and dark in nature than the movie which infuses lots of humor into the story.  I guess, for better or for worse, that I just know the Re-Animator movie so well that the original story just seems odd to me.

2012 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.


12 Responses to “AWESOME-tober-fest 2013: Herbert West – Reanimator by HP Lovecraft (1922)”

  1. Yeah, Lovecraft is a strange bug. I love a lot of his stories, but they’re a bit to wrap your head around sometimes. When he was on his game he really had a knack for attempting to describe the un-describable if that makes any sense. I just rented From Beyond, the other Stuart Gordon Lovecraft adaptation, can’t wait to see it.

    Have you seen Bride of Re-Animator? Totally batshit crazy flick that in ways tops the original…

  2. I love how HP Lovecraft’s stories were being serialized in “Home Brew” magazine, with a smiling sun adorning the cover. I can only imagine loads of disappointed housewives sitting at home reading it and scratching their heads. Then reaching for a mid-day beer.

  3. Herbert West – Reanimator is a poor place to start w/Lovecraft – he himself didn’t like it very much, and it was written as a cheap, gory parody for some badly needed cash. I hope you get a taste of some of his better work!

  4. Hello friend,

    As promised, HTC is finally making it possible for owners of its U11 smartphone to install Amazon’s

    Be well, Doug Salter

  5. Greetings!

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — When California lawmakers backed a landmark law that seeks to combat global

    Wishes, Gail Ogle

  6. Hey!

    The latest product from augmented reality startup Blippar has a simple, if somewhat unnerving,

    Warmest regards, Elisa Bass

  7. Greetings,

    Just take a quick look at my favorite stuff, you’re going to love it! More here

    Warmest, Barry Fay

  8. Hi,

    Have you heard the latest news? I’m simply shocked! Here is the info

    Janice Bradley

  9. Hello,

    I needed to ask you if you know anything about that stuff? If that’s happening now, what’s going to be next? Take a look

    Best, Salvador Ivy

  10. Hi!

    We’ve visited that nice place a few days ago, we’ve put in such a great time there, take a peek

    Yours, Juan Messer

  11. Hello!

    I’ve run into an interesting little bit of information, just take a look at it here

    Looking forward, Maggie Lambert

  12. Hello!

    I just wished to share some of my thoughts along, please read them here

    Typos courtesy of my iPhone, Joel Brantley

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: