Influential horror director Stuart Gordon has died, age 72. Gordon was one of the key American genre filmmakers of the 1980s–his debut movie Re-Animator is considered a horror classic, and he is also known for a variety of other HP Lovecraft adaptations, as well as co-creating the Disney hit Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
Gordon was born in Chicago, where he worked for more than a decade as a prominent theatre director. In 1985, he moved into movies, teaming up with producer Brian Yuzna to make a low-budget adaptation of HP Lovecraft’s short story Herbert West: Re-Animator. The resulting movie, Re-Animator, was a critical and commercial success, with its mix of outrageous gore and hilarious dark humor making it an instant cult favorite. It was one of the key horror comedies of the 1980s and made cult stars of Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton. It was followed by two Yuzna-directed sequels.
While Gordon didn’t return to Re-Animator, its success kickstarted Gordon’s career as a horror director. He reteamed with Combs and Crampton for the 1986 Lovecraft adaptation From Beyond and 1996’s Castle Freak, and he adapted Edgar Allen Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum in 1991. Gordon also directed a number of sci-fi movies, including Robot Jox (1990), Fortress (1992), and Space Truckers (1996).