Friday, August 5, 2011
NECRONOMICON (H. P. LOVECRAFT'S NECRONOMICON: BOOK OF THE DEAD) (NECRONOMICON: TO HELL AND BACK) (1993)
H.P. Lovecraft, the well-known horror writer, is looking in the late thirties after the book Necronomicon. He finds it guarded by monks in an old library. He then start copying stories from it, which unfold before his eyes.
It seems like a lifetime ago when I first saw the movie. I rented it so where the person I was seeing at the time and I could watch it. It seemed like a good choice considering she liked horror movies, as did I, but I got the added bonus of it being a movie based on stories by H. P. Lovecraft. When I originally watched it, I must say I wasn't that impressed. Now that the movie is two years shy of being 20 years old, and I haven't watched it in about 16 years, I thought it would be a good choice to go back and review it. As the movie is split up into four separate stories basically, I'm going to give a quick review of each segment. Yes. It will make the review longer, but I think it will make the review flow better instead of trying to cram to much into a overview of the whole movie.
THE LIBRARY (WRAPAROUND)
Directed by Brian Yuzna
Jeffrey Combs - H.P. Lovecraft
Even though this story is mostly just about Lovecraft reading some of the stories in the Necronomicon, it also bridges the whole movie together into one, as after each story it goes back to the library where Combs' character is copying stories from said book. The movie ends with Lovecraft disturbing the natural order of things, as do all who read out of the Necronomicon, and having to fight off multiple monsters. While Combs is the reason to watch these segments, it is also the weakest story wise in the movie. Even though monk stretching the bars is really cool, the whole end part is ruined really by a weak last creature that was suppose to be shocking, I think. But the dimension tunnel was really cool looking though it came from though.
Directed by Christophe Gans
Bruce Payne - Edward De Lapoer
A tale of death and failed resurrection. This story is the best acted of movie thanks to Bruce Payne, and his ability to display loss and regret without overdoing it, or chewing scenery. It also has the best creature in it of the whole movie. Even though Payne is the main strength of the story, it is the story itself that is a let down as it doesn't truly has the time to build up any real tension that it is trying to. Christophe Gans, who directed this segment, though adds a style that isn't seen anywhere else in the movie and doesn't try to go overboard with any real fancy shots and because of this, the story plays out nicely, though a little slow.
Directed by Shusuke Kaneko
David Warner - Dr. Madden
Bess Meyer - Emily Osterman
This segment is probably the most even of the four, yet it is also the most average at the same time. I should mention that most things I've seen David Warner in, he seemed to be playing almost the same character and the same can be said here as well (though I did really like him in Waxworks!) Warner plays a man that cannot be away from the cold for to long, less he starts to die. Even though Warner is the big name in this one, Bess Meyer is the main character as a abused runaway who is taken in by Warner's character who finds out that immortality has a price, and is infectious. The Cold also has the coolest death in the whole movie, even though the plot twist is easily seen.
Directed by Brian Yuzna
Signy Coleman - Sarah
Don Cafla - Mr. Benedict
I'll go ahead and say that the first time I saw the movie, this was the segment I hated the most. Now though, it's my favorite. The reason for this is that to me, it has the whole Lovecraftian atmosphere and otherness down pat. It is also the darkest of all four stories. Part of this has to do with Coleman's Sarah trying to figure out if she wants to keep her unborn baby while pursuing 'The Butcher'. It's because of her inability to keep work and home life separate, she in turn is responsible for the death of her lover. The story just has a creeping doom feel to it as you know that at each turn things will get worse, and does it ever. As a side note, this is the only segment that has the character going insane after all that has happened or is happening, which is a plus. Also Don Cafla is great in his role of the easily ignorant Mr. Benedict. Easily the bloodiest of the bunch as well.
While far from a perfect movie, Necronomicon is a fun anthology movie that has great ideals, but yet each segment has flaws that keep them from becoming great, so it just rests easily on the average side of horror movies.
Dr. Madden's gooey meltdown!
That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die.
The stories the segments are based on are:
The Drowned - The Rats In The Walls
The Cold - Cool Air
Whispers - The Whisperer In Darkness
Christophe Gans went on to direct the amazing Le Pacte Des Loups (Brotherhood Of The Wolf) and the under-rated Silent Hill.
Necronomicon has only been released on DVD in France as a double disc edition and Germany as a single disc release.
Shusuke Kaneko went on to direct Azumi 2: Death and Love and the two live action Death Note movies.