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Director Stuart Gordon, cult Master of Horror behind Re-Animator, dead at 72

By Jacob Oller
Stuart Gordon Getty

Stuart Gordon, the cult horror director who mastered death in the midnight hit Re-Animator, has died at age 72.

The Chicago-born founder of the Chicago Organic Theater Company, along with his wife Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, shocked audiences from his first productions. The filmmaker and theater director adapted the varied likes of H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Ray Bradbury, Mark Twain, and David Mamet over his long career, kickstarting a franchise with the gory, schlocky horror-comedy Re-Animator (that even extended to a musical stage adaptation) and creating indie horror classics like From Beyond. His other credits include The Pit and the PendulumCastle FreakDagon, and Dolls.

Gordon was also a writer, contributing to a number of scripts like the 1993 Body Snatchers and Honey, I Shrunk the KidsGordon was credited as a co-creator of the latter, which led him to produce Honey, I Blew Up the Kid and direct the "Honey, Let's Trick or Treat" episode of the Disney TV show. His other TV works included the Anthony Perkins-starring TV movie Daughter of Darkness and the episodes "Dreams In the Witch-House" & "The Black Cat" of Masters of Horror.

Gordon's family confirmed the news of his death with Variety. It reports that Gordon is survived by his wife, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, daughters (Suzanna, Jillian, and Margaret), four grandchildren, and brother, David George Gordon. His final film, Stuck, starred Mena Suvari and Stephen Rea in a story about a man trapped in a woman's windshield after she hits him with his car.

Fans of Gordon's within the industry — like genre directors Joe Lynch and Edgar Wright, horror writer Simon Barrett, and iconic actress Barbara Crampton (who also starred in Re-Animator) — paid their respects to the director:

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