H.P. Lovecraft is a true horror icon in every sense of the word. His timeless classics can be told to generation after generation and still be entertaining and wonderful. His legacy lives on through directors/writers like John Carpenter, Stuart Gordon, Stephen King, Brian Yuzna, Christophe Gans, and Shusuke Kaneko. Jeffery Combs has proven to be the quintessential Lovecraftian actor and rightly has a proper seat in this film. The stories selected are fantastic and they serve this movie very well. The whole concept of bringing different directors together to tell Lovecraft stories really interests me and I hope it would interest you too.
The film is broken into multiple stories with a wraparound story to hold it together. Jeffery Combs plays H.P. Lovecraft who is doing research on his stories? Combs apparently didn't enjoy his portrayal but I think he does pretty well. Lovecraft stays late at one of these elaborate mausoleum-type libraries that are open apparently twenty-four hours. It's run by some strange druids.
The first tale is a really neat period piece that features Bruce Payne as
Edward De LaPoer a rich, spoiled inheritor that receives an old family hotel. His families history is tragic and this hotel houses most of the tragedy.
Jethro De La Poer, the great grandfather had lost both his wife and child, when they drowned after a boat crash. Jethro uses the Necronomicon to bring back his wife and child but they come back as hidious, unholy creatures!
The second story is about a strange series of murders being investigated by some shifty little gonad, Dale Porkle. Porkle smarms his way into an interview with the supposed daughter of the heroine of our tale. The story talks about her mother and a Doctor Richard Madden that had been experimenting with extending life itself by using the fresh spinal fluid from his victims.
The third story is about police officers that are on the case of murderer named "The Butcher". While on a chase, The Butcher seeks refuse in a warehouse after apparently knocking out and dragging off one of the officers. While the other officer, Sarah, investigates the warehouse and comes upon Mr. Benedict the "caretaker" of the facility and his flamboyant "wife." She demands that Benedict take her around the facility to find her partner and The Butcher. This is where it gets weird. Aliens. Tunnels. Mass Graves. It's pretty neat.
The film wraps up with the wraparound story of Lovecraft and his library. The final segment plays out more like Indiana Jones than anything it was building to. We get giant monsters and a ton of adventure in a great little piece.
The film is pretty fantastic. I can't find any flaws other than the obvious ones left by the monetary restrictions. Other than Re-Animator it is the greatest Lovecraftian film I have reviewed to date. It really delivers the gore and keeps your interest all the way through.
Did ya know...
Necronomicon was well received upon its initial VHS release in the USA, but did substantially better in European and Asian markets. With regards to the acting, one reviewer said that 'Payne is especially effective because of his suppression of his tortured grief, adding considerable power to his scenes'. The film won the award for the best special effects at the 1994 Fantafestival. In their book Lurker in the Lobby: A Guide to the Cinema of H. P. Lovecraft, Andrew Migliore and John Strysik write: "Unfortunately, it does not deliver on what should have been a great idea. In fact the film loses focus, speed, and atmosphere after the first segment, "The Drowned," almost as though the production had run out of money and time."