Reanimates are individuals who have died and have since been resurrected in physical form. They are very similar to zombies in this regard, but for one notable difference: Reanimates still possess the possibility of harboring a living soul, and they may maintain their personality and intellect following their resurrection. This is not true in all cases however.
In film, one of the most well known examples of reanimation is the Frankenstein Monster. The monster is actually composed of body parts taken from several human cadavers, stitched together and then brought to life via some unknown chemical and/or electrical process. Classically, the monster is born with a simple-minded child-like savagery and is given to fits of anger and violence.
Another example of reanimates are mummies. In the real world, mummification is a process made popular by the people of Ancient Egypt who removed the vital organs of the dead and then wrapped their bodies in linen and buried them within massive tombs or pyramids. Naturally, these mummies tend to stay put, as they are most decidedly deceased. In fiction however, all bets are off. All it takes is one cryptically-worded curse and some Tana leaves to bring a mummy back to life as a silent killing machine. These so-called "living" mummies tend to be the servants of a living agent, who uses the mummy as the instrument of revenge against whosoever disrupts their tomb, so forth and so on.
One cannot effectively speak intelligently about reanimates without addressing the most famous re-animator of all time - Herbert West. Created by Gothic horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, and first serialized in a story called "Herbert West - Re-Animator" in the July, 1922 issue of Weird Tales, this ambitious young man was a brilliant scientist who engaged in a series of bizarre acts while attending school in New England. His experiments resulted in the creation of a reagent, which he injected into independent body parts, and later full corpses in order to bring them back to life. This story was adapted into the 1985 feature film Re-Animator by director Stuart Gordon, which yielded to direct-to-video sequels, Bride of Re-Animator in 1990 and Beyond Re-Animator in 2003.
In the first Re-Animator, the first on-screen presentation of a reanimate was in the form of Doctor Gruber of the University of Zurich. West injected Gruber with a low-dosage of Re-Agent, which caused the man to howl in pain. In addition to suffering adverse physical side effects such as sallow skin, he also suffered some manner of hemorrhage, which caused his eyes to explode.
The North American version of the supernatural drama series Being Human addresses the subject of reanimates in it's third season. The reanimates on the show, in addition to being formerly deceased, also share a few similarities to post-Romero era zombies. Like zombies, reanimates in Being Human are flesh-eaters. They are perpetually hungry and normal food stuffs dod not satiate their appetite. Before long, they will begin to crave living creatures for food. It may begin with something as small as a bird or a mouse, but in time, they will require a more substantial diet... humans. Without a steady diet of human flesh, reanimates will begin to physically deteriorate and their bodies will rapidly rot away to nothing. By consuming live prey, they can heal the rotting parts of their bodies, but only for a brief period of time.
Reanimates on Being Human are created through ritualism and blood magic. The 17th century witch Donna Gilchrist used such magic to bring the ghost of Sally Malik back from the dead. This same ritual was also responsible for resurrecting the ghosts of Nick Fenn and Stevie Atkins. Nick was the first to succumb to the ravages of being a flesh-eater and consumed several neighborhood cats before the hunger drove him to attack his girlfriend, Zoe Gonzales.
Stevie Atkins did not have nearly the amount of willpower as Sally Malik, or even Nicholas Fenn. Part of the curse of being resurrected through blood magic was that the reanimated would have to avoid contact with anyone from their past, or else they would die. Stevie ignored this warning and returned to his parents' house. The following morning, he found them on the floor dead. The hunger overtook him and he ate their bodies. He then murdered and consumed the body of a neighborhood postal worker.
Sally Malik staved off the effects of the hunger longer than any of them. She survived by eating a few mice she found in her house, but when the hunger became too strong, she had her friends Josh Levinson and Nora Sargeant chain her up in her bedroom. Eventually, starvation set in and Sally died once again.
Another reanimated from Being Human was a man named Ray. Ray was resurrected by Donna Gilchrist in a separate ritual and used as a pawn to strike back at her enemies. Ray is different from the others in that he was also a werewolf in life, proving that one who is a supernatural creature in the living world, will be resurrected as one even as a reanimate.
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