Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Directed by Troy Nixey

Katie Holmes - Kim
Guy Pearce - Alex
Bailee Madison - Sally

     A young girl sent to live with her father and his new girlfriend discovers creatures in her new home who want to claim her as one of their own.

     As this is the last review this month that was full of otherworldly wonders and the creeping unknown, Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark came out at a perfect point in time. No, I didn't plan this month around this film, it was just pure coincidence as I thought that this movie was never going to be released as it is a relatively unknown property, except for fans of del Toro and all things Lovecraft. But I'm not complaining that it came out this month as it is a perfect to go with all the reviews this month.

     The acting in this film is just amazing from start to finish. The movie centers around Sally played by Bailee Madison and her being sent to live with her father from what basically is a lackluster mother that doesn't want to deal with her. This is played wonderfully by Madison as being withdrawn and just wanting to be left alone. Yet she starts to really shine as her character starts to open up to her her father's girlfriend Kim, played by Katie Holmes. Now Holmes I've always ran hot or cold on with her acting, yet to me in this one her acting seems to have taken on another aspect that wasn't really there before. This might be because her character, Kim, is so well developed or she's finally found what was really missing before. As for Guy Pearce as Alex, even though he did a decent job acting, the character he plays is too ignorant until it's almost to late to save anyone, including himself. I hate to say Alex got what he deserved, but this is exactly what happened by trying to ignore the obvious and by seeing his daughter as a burden instead of his family.

   The look of the film is just remarkable as is the setting. The house is the main entity and can be considered a character in and of itself as it is never fully explored which adds a tension to the film as there are so many unknowns and dark corners that you never really know what is lurking there. I can can say that with ease that this film is and isn't really a horror movie as it's more of a dark fantasy. The horror really isn't there that much but the terror is. This is thanks to the fairies which stalk young Sally as they need to replenish their numbers every time the portal is opened where they dwell. One thing I do wish this movie did was show exactly where the fairies live as it would have opened up a whole other world for the film. But I understand why they didn't go through with this plot thread as it would have taken away from the main point of the film which is the human interaction between the characters. 

     I've yet to see a film that has del Toro's name attached to it that I didn't like, even the direct to video animated features, as well as his producing on Kung Fu Panda 2, you can tell when his touches were present. Yet with this his writing was just spectacular. Credit also has to be shared with Troy Nixey as this, even though is his first feature film, he shows amazing ability and confidence. Though how much of this was due to del Toro himself I cannot say, except the beginning scene in the film where del Toro basically told Nixey to do what he said, Nixey does such a fine job that I was quite surprised by what was put on screen. To me this is the way to end the summer movie season where most wide release horror movies are not horror, but a cry to watch me, while Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark isn't afraid to do what it wants and doesn't care that it doesn't follow the new rules for horror movies. Also it is a perfect way to end this month of all Lovecraftian movie reviews!

     Even though it's not shown, Kim's loss of humanity. If you stay and really listen you'll understand why.

     We have all the time in the world.

     This is Troy Nixey's first full length feature film.

     The picture was made to be released as a PG-13 rated movie. Yet, when it went to the MPAA for rating, it came out with a R. The filmmakers then went to ask how they can make it PG-13, at which the film rating board told them, "Why ruin a perfectly scary movie!"

     The film is a remake of a 1970's made for TV movie that aired on ABC in 1973.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Directed by Jose Luis Aleman

Silvia Abascal - Luisa Lorente
Oscar Jaenada - Nicolas Tremel
Daniele Liotti - Lazaro Valdemar

     The conclusion of the Valdemar story as all the players are brought together to finish the Dunwich Ritual that was started but left unfinished.

     So for all those that stayed with me throughout this month, know I went through a lot of movies, much more than I'm used to writing about in a month. Yet here it is the toward the end  of August and I'm putting up the review for La Herencia Valdemar II which is the movie that made me decide to do all Mythos movies this month due to that Cthulhu is summoned toward the end of the film. While some of the movies I reviewed were movies where the filmmakers based the story around the Mythos, others understood the source material much more than others. While these movies weren't from stories of Lovecraft himself, they just had that something extra that was needed to make you believe they were done as a love letter to the dead writer for giving them and us a wonderful look at a world where things are hidden that should stay hidden but see the light of day, where if you find a copy of the Necronomicon it's best just to leave town as shown multiple times over the month. And where someone wants a person in a cult to raise one of the Elder Gods, including Cthulhu itself, we get to see the mayhem that happens from said summoning. It's from these stories the movies are based upon that give us so much fun as well as groans. So, on with the review!

     What the fuck went wrong? The first movie is a wonderfully tight bit of storytelling that has heart at it's center. This one just left that heart crushed on the floor and forgotten. The story races forward leaving all returning character development in the dust while trying to bring in new characters that show up out of nowhere yet are supposed to be major players in the movie but after only minutes these same important characters are put into a trunk or disappear suddenly only to show up for fractions of a second later. The story also makes you scratch your head with sub-plots that try to bridge the two movies together that makes no sense in the slightest as it seems they scriptwriter wrote himself into a corner and couldn't think of a better way to move the plot along.

     The acting thankfully is decent throughout the movie except for Eusebio Poncela who just seems like he really doesn't want to be there and shows it by being nonchalant  while looking bored out of his mind. He's supposed to be the ringleader of a cult but yet has no charisma whatsoever. Oscar Jaenada does probably the best job out of everyone in the cast with what they were all giving, trying to bring a sense of believability to all the thrown around plots that go nowhere. A good example of this is Jaenada's character Nicolas Tramel's involvement in a attempt to extort money from the company that hired him. Oh, and he is some how connected to the dead fat guy that was in the first movie. The one character I was surprised to see was a character based of H. P. Lovecraft himself, played by Luis Zahera, who is almost a dead ringer for him except for a couple of extra pounds, which was a nice touch in and of itself. Even though the character is in the for only about four minutes, he basically tells what will happen at the end of the movie, fortunately not in great detail though.

     After what was built up in the first film, this movie takes a easy approach and winds up hurting itself trying to put to much information in at the last second. Another complaint that has to be mentioned is how is giant alter over a cliff missed by the property appraisers when it was obviously built at least 10 years ago in the movie and as far as I could tell the 'Estate' isn't thousands of feet above the ocean. One thing this movie does do right though is the final monster, Cthulhu itself. It seems like every bit of money that was allotted for the movie was spent on it as it is just amazing to see in motion, as it is one of the best CG monsters I have seen in a long time. To bad that is the one shining point in this film, well that are the threat of another movie in this series which hopefully will not happen. If you the viewers have to watch the film just skip to about 30 minutes before the end and everything is good from that point on, but still doesn't kill the pain that happens before though. And to reiterate, the best part of this movie was Cthulhu!

     The Valdemar's rapid aging together.

     No man can bear gazing upon our Lords without first going insane.

     Oscar Jaenada's character is named Nicolas Tramel. The name is a little variation of Nicholas Flamel (1330-1413), one of the biggest alchemists in entire history.

     The first movie in all Spanish's cinema history made without Spanish government subsidies.

     The movie isn't exactly a sequel, but the rest of the story untold in the previous part, following the tradition of others titles like Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Vol. 2 as well as the Matrix Saga.

     The creature raised during the first invocation is a ghoul (or gul), an evil creature liked-zombie that it was mentioned in a short horror tale from Mythos of Cthulhu, "The Pickman's Model" (1927).

    As a bonus, one more picture of the cool as hell looking Cthulhu!

Friday, August 26, 2011


Directed by John Carpenter

Jameson Parker - Brian Marsh
Lisa Blount - Catherine Danforth
Victor Wong - Prof. Howard Birack

     A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world.

     As I am running out of time for this month to post reviews based around Lovecraft's Mythos, I decided to revisit a old favorite that I haven't seen in a while (yes, another one). While this one is more on the fringe of a religious movie, there is enough there to consider it a shoe-in for this month. So, with out further ado, here's the review for Prince Of Darkness, the second movie of Carpenter's "Apocalypse Trilogy".

     I'm going to start with the actors in this film. Jameson Parker plays Brian in the film and is the star of it as well. He plays his character who is basically lost and has a crisis of  faith when what he believed to be truth is shattered when he agrees to help with a research project. Parker's character is a man of science and his beliefs, and of those around him, are turned inside out when faced with a power outside of science they are capable of. Parker does a good job of trying to wrap his head around something that is confusing his character and make it believable. Victor Wong is just a joy to watch in this as Prof. Howard Birack who brings his class of metaphysics students to a abandoned church to study a ancient cylinder. To me Wong just brings a sense of fun and credibility to all the roles he plays, as yes, he does overact but it's not insane overacting. Now I know people are going to disagree with me on this, but I really didn't like Donald Pleasence in this movie. I really can't say if it was his acting or his character. It's just that something there just didn't really click which made the character seem out of place.

     The story for the film is what I enjoyed the most as it is a throwback to the Quatermass style stories from Hammer Films in the '60s where super science is in conflict with the supernatural. What is interesting about it is that it brings in religion in way where it is questioned what the Vatican has told people to keep them comfortable and away from what is actual truth. The actual truth in the movie is that while it is supposedly Satan in the container, its purpose is to bring about it's true father, which is a greater evil from a different plane of existence. Why this interesting is that according to the Bible, God is the father is Satan. So following this line of thought in the film, it brings up what we think of power and what we find comfortable and safe in not knowing the truth. Yes, the film can be called blasphemous, or me, for writing this, it puts the notion that there are Older Gods out there. Also the movie basically makes Jesus just a a super scientist and even says so as he was killed to keep the truth hidden, but after he wrote down equations that could only be solved once science was capable to solve the problem.

     While the film isn't really scary per say, it encourages the viewer to think as the film is plot heavy with most of the explanations come from conversations between the characters but thankfully this doesn't explain everything as a lot is left up to the viewer to decide, specially the more theological questions. The only real drawback to the movie is that the movie does slow down toward the end, as well as Pleasence's character is overly annoying and the final fight in it is ruined by a too simple solution. Though the true end of the film is open ended, which Carpenter likes to do in his films. The film is more creepy than pure horror which works in the films favor. The actors all do a decent to good job, and this is coupled with a slightly weird camera effect work to make this one stand out among other Mythos films.

     Actor Thom Bray's perforating bicycle encounter thanks to Alice Cooper. 

     This is not a dream... not a dream. We are using your brain's electrical system as a receiver. We are unable to transmit through conscious neural interference. You are receiving this broadcast as a dream. We are transmitting from the year one, nine, nine, nine. You are receiving this broadcast in order to alter the events you are seeing. Our technology has not developed a transmitter strong enough to reach your conscious state of awareness, but this is not a dream. You are seeing what is actually occurring for the purpose of causality violation.

      John Carpenter in his screenwriter credit for the film is credited as "Martin Quatermass". The pseudonym is a homage to Professor Bernard Quatermass, the lead character of Quatermass And The Pit, and The Quatermass Xperiment among other films and TV series.  In the original press notes he was described as 'the brother of Professor Bernard Quatermass, head of the British rocket programme.'

     John Carpenter independently made the film since Escape From New York due to his frustration with Hollywood studios, but also due to the box office failure of Big Trouble In Little China the year before.

     The film was shot through a slightly anamorphic lens, giving a subtle distortion to every scene.

     This is the second of Carpenter's "Apocalypse Trilogy". In order they are:
      The Thing (1982)
      Prince Of Darkness (1987)
      In The Mouth Of Madness (1994)

Thursday, August 25, 2011



Darkness directed by Jaume Balaguero
   Cast: Anna Paquin  - Regina
            Lena Olin - Maria
   Plot: Regina and her family move into a old countryside home only to discover that the house has a dark  past that is trying to reappear. That past is something ancient and dark.

The Dunwich Horror directed by Daniel Haller
     Cast: Dean Stockwell - Wilbur Whateley
              Ed Bagley - Dr. Henry Armitage
    Plot: Wilbur Whateley wants to help the Old Ones break through by consulting the Necronomicon, and Armitage must stop him.

     I was talking to someone I work with about running out of time to get as many reviews out as possible I can this month and my realization I wasn't going to be able to review all the movies I wanted to due to certain reasons including that I have to work and that I keep finding other movies that I would love to review. Then he mentioned that maybe I should do more of an article review where I do a comparison and contrast of two movies, one from the 70's and one more recent. I thought about it and decided that that was actually a good idea so where I can actually get two reviews out at one time.

     As Mythos movies can range widely about what the actual plot can be about, I think it is best explained that the most common and recurring theme is the human insignificance to the universe and the degradation of mental capacity when faced with the otherworldly concepts or cosmic outsideness. This can interpreted in any number of ways by the filmmakers. From the ripping of reality to bringing about a Elder God, the final days of the world as things and people go crazy by the effects of  cosmic research or intrusion, or the search for  control of a otherworldly deity which they know not what the true price will be. There can be many different plots and concepts that can be categorized as Mythos.  The most common theme or plot is that of the main characters finding a cosmic or unnatural presence and them trying to find someway to stop it. Or in some cases trying to come to terms with what is happening  around them while trying to stay alive.

     One thing that is usually overlooked in Mythos movies is that the said supernatural or otherworldly force  in Lovecraft's works don't see mankind as much of anything. They can be described as beyond human understanding, as to understand them is to go insane. While some movies just basically come right out say they are Mythos, some are more subtle in the way events transgress and the flow of disaster that happens due to 'Cosmic' disturbances. Which is why I picked the two movies I did for this piece. One right out broadcasts it is a Mythos movie while the other is just because of the subtleness of  what transpires I see as being influenced by the Mythos and has the heart of the Mythos at it's core.

     The thing that both movies have in common is the completion of a ritual to bring something over. In The Dunwich Horror it is to bring over the Older God Yog-Sothoth achieved by way of the Necronomicon. With the Darkness, the ritual itself is almost complete except for the blood of one person to bring about the return of  an older age with Older Gods. Of course with both movies at about halfway through each one the main characters, Regina in Darkness and Dr. Armitage go through a period of discovery of the past in which they both find out that one of the family members is the cause all the deaths and unexplained happenings that are occurring. These points on the movies are all that are really the same, with of course the eclipse that is about to happen during each ritual.

     Now the things that are different are numerous between the two on the story front as well. With Dunwich Horror, almost everything is spelled out from the start as you know Whateley is trying to perform a ritual and he needs the Necronomicon to actually complete it. For Darkness though, you find out throughout the movie that there needs to be a completion of a ritual that was started 40 years ago. While with Dunwich the story basically follows Whateley around as he tries to have sex with Sandra Dee's character and it shows a lot of dancing naked cult members, it just seems that they are there to just fill out time. With Darkness though, Regina knows something isn't right and decides to investigate the house she just moved into while outside forces are moving to help complete the ritual that it wants finished. Over at Dunwich the Whateley's monstrous brother is aching to get out and is never really seen that much except for when it eats a girl in flashes.  In Darkness the forces let themselves be seen only when surrounded by darkness which takes on a much more subtle terror.

     While The Dunwich Horror is based directly off of a Lovecraft story, Darkness is based around the mythos. The biggest difference in the two is the way both films play out. Dunwich Horror just drags along and nothing is really suspenseful in anything that it does. On the other hand Darkness has a pace that is set on purpose to create at first suspense then a feeling of dread. Darkness has the feeling in it I got after actually reading Lovecraft's stories which most movies based directly on his work do not have, yet this one does. Another difference in the movies is, to be blunt, The Dunwich Horror is just boring and feels like it is going nowhere, while Darkness has the power to keep you interested even though it moves at a deliberate pace. The last main difference in the two is that Darkness just has a sense of actually darkness and evil to it that is missing completely from The Dunwich Horror.

     So if you are giving a choice of these two movies to watch one night and nothing else, pass on The Dunwich Horror even though it is based on a story, but instead uses poor acting and a sex obsessed story to ruin a established story. The Darkness though uses Lovecraft's themes of fate, inherited guilt, as well the influence of 'Outside' forces are all in effect, coupled with this is a much stronger story and great acting to make a criminally overlooked Mythos film.

  The Dunwich Horror:
     Wilbur's shocking ritualistic fail.

      Closeup of a throat being slit that represents Mark's death.

  The Dunwich Horror:
      Yes, why not? Look around. You'll see what's there. Fear. And frightened people who kill what they can't understand. 
    I don't like the dark here, it keeps eating my pencils.

   The Dunwich Horror:
     Peter Fonda turned down the role of Wilbur Whateley.

     Miramax/Dimension had paid $4 million for the rights to distribute the movie in North America and some other territories, but then shelved it for more than two years. The company gave the film a US theatrical release at Christmas 2004 after heavy editing to secure a PG-13 rating. The version I used for this article is the unrated edition of the film.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Directed by Dan O'Bannon

John Terry - John March
Jane Sibbett - Claire Ward
Chris Sarandon - Charles Dexter Ward/ Joseph Curwen

     Claire Ward hires private investigator John Marsh to look into the increasingly bizarre activities of her husband Charles Dexter Ward,  who has become obsessed with the occult practices of  his ancestor Joseph Curwen.

     As you can tell certain names, both real and imaginary, keep on showing up this month. H. P. Lovecraft is the main one, for obvious reasons, but names like Carpenter, Yuzna, and O'Bannon show up quite a few times and will show up again throughout this month. It's not that these filmmakers did the best job, but more than anything it's because they were influenced by Lovecraft's stories, and just happen to make films based upon and around his work.  In fact, I could do movie months based around some filmmakers themselves. I'm looking at you Carpenter! But right now the spotlight is on Dan O'Bannon again, who wrote the story for Hemoglobin, and this, is movie based upon the Lovecraft story The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward.

      I decided to review this movie due to it is the closest to the source material more than any other Lovecraft adaption out there, with the exception of Call Of Cthulhu and old Night Gallery episodes. As with most Mythos movies the true horror comes near the end of what is being watched as subtle hints are giving to what is going on and the Resurrected does a amazing job with this. It slowly builds up to the exploration of the underground of the Curwen house. What is there is a claustrophobic horror fun ride, as while we know there are creatures lurking there we never get a really good look at what is brought back, but we get a good enough look to know it's nothing good. Even though I watched this movie originally about seven years ago, there's one scene during this time that made me jump which is very hard to do now with horror movies. The scene I'm talking about brings the whole claustrophobia tension to a full on assault when the light they have gets broken and they have to rely on striking single matches to light up where the characters are at for just seconds at a time, while one of the creatures is stalking them. This scene to me is one of the reasons I love horror movies.

     Now for the acting side of the movie every actor is pretty competent in their roles. John Terry does reasonable well as John March. The character really doesn't come into his own in the movie until more toward the end when he actually is forced to acknowledge things he had hints of yet didn't want to acknowledge cause he was afraid what it really meant.  Jane Sibbett's character Claire Ward is one of the rare supporting females, where she's right in the thick of the mystery and doesn't back down when things get weird which is nice to see a female written this way. But the real star is Chris Sarandon in the dual role of Charles Dexter Ward and his past relative Joseph Curwen. I will say this though about Sarandon, when he first shows up on screen it felt like he was just reading off a cue card as he really didn't put any emotion into the Ward character. Yet it is when he plays Curwen is when he shines. He puts just a slightly sinister presence that is just right to make the audience be wary of him. But it's his diatribe at the end of the movie once March figures out who he really is puts everyone else to shame as he just chews the scene up and spits it out. The great thing about this scene is that you know Curwen has actually done what he said he did and Saradon deliverers the scene where you have no doubt about it.

      The one biggest flaw with the movie to me is some of the acting involved. The sorest moment is when the story goes to the past and we are treated to bad acting 101 by Curwen's wife and her suitor. Just terrible and it has no passion to it for people that want to be together. Another bad spot in the movie is the poor overdubbing in parts but the whole cast, which this can be attributed to the audio engineers. The movie though is actually really well done through and through with not one real weak part in the script and with strong characters that build over time. Thanks to O'Bannon's directing the story is strong and nothing is shortchanged and true fans of Lovecraft should try to watch this not well know movie.

     Joseph Curwen's reconciling of the flesh with the dead.

     I should strip thy flesh from thy bones like a suckling pig, but because I am a madman, they would do nothing to me. Such are the customs of this enlightened century.

     Was originally intended for a theatrical release, but ended up going straight to video.

     Director O'Bannon and screenwriter Brent V. Friedman had both developed the Lovecraft property over the years, independent of each other. While Friedman receives sole credit, O'Bannon did incorporate some of his own ideas into the project.

     Final film to be released by Scotti Brothers Pictures.

     The original story by Lovecraft, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, which is what The Resurrected is based on, has the first ever mention of the entity Yog-Sothoth, as well as having a mention of the re-occurring character of Randolph Carter in the story as well. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Directed by Eric Valette

Gerald Laroche - Carrere
Phillippe Laudenbach - Lassalle
Clovis Cornillac - Marcus

     Four prisoners occupying  a cell in a penitentiary  find an ancient journal hidden in a hole in the wall of the cell. They realize that the book was written  in the beginning of the last century and might hold the key to their escape.

      As I said in a earlier review this month, I ran into plenty of movies dealing with the Lovecraft Mythos, and as such I had to pick and chooses which ones to put in. Some are just a no brainer. While others like this movie I'm about to review is just a wild card I found on a list of inspired by Lovecraft. To tell the truth I have never even heard of this movie before,yet that is what is fun about this month. While this movie could be completely awful, I'll still be happy I've watched it, maybe. So what do I make of Malefique is below. Have fun!

     Even though Gerald Larouche, who portrays Carrere, is billed first, it's the other actors that outshine him. This might have to do with Carrere isn't  happy with life, or just his whole situation, but what ever his character is, Larouche just shows no emotion what so ever in this movie really even though you know he is always thinking of something. For the rest of the cast it is Dimitri Rateau, who to me, steals the show as the mentally broken man-child, Paquerette, who is in prison for eating his baby sister. Rateau gives a performance that is unbelievable and painful to watch cause you actually feel sorry for Paquerette and what he goes through as basically the whipping boy of the four in the cell. But to me the most interesting character to me is the half-op transvestite Marcus played by Clovis Cornillac. The reason why I say he is the most interesting is due to that he basically plays the mother hen and bully, father and a kid at the same time for the cell everyone is in. He's there to comfort and to basically make sure everything goes the way he wants things to go and if they don't he isn't afraid to use violence to make sure change happens.

     One of the more interesting premise of this film is just how mature the whole experience is while watching. Nothing is played for laughs for a younger crowd as the film was made for adults and those that can freely think. Most of the movie takes place only in one room and most of the real horror is through conversation until the very end so most people will find the film very boring. But it's the character development that keeps the film movie at an amazing pace. One of the more interesting conversations was about Carerre's life before he was arrested and put in prison. He says that even though he has a trophy wife, sports cars, and houses he wasn't happy. What he did say was that he was comfortable and the only thing he really cared about is his son. The writing for the film is just amazing in it's progression and the way it slowly brings in the horror aspect of the story after everything is relatively untroubled considering the situation, which you really only see this type of build up in either European or indie movies now.

     The one drawback to the movie is that the end doesn't quite live up to what was built up with the characters. That's not to say that the ending isn't good, in fact it is. It's just that the whole point of the proceedings was to escape the prison. What happens to the characters in a way is an escape, just not the one that is pointed out. Also the ending for the Marcus character just felt weak compared to the rest of the movie, which I think is why I view the ending the way I do. Yes, everything is explained, but it still doesn't live up to the rest of the film.  The film though is more than worth watching as it's more of a character study and what lengths men will go to, to truly get what they want and the price that is paid for that which shouldn't be asked for.

      Paquerette's extreme ghostly chiropractic session.

     The book was never meant to do that.

     During the pre-production, a producer, thinking books were outdated, asked to replace the black magic book found by prisoners by an e-book.

     The movie is also known as Malefique - Psalm  666

     The budget for the Malefique was one million francs.

     For those with sharp eyes, one of the words in the book is "Fhtagn". This is one of the words used to praise Cthulhu by his worshippers in H.P. Lovecraft's The Call Of Cthulhu.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Directed by Stuart Gordon

Ezra Godden - Paul Marsh
Francisco Rabal - Ezequiel
Raquel Merono - Barbara

     Dagon tells the story of Paul Marsh, a young man who discovers that the truth will not set him free instead it condemns him to a waking nightmare of unrelenting horror of an old god and it's unholy offspring.

     This is one of the last well known Lovecraft movies I'll be reviewing this month as the rest I decided will be more on the unknown or hard to find side. It's been a while since I saw this movie so it's really like I'll be watching it again for the first time. Anyway, on to the review.

     I must say that if this movie does have one thing going for it, it would have to be the atmosphere that permeates the whole production. There is just a darkness that overwhelms everything and encapsulates the surroundings. Part of the reason for this is where the movie was filmed at, as it seems like the fishing village was transplanted from Lovecraft's stories and put on screen. Another thing that helps is that the movie doesn't focus on the more horror aspect, instead it decides to build up tension by having the movie play like a stalker film, just instead of one crazed lunatic, you have a village of crazed mutated lunatics. The interesting thing about the movie is that it keeps on building the tension from one scene to the next, which is a nice surprise considering that the movie was directed Stuart Gordon, who usually shows what is ahead in a movie to early. Let the hate mail start due to the last statement.

     One thing I am going to admit straight out is that I hated Ezra Godden's acting through most of the movie. The reason for this, is that he seemed to have no personality for almost the entire run time of the movie. Yes, I know he's supposed to be playing a computer jock that got rich, which he even tries to bribe his way out of being hurt with that said money, even though when he was more worried about his money than his girlfriend's feelings at the beginning of the movie. Though as the movie wears on, his character does start to get more interesting though by that time it is too little too late. Another sore spot in the movie is Francisco Rabal's Ezequiel. Now Rabal does a fine job actually acting, it's just that his speech ruins everything the man portrays on screen. The only actor I enjoyed  throughout the whole movie was Raquel Merono, even though she is only in the movie a quarter of the time. This is mostly due to toward the end of the movie, and the  expressions her character has. You can actually tell that her character is insane after what she goes through in the pit which is something that is usually missing in most Mythos movies.

     Now as this is a movie about mutated humans thanks to inbreeding, basically, I think it was a good choice for Gordon to try to keep most of the villagers under wraps as it adds a certain unnerving feeling to the whole movie. I say this due to that once some of the Dagonites are revealed, it just ruins some of movie as some of the effects are just cheesy looking and look sub-par. And I could swear I saw a seam on Macarena Gomez's Uxia' tentacle prop. Another draw back that ruined the end of the movie was the terrible CG work on Dagon itself once it pops out.  Yet even with all the flaws on the movie, including uneven pacing in the middle, I think that Gordon did a relatively decent job of bringing one of his dream projects to life, as well as keeping it more on line with the feeling of the short stories it was based on. I will say this in closing though, I would really like to see Gordon try and redo this movie now as he would probably do a much better job than what he did back in 2001.

     Ezequiel's slow, deep epidermis peel.

      Yeah, but there's a catch. It has to live the rest of its life as some kind of half-ass fish of the sea.

      The chant by the locals at the sacrificial ceremony near the end, "Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn!" appears in many H. P. Lovecraft tales, shouted by followers of the Old Ones.

     The majority of this film was shot with a hand-held camera.

     Even though the movie is named Dagon, it is more based on the story The Shadow Over Innsmouth.

     Below is the corresponding name changes in the movie and what characters they were based on in the original story:
     Paul Marsh - Robert Olmstead
     Ezequiel - Zadok Allen
     Captain Orpheus Cambarro - Obed Marsh
     Javier Cambarro - Barnabas Marsh

Monday, August 15, 2011


Directed by Stuart Gordon

Jeffrey Combs - Herbert West
Bruce Abbott - Daniel 'Dan' Cain
Barbara Crampton - Megan Halsey

     A dedicated student at a medical college and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue when an odd new student arrives on campus.

     The first time I was able to watch Re-Animator was when I was in high school. Yep, awkward times and situations abounded during that time, and I decided to try to become a wall flower to keep from being made fun of. Didn't work by the way. Anyway, one of my closest friends during the time invited me over to watch horror movies. That night was a double feature of Faces Of Death and Re-Animator. I'll remember it due to half-way through Faces Of Death my friend and I were both kinda grossed out by the movie and it was decided that to become un-grossed out was to order pizza. So we paused the movie and waited till said pizza got there then continued on with the movies for the night. Yep, greasy, extra cheese pizza was just what was needed to get through both movies as the deaths became more ridiculous and over the top, specially with Re-Animator and we laughed all the way through it. Okay, I'm positive I bored you all to death now, so on to the review!

     Now this is more like Jeffrey Combs. Playing a kooky, and completely mad, character. Comb's portrayal of Herbert West is just a joy to watch. He doesn't try to ham up his performance by really over-doing it, instead he just plays West as someone that knows he is smart and everyone around him isn't nearly at his level. Yet it is when he's trying to cover his ass when the dead start messing things up is when he is the most fun as you see he always has a plan or is always thinking of the next step to take. Now when talking about this movie, David Gale as Dr. Carl Hill has to be mentioned. From his holier than thou demeanor at the start to his creepy almost deep psychosis of lust for the dean's daughter, Gale plays the character as just almost pure evil from the start. The movie probably wouldn't work if it wasn't for Gales sleazy, perverted performance, specially once he loses his head. Literally. Daniel Cane, played by Bruce Abbott, is the one downplayed character in the movie, and it works. Here is a person thrust into a weird situation that he has never even comprehended before until he meets West, and is then completely out of his league around him in every aspect except strength, which doesn't really matter when he is faced with the re-animated dead which are twice as strong as he is.

     As for the look of the movie itself. For a low budget movie, it looked amazingly more expensive. This might have to do with there only really being 5 main sets, of which most are re-used throughout the movie. Yet this doesn't bother me a lot as what happens on screen grabs your full attention. The reason for this is because of the actors involved. While most movie makers would have tried to bring in more of a outrageous acting sensibility to all the characters, to me director Stuart Gordon it seems tried to reign in this possibility as just the premise of the movie should be enough. And it is thanks to Gordon that the movie is so over the top and doesn't care what people think, as not once does it try to apologize for what it does or is about to do. Part of this is the insane amount of gore throughout the entire run time of the movie. From the first eye popping scene to the last cut off arm, this movie is a gore hound's dream.

     While the movie is based on a Lovecraft story, it becomes it's own entity due to the dark and tongue in cheek humor throughout, usually thanks to Combs' snide comments and off hand remarks. While the movie is far from perfect, mostly due to pacing issues and one really bad scene involving Abbott and Barbara Crampton. Good thing about that said scene is the attack on Abbott's character as it gets the story rolling again and doesn't let up, as it just gets all the more over the top and heady. If a movie like this is made now, it would have to be released on DVD only as no theater would have it in today's politically correct environment which is a shame as everyone needs a good movie to watch that doesn't take itself seriously and has violence just for the sake of violence.

     Dr. Hill's eye piercing head-ache! 

      I was busy pushing bodies around as you well know and what would a note say, Dan? "Cat dead, details later"?

     Re-Animator is a loose adaptation of the H. P. Lovecraft story  Herbert West - Re-Animator.

     The special effects department went through 25 gallons of fake blood during the shoot.

     The first man who is re-animated at the morgue (who goes on to kill the dean) is Arnold Schwarzenegger's movie body double, Peter Kent.