The Dunwich Horror (Leigh Scott, 2009)
[note: review originally published 23Oct2009]
Did I really expect anything from an H. P. Lovecraft adaptation starring Jeffrey Combs (whose last worthwhile Lovecraft-based flick was Re-Animator twenty-odd years ago) and directed by the guy who brought us such deathless cinematic classics as Flu Bird Horror and Hillside Cannibals? Not really, and yet for some reason I still watched this pile of garbage. I think I did so because Dean Stockwell, so creepily effective in the 1970 adaptation, comes back here in a different role. Still, I shouldn’t have bothered. This is just as terrible as I expected given that Leigh Scott’s name is attached to it.
If you know your Lovecraft, the story will be familiar (though with a few deviations, as usual): a couple of occultists (Dean Stockwell, who played Wilbur in the 1970 adaptation of this movie, and The Beast of Bray Road‘s Sarah Lieving) and the obligatory skeptic (Griff Furst, very familiar to watchers of Sci Fi Channel Original Movies over the past half-decade) are trying to close a portal that will let the Old Ones into our world to enslave us, eat us, or otherwise make our existences less convenient in some way. (The old ones are already here. They’re politicians.) Standing in the way is the crazy Whateley family, who are working for/related to the Old Ones, headed up by Wilbur (Combs), who’s actually only ten years old, but thanks to the accelerated aging process that comes from being a human son of Cthulhu, actually looks like he’s forty. (Actually, given the makeup job, he looks about sixty. But I digress.) Yeah, pretty straightforward.
The Japanese, so fond of this kind of nomenclature, have a word for tentacle porn. I can’t remember what it is off the top of my head, but when it comes right down to it, the vast majority of Lovecraft adaptations suffer from an obsessive love of tentacle porn. One review I read of the film just now started with “One day, there will be a big budget adaptation of an H. P. Lovecraft story…”. No, there won’t. Not until you get a script written by someone who’s not obsessed with tentacle porn. And the usual suspects (Stuart Gordon, Brian Yuzna, now you can add Leigh Scott to the list) can’t seem to think about anything else most of the time. Hey, guys? Lovecraft was one of the folks who understood that whole “off-camera is scarier” thing. You don’t. Give it up. Please. The Cthulhu effects in this movie made me giggle like a schoolgirl. (And not one from Urotsukidoji.) In case you were wondering, that’s not a good thing.
There is nothing at all I can possibly come up with to recommend this movie to you unless you really, really have nothing else to do with an hour and a half of your life. Avoid. *
Bloody hell. Trailer.