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Stuart Gordon death: Re-Animator director dies aged 72

Director Stuart Gordon
Stuart Gordon, the director best known for his horror movies, has died at the age of 72. Pic credit: ©ImageCollect/Globe-Photos

Stuart Gordon, the director who is best known for his horror movie Re-Animator, died on Tuesday at the age of 72, according to his family.

Family representatives did not immediately reveal the cause of death.

Stuart Gordon was born in Chicago, Illinois, in August 1947, and attended Lane Technical High School. He was employed as a commercial artist apprentice before enrolling at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he majored in theater.

Gordon’s death comes after the death of the folk singer Julie Felix at the age of 81. Legendary country music singer Kenny Rogers also died last week at the age of 81.

Gordon formed the Screw Theater at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Stuart Gordon was active in theater as a student in the 1960s. He also participated in anti-war protests.

He produced The Game Show at the University of Wisconsin in March 1968. During the play, the audience was locked in the theater and actors planted among them simulated being beaten and tortured.

“The worst abuse fell upon plants (actors posing as the audience), but the real audience members believed it was all real and that their lives were in danger,” Gordon said about the play. “They rioted at the same point in every performance.”

He founded his first theater company, the Screw Theater, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The Screw Theater, formed in the summer of 1968, staged multiple shows produced and directed by Gordon. One of the plays, a political and anti-war production based on Peter Pan, made national headlines.

He and his girlfriend Carolyn were arrested for obscenity due to “a kaleidoscope of hallucinogenic imagery for a controversial counterculture take on J.M. Barrie.”

The charges were eventually dropped in November 1968.

Gordon was known for his cult horror films

Stuart Gordon was best known for his cult horror-comedy film Re-Animator (1985), inspired by six of HP Lovecraft’s Herbert West stories.

Even high-brow film critic Pauline Kael loved it:

“A silly ghoulie classic—the bloodier it gets, the funnier it gets … It’s not out to scare you, it’s out to make you laugh at what other movies have scared you with, and at what they’d have scared you with if they hadn’t pulled back.”

He was also known for horror movies such as From Beyond, Dolls, Dagon, and the sci-fi comedy Space Truckers. He co-created the sci-fi comedy franchise Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and worked on the sequel and the TV series.

His movie credits included Body Snatchers,  Edmond, Fortress, King of the Ants, and Castle Freak.

Stuart Gordon was also active in the Los Angeles theater and directed plays such as Nevermore: An Evening with Edgar Allen Po, Re-Animator: The Musical, and Taste.

Reactions on Twitter

Fans and colleagues in the entertainment industry have been paying tribute on Twitter.

Stars who have paid tribute include actress Barbara Crampton, director and screenwriter Edgar Wright, and film reporter Jenny Yamato.

Stuart Gordon is survived by his wife Carolyn, daughters Suzanna, Jillian, and Margaret Gordon, grandchildren, and brother David George Gordon, according to Variety.

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