Thursday, August 18, 2011
THE RESURRECTED (SHATTERBRAIN) (1992)
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.