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Herbert West: The inventor of a special solution, or "reagent", that can resurrect the dead. He is portrayed as a brilliant, narcissistic, and intensely driven young man of an amoral nature, traits carried over into the 1985 film. His arrogance and lack of respect for life (and death) prove to be his undoing. He is depicted as the inventor of a solution that can re-animate deceased bodies. However, most subjects that have undergone the re-animation process turn violent and, after failed attempts to return to their own graves, wreak havoc.

In Lovecraft's tale, Herbert West - Reanimator, Herbert West was ostracized by his fellow medical students because he believed he could overcome death and had only one friend: the unnamed narrator of the story.

West was portrayed by actor Jeffrey Combs in the 1985 film adaptation of the story. Combs reprised the role in the film's two sequels, Bride of Re-Animator (1990) and Beyond Re-Animator (2003).

In 2013, West as portrayed by Combs was selected by Empire magazine as the 42nd greatest horror film character, describing him as "one of cinema's greatest mad scientists". Outside of the film series, the character has appeared in comic books, novels, and video games.