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October Horror Day 2

Horror Journal

Today I’m going to watch three films based on the stories of H.P. Lovecraft all directed by Stuart Gordon with screenplays by written by Dennis Paoli and produced by Brian Yuzna.

Re-Animator

This is a gory blast of H.P. Lovecraft that captures the spirit of the Herbert West Re-Animator short stories. Jeffery Combs is amazing as the highly-driven egotistical mad scientist with the nasty sense of humour. He is determined to conquer death and his research has led to him to develop a reagent that when injected into the dead brings them back to life.

Herbert has many impediments standing in the way of his research but he takes care of them with ruthless efficiency. I like the way he ensnares Dan Cain into his schemes then just keeps dragging him down further. The climax is just a pure blast of the over the top tastelessness with body parts flying around, graphic nudity and sexual abuse by headless corpse. It’s not for everyone but it’s one of my favourites

From Beyond

While I never had any trouble getting a copy of Re-Animator the company who owned this seemed to be in no hurry to put this out on DVD so I’m glad they finally got round to putting it out on Bluray. Barbara Crampton and Jeffrey Combs are back but in very different roles that are almost a reversal of the characters they played in Re-Animator. Jeffrey is Crawford Tillinghast a physicist who was assisting mad scientist Dr Pretorious to develop his resonator, a device designed to see beyond the normal dimensions of space and time. The experiment succeeds but Pretorious ends up dead with his head twisted off and Tillinghast is locked away in a psychiatric hospital for telling the police what he saw. He is taken back to the house by psychiatrist Dr Katherine McMichaels, played by Barbara Crampton, to show her what happened to Pretorious and they are accompanied by a very large cop called Bubba Brownlee played by Ken Foree. Crawford shows them.the resonator in operation and proves his innocence but McMichaels becomes obsessed by the resonator, putting them all in danger From Beyond.

In this film it is Jeffrey Combs who plays the innocent caught up in the madness of Barbara Crampton’s obsession. I liked the little touches of humour in the film, especially from Ken Foree but there are also things like the chalk outlines by the police being a little too accurate. The creature design is very reminiscent of The Thing.

Dagon

This is does have some Dagon references in it but the story is actually a pretty faithful adaptation of the story A Shadow over Innsmouth. There’s a much large gap between  this than the other two films and it clearly been made in cooperation with a Spanish production company, explaining the relocation of the setting to Spain  Paul Marsh (Ezra Godden stading in for Jeffrey Combs) and his wife Barbara are holidaying on a yacht owned by their friends Vicki and Howard just off the coast of Spain when a storm drives the yacht in a reef. Vicki is trapped and injures her leg so Paul and Barbara take the life raft to the nearby coastal town of Imbucco to get help. There they find the residents are all hostile to strangers and many are strangely deformed. Barbara goes missing and Paul finds himself pursued by the locals in a town that seems to always wet, with the rain falling constantly and many houses flooded. He finds out what’s going on from an old drunk out refuses to believe it until he comes across the strange woman who has haunted his dreams and discovers his destiny lies in Imbucco.

The film has a really intense atmosphere with constant heavy rain – Ezra Godden was almost always wet. The make-up effects were pretty good but the CGI near the end was not very good and I’m glad it was used sparingly. Francisco Rabal is great at the old drunk Ezekiel

 

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Posted by on October 2, 2013 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Film review: Re-Animator

This is one of my favourite films, a classic H.P. Lovecraft adaptation from director Stuart Gordon and producer Brian Yuzna.

Synopsis: Herbert West  (Jeffrey Combs) is an obsessed medical researcher who enrolls in Miskatonic University to continue his research into bringing the dead back to life. He blackmails his room-mate Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) into assisting him in his research by threatening to reveal Dan’s relations with Megan Halsey (Barbara Crampton), daughter of the university’s Dean. When Dan naïvely tells Dean Halsey Robert Sampson) about their research he threatens to expel them. West is determined to keep going so they sneak into the hospital morgue to continue their research but are disturbed by the Dean who is killed by an out of control reanimated corpse. To cover up his death West reanimates the Dean. The Dean’s condition as violent mindless zombie raises the suspicions of Megan and university professor Dr Hill (David Gale). Hill tries to force West to turn over his research to him but instead West cuts off his head. West then reanimates Hill’s head and body but Hill is far from helpless and he escapes to plan his revenge.

There is so much about this film that I love. Combs is just marvellous as Herbert West, playing him as an amoral monster.Most of  the humour in the film comes from the vicious contempt West shows to everyone else, especially towards Megan and Dr Hill. David Gale gives great performance as Hill, a man desperate to stay top dog. Bruce Abbott is very pleasant to look at and I’m sure others will say the same about Barbara Crampton

The effects are probably a little dated but I don’t think that detracts from this film at all. Modern CGI effects rarely disgust me like these older effects still manage to. I think fluids like pus and vomit gore are still better as real fake fluids than any CGI equivalent I have seen to date especially when they are dripping from an actor.

Another thing I like is the wonderful score by Richard Band, a theme that builds in tension then decays into madness perfectly matching this film

I read the original Lovecraft story “Herbert West – Re-Animator” after watching this film and I was surprised to find that the film was toned down quite a lot from the book. I suppose I should warn those concerned that this film is violent, gory and has some nudity in it.

Rating   10/10

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000NO1U70

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089885/

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in Entertainment, Film

 

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