H.P. Lovecraft's gloomy short stories about obsession and the
supernatural monsters that lurk all around us unnoticed by society at
large naturally lend themselves to a multi-storied omnibus fright film
format. Well, this trio of truly terrifying tales does the master full
justice, combining both supremely sepulchral midnight-in-the-graveyard
moodiness and jump-out-at-you startling straightforward shocks with
often genuinely frightening results.
First yarn, "The Drowned" - Wealthy Bruce Payne inherits a crumbling old seaside hotel that unbeknown to Payne has a foul carnivorous demon residing in the murky basement. Directed with exceptional style and grace by Chistopher Gans, this particularly chilling humdinger is highlighted by Richard Lynch's touching turn as a bitter man who renounces his faith in God after losing his wife and child in a shipwreck and direct-to-video erotic thriller perennial Maria Ford's strikingly eerie, ethereal and even strangely sexy cameo as Payne's dead girlfriend who's resurrected as a ghostly, pallid, mossy-haired zombie.
Second vignette, "The Cold" - Sweet young runaway Bess Myer rents a room at a shabby apartment with a lonely, reclusive scientist (movingly played by David Warner) residing on the weirdly freezing top floor. When Myer befriends the sad, fragile Warner she learns that he has discovered the secret of immortality, which not surprisingly comes at an especially terrible price: Warner can only remain alive by constant fresh injections of human spinal fluid! Director Shusuke Kaneko manages to milk considerable poignancy from this haunting parable about the horrible price one must pay for cheating fate, coaxing fine supporting performances from Millie Perkins as Warner's protective landlady, Gary Graham as Myers' abusive, incestuous brute stepbrother, and Dennis Christopher as a foolishly snoopy newspaper reporter.
Third and most gruesome anecdote, "Whispers" - Gung-ho female cop Signy Coleman and her more sensible partner Obba Babatunde stumble across the dark, dank and forbidding underground lair of these ancient subterranean monsters with a voracious appetite for bone marrow. Director Brian Yunza eschews the spooky atmospherics of the previous segments for a graphically visceral approach that's crudely effective in a gory, mondo disgusto, gross you out hideous sort of way. "Return of the Living Dead" 's Don Calfa and Judith Drake are wonderfully quirky as the nutty old couple guardians of the savage flesh-eating flying beasts who need new victims to keep their race thriving for all eternity.
All these stories in and of themselves certainly smoke, as does the thankfully solid wraparound narrative starring Lovecraft movie vet Jeffrey ("Re-Animator," "From Beyond") Combs, who's perfectly cast as the author himself who visits a secret library to check out the legendary tome of evil "Necronomicon" and almost gets killed in the process. Barely recognizable under heavy make-up which makes him resemble a gaunt Bruce Campbell, Combs simply shines in a role he was seemingly destined to portray. Moreover, the uniformly superb special effects by such dependable artists as Tom Savini, Todd Masters and Screaming Mad George are as ghastly and grotesque as they ought to be, the splatter is likewise properly revolting and plentiful, the tone suitably creepy throughout, and, most importantly, the individual stories ultimately cohere into a provocative and penetrating meditation on man's tenuous hold on reality, exposing a scary netherworld that if intruded upon by us stupidly inquisitive mortals can prove to be quite deadly and dangerous. A superior horror anthology.
Necronomicon: Book of Dead
Action / Horror
Necronomicon: Book of Dead
Action / Horror
Howard P. Lovecraft (Jeffrey Combs) is the narrator who says that he found out that the Necronomicon book was located somewhere in America, guarded by some monks. He wanted to find it to use it for his writings. In there book, the secrets to the universe, past, present and future.Lovecraft goes to a mysterious library because he wants to fact-check his writings, as he alleges he presents possibilities and not fiction in his writing. The attendant (Juan Fern
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