Tuesday, September 10, 2013

the dunwich horror

In 1970, camp classic producer Roger Corman and co. adapted H.P. Lovecraft gothic tale "The Dunwich Horror" and turned it into a psychedelic B-movie.  Student Nancy Wagner (Sandra Dee) gets caught up with the mysterious Wilbur Whateley (Dean Stockwell) after she lets him see the Necronomicon book she was returning to the library (on display in a special glass case?!).  Nancy soon ends up going to Wilbur's mansion high in the hills in Dunwich.  She notices that the locals treat Wilbur with suspicion and animosity but before it's too late, she is quickly under his spell.

The Dunwich Horror is essentially early 70s American International Pictures junk food.  It starts out with a bang with an amazing Sandy Dvore title sequence set to a groovy, catchy Les Baxter theme.  The film deviates quite a bit from Lovecraft's story and the script (co-written by Curtis Hanson!) and pace is a bit muddled.  But there are some fun psychedelic freak-out montages.  I also enjoyed the inspired casting of golden blonde goody goody Dee.  The high-gloss horror atmosphere is perfect for fall and Halloween-time even if the movie is a bit of a bust.  It's likely Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead was inspired by this with the hallucinatory, almost comic imagery and the use of the Necronomicon.  **1/2

1 comment:

  1. This is such a fun movie! I also haven't seen it in so long. You are reawakening a whole list of revisits that will happen for me soon. Keep them coming!!!