Stuart Gordon, the filmmaker best known as the director of cult classic horror movies such as Re-Animator and From Beyond, has passed away at the age of 72. The director’s family confirmed Gordon’s passing to Variety on Tuesday night.
Gordon was a major figure in the underground 1980s horror movement, alongside friend and frequent collaborator Brian Yuzna. Together, the two tackled a handful of film adaptations of the works of H.P. Lovecraft in that decade, which included Gordon’s best-known film Re-Animator. A classic dark comedy bloodbath, Re-Animator remains one of the decade’s grossest and most endearingly hilarious horror movies, sitting in a prominent position on Paste’s own list of the 100 best horror movies of all time. It pioneered impressive practical effects techniques while also pushing the boundaries of good taste—something Gordon shared in common with spiritual compatriots of the era such as Peter Jackson.
Gordon’s career was fairly prolific within the two decades in which he was active, as he was also known for films such as Dolls, The Pit and the Pendulum, Robot Jox, Castle Freak and King of the Ants. Likewise, he was credited as a co-creator of the Honey I Shrunk the Kids franchise, and wrote/produced numerous films outside the horror genre, such as Space Truckers, The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit and Edmond.
Gordon was also well-known within the live theater community, having founded the Organic Theater Company in Madison, WI with his wife Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, where he staged such performances as Bleacher Bums with Dennis Franz and Joe Mantegna. He was also a frequent producer-director in the L.A. theater scene, most recently finding great success directing his Re-Animator muse, Jeffrey Combs, in the Edgar Allen Poe biography Nevermore. He even co-wrote a stage treatment for a musical version of Re-Animator, which must truly have been something to see.
Gordon will be missed by the horror geeks in particular; there’s no doubt about that. If you’ve never seen the likes of Re-Animator, now would be the time to pay tribute to one of the masters.