Monday, August 6, 2012
THE UNNAMABLE (H.P. LOVECRAFT'S THE UNNAMABLE) (1988)
Directed by Jean-Paul Ouellette
Charles Klausmeyer - Howard Damon
Mark Kinsey Stephenson - Randolph Carter
Alexandra Durrell - Tanya Heller
Back in the 1800's a lady gives birth to a monster. The creature brutally slaughters it's family, and gets trapped in a vault. Jump to present day and some college students have heard the story about the Unnamable and want to check out the vault... or at least that's how it's supposed to go.
For Lovecraft month (which is what I call the month of August) I try to review films and shorts that center around the Lovecraft Mythos. Some of what I review will be films based on Lovecraft's works, while others will be inspired by the stories of H. P. Lovecraft. With that there are going to be films that stand out and others that I just want to throw across the room or try to just forget I saw. Just because I like Lovecraft's works doesn't mean I'll out and out like the film or short. In fact, I'm more critical of these type of films more than all others.
Let me start out by saying that Mark Kinsey Stephenson as Randolph Carter was the best part of the film. There's as snarkiness to the character that isn't meant to be mean, and for a change the character doesn't seem mean. This is due to Stephenson who knows how to handle his lines and make them fun instead cruel. The rest of the cast is adequate at best. This is mostly due to it being a younger cast that more than likely didn't understand the source material which the movie was based on.
The story for the movie starts out with the past as we learn a little bit about Joshua Pitts and his death from his daughter who he has tried to keep locked up to no success. We are then thrown forward over 200 years and told what has just happened. The first of the problems with the film just happened, and I'm thinking of turning it off. But no, I continue on because I started it, and damnit I will finish it. Later on we are introduced to characters and I call who's going to die right away with out a second thought. Within 10 minutes of calling who's going to die I'm proven correct. The rest of the film is for the most part a pain to watch as it quickly degenerates into a frat boy wanting to have sex with the freshmen college girls. And like any movie made in the '80s it follows the sex equals death playbook. The only story part that was truly any fun was the grave yard conversation between Randolph Carter, Howard Damon, and Joel Manton.
Besides for the script that is at most rather boring, the one other bright spot in the movie was the set itself. It was well built, if not sparsely decorated for no one really having been in the house for long time. The deaths in the film actually aren't bad surprisingly, yet it seemed as if the film makers focused to much of their attention on this part and forgot that story is just as important as the gore in a horror film. But the biggest flaw in the movie is the creature. I have never seen a rubber suit look so terrible in a film that I can remember as you can see it bunch up in most scenes. If they have kept the Unnamble in shadows the movie could have worked a lot better. Another problem is the sound design that was used for most of the movie as there is almost a constant phase issue with the audio which get's annoying after about the first two minutes of the movie. If there is anyway you can avoid this I would say do what you can to save you the hour plus you would lose if you were to watch this as this movie had so much potential yet it dropped the ball almost every chance it got.
Joshua Withrop's less than sanitary open palm surgery.
It cannot be described!
As of 2011, the film has still not been officially released on DVD.
The film was followed by 1993's The Unnamable Returns, also known as The Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter.