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I didn't go to college. Well, that's not entirely true--I was enrolled in junior college for a few years, and while I made lifelong friends, I didn't leave with any worthwhile academic status enhancement. Though to be fair, I worked in retail and smoked a lot of tree at the time, so my brain was usually a firm pile of mush. Mostly, I remember half-assed Poli Sci debates and Plato-centric philosophy, both of which you will now find on the internet in bulk whether you want to or not. When I think about it, what I really missed out on was the "college experience". By that, I mean things like dorms, those creepy clubs with Greek letters, a diploma, and life-changing drunken parties. What’s possibly more disappointing is that if I stuck around, I could have brought the dead back to life, according to Reanimator Academy.
While his frat-mates get drunk in the room next door, medical student Edgar Allan Lovecraft can be found with some chemicals and spare human body parts. He is working on a Reanimation serum, a fluid that awakens deceased flesh. One party, after talking to himself and mixing colorful liquids together, he finds success. With his formula he is able to bring a severed head to a wise-cracking state and not long after, revives a recently departed classmate. Soon after these triumphs, he is approached by a pair of mobsters who have just murdered an employee and would like to enlist his medical services. This leads to a series of (borrowed) misadventures and more frugal chemistry. 
Between the name and its introduction of a lab coat/glasses character with a pension for green slime, it could be guessed that on some level, Reanimator Academy is meant to be a play on the 1985 Re-Animator film. This is true. Some of the offset basics are taken straight from the story. However, if you are rightfully inclined to believe that a parody of Stuart Gordon's horror-comedy is wholly unnecessary, you are in luck, because it loses the point pretty early on. The film instead accomplishes being more enjoyable than it has any right to be (or I could convince anyone of). After introducing Edgar and his Reanimation Serum, it rolls off into a homemade presentation of various loving cinematic tropes played for laughs. Directionless but straightforward enough not to care, the plot is not a hefty serving, and what is there is chiefly taken from other works. There are surface-level links to H.P. Lovecraft, as well as other science fiction/horror influences. Surrounding the genre jabs are some shoe-string college cliches which mimic the average frat boy 80s sex comedy, sans any on-screen sleaze. There are also LoonyToons style mobsters, whose duologue is made up of strangely wholesome gags. Despite  technically being  pimps in the 90s, they dress and talk like 50s gangsters. It's like someone's dad (not mine, but someone's father) wrote their jokes, but they have good timing, and the classic routine got a few chuckles out of me. Another of the more functional yucksters in the film is the severed head Ed, Edgar's first successful patient. The one-eyed zombie-dome delivers his lines in the style of a stand-up comic from a time when Jerry Seinfeld was still funny, only he can't stand up (get it?..he would appreciate it).  After it gets moving along, the plot takes chunks out of Frankenhooker's playbook, only with a little extra sexism. The most significant new element is the "shrew" syndrome, an effect on female patients that makes them grumpy when brought back from the dead. I had to look up shrew to make sure I remembered the definition of the dated term when referring to women and not the cute mole-thing. Honestly, I don't know what that's all about. It’s like something a drunk old man would come up with while wearing a "Big Johnson" t-shirt. Anyway, the condition is solved with another serum--an anti-shrew formula, which plays a big role in the plot, but not in a way that justifies how stupid that is. I'm just going to chalk that up to some kind of college humor I don't get. Plus, the movie is too goofy to take anything seriously. Besides that, the bulk of the film is a silly, enthusiastic, oversized skit written with a juvenile but endearing fan spirit.
Like a birthday video tape mixed with a student film, the movie’s technical aspects are cheap and amateur with a few surprises. Its picture quality is complete shit. Maybe that is just my copy, but I'm guessing it was less than stellar when it first popped out of the camcorder. The camera work, on the other hand, is well done. There are good angles, including some allusions to the more classic source material. This stylization also comes into play for comedic effect, as it effectively squeezes every ounce out of its corny gags with some cartoon-esque composition. Since it's a willfully dumb movie and looks like it was recorded on the same camera as my debut in the Nutcracker's elementary rendition, I wasn't expecting much from the practical effects. To that end, some things in the film matched my preconceived notions; at one point, a mannequin is clearly playing stunt double for a dead body. However, there are some arts and crafts that surpass the humble presentation. The most noteworthy is Ed the Head. It's not realistic, but instead a fun piece of sculpted rubber that would pass on a weekly TV show from the same era. Ed's dubbing is pretty on-point as well, and since his jokes land more than anyone else’s--really, the one-eyed puppet is the best part of the whole film. For its sets, the movie oscillates between plain suburban houses and public streets. You can see random unknowing citizens in the background during shots, which only makes things better. From what I can tell, the synth score is entirely original, as It sounds like someone made it with equipment at a public high school. It matches up with what's on screen and is compatible with the mood of the film, even though leveling is off at times. 
I don't have too much info on the real-life people behind Reanimator Academy. The director Judith Priest is using an obvious pseudonym. This name, and a good amount of the actors, only grace the credits of this one film as far as I can tell. What I do know is that it's produced in some fashion by David DeCoteau. This involvement is similar to other shot-on-tape goofiness like Bimbos B.C. (1990) and Ghoul School (1990), which probably helped with distribution. The project seems to be connected directly to another low-budget affair produced by DeCoteau, Redneck County Fever (1992), as several players show up in both. This includes JP Black, who provides cinematography for the productions.  The co-writer and actor playing "Bruno," Benton Jennings has had a shit-load of television roles since, but this movie marks his only writing credit. Connie Speer, who plays "Hot Lips," appeared in 1985s The Nail Gun Massacre and produced the Bret McCormick flick Armed for Action (1992). Here she brings a notable amount of personality to the screen, essentially playing two roles. Mystro Greg Synodis brings us all the sweet background music. He also happened to direct both Ice Ice Baby and Play That Funky Music for Vanilla Ice, so that's cool.
Reanimator Academy is shot-on-video parody with more imagination and gusto than resources or sense. It's one for the less critical crowd. I can't see a regular slapstick comedy fan making it very far into the flick, and since it's lacking in explicit content, it might also leave the low-budget horror crowd unfulfilled. That being said, it's more watchable than I could have guessed if someone described it to me. It's put together well, the cinematography works, and the dialogue even lands a gag or two. I had fun with it--but what do I know? I'm just another college dropout with too much to say on the internet.
1h 20min | 1992
Director: Judith Priest
Writers: Benton Jennings, Judith Priest


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