Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Re-animator and Dunwich Horror. Okay, don’t stop me, because I’m getting into them either way.
HERBERT WEST RE-ANIMATOR (2017)
If you’re a fan of Lovecraft, definitely check out this serious, stylish Italian adaptation. If you’re checking it out because you’re a huge fan of Re-Animator, forget completely that this film comes from the same source material…and that it has the name and the main character mentioned in the title.
This is a dark, artsy film that branches off in various directions that I found confusing at times. Even so, it really captures the gothic, macabre tone of genuine speculative horror rather than the crass camp of the 80s film.
More engrossing as a family focused horror, this one sees West trying to perfect the art of bringing his dead daughter back to life…by killing her over and over and over again until he gets it right.
But he doesn’t, and the daughter grows up to be…not right. She’s kind of psycho…
Making things even more complicated is the appearance of a few more family members, which leads to the experiments getting totally out of hand.
Just when you think things are trippy already, we end up in some sort of limbo—a desert setting featuring some freaky stop motion undead and a blood tub.
Won’t say I totally get it in the end, but it’s visually cool as hell.
WITCHES: THE DARKEST EVIL (aka: The Dunwich Horror) (2009)
As in the 1970 The Dunwich Horror, everyone in this film is looking for the Necromonicon. Even more similar…Dean Stockwell, star of the 1970 film, also stars in this one! You sucked me in with that stunt, filmmakers.
Not sure why it has been retitled to distance itself from the source material, but Witches: The Darkest Evil can’t seem to focus as it follows what are essentially separate storylines.
It also takes place in present day but looks half the time like it’s taking place in colonial times. Or maybe it does? Maybe there are different timelines between subplots? Or time travel? Or alternative planes? I don’t know, because I had as much success staying focused on this one as I do anything involving Lovecraft.
It opens with a pregnancy apparently gone gruesome, not that we get to see it.
10 years later, a couple moves into the same house, and their daughter becomes possessed. There’s a brief exorcism with demon eyes, demon voice, demon wall crawl, and a pyramid box found in the floor.
While they’re busy looking for the Necromonicon (I think to exorcise the possessed girl?), Jeffery Combs kidnaps a woman from a gas station.
Then he…I seriously couldn’t follow his story at all so I’m done talking about it other than to say I think a witch comes into play, although she just looks like Lady Gaga on the set of one of her music videos to me.
The movie kind of comes together at the end when the main group faces off against a cheesy creature that is guarding the gates to hell.
The effects are super cheesy 80s, which actually works for me, because it brings back memories of all the Lovecraft adaptations of that era.
Of course, other than them being awesome simply because they came from the 80s, I always found Lovecraft films of the 80s annoying.