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Lovecraft Movies

This list includes movies that are adaptations of stories written by Lovecraft. (Note that links on movie titles lead to The Internet Movie Database.)

Bride of Re-Animator (1990)
Both Jeffrey Combs and Bruce Abbott return in this mediocre sequel to Re-Animator, which actually owes more to The Bride of Frankenstein. However, some scenes, including the final one in the tomb of the Averills, were directly inspired by the original story, “Herbert West—Reanimator”. (Purchase on DVD from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)
The Crimson Cult (1968)
Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, and Barbara Steele star in this film which is ostensibly based on Lovecraft’s “The Dreams in the Witch House”. This is one of Karloff’s last films (if not the last). (Purchase on Blu-ray from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)
The Curse (1987)
The presence of Wil Wheaton, Claude Akins, and John Schneider don’t bode well for this dull adaptation of Lovecraft’s “The Colour out of Space”. Inexplicably, the location of the story was moved to Tellico Plains, Tennesee, and the family name was changed to Hayes. (Purchase on DVD from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)
Dagon (2001)
Based more on “The Shadow over Innsmouth” than on “Dagon”, Ezra Godden plays the protagonist and Francisco Rabal plays a difficult-to-understand version of Zadok Allen. The setting is terrific and the film is better looking than earlier Gordon productions, but the chase scene from “The Shadow over Innsmouth” is strung out for much of the film yet lacks the manic energy of other Gordon films. (Purchase on DVD from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)
Die, Monster, Die! (1965)
Also known as Monster of Terror, this film takes Lovecraft’s “The Colour out of Space” and emphasizes the science-fiction aspects rather than the horror. Boris Karloff stars as scientist Nahum Witley, as opposed to farmer Nahum Gardner. This film is another example of a classic horror actor crippled by an awful script. (Purchase from Amazon.com on (Purchase on Blu-ray from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble, on DVD with The Dunwich Horror from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble, or on DVD from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)
The Dunwich Horror (1970)
Many of the elements of Lovecraft’s “The Dunwich Horror” were kept intact, including several of the character names: Wilbur Whateley (Dean Stockwell), Dr. Henry Armitage (Ed Begley, Sr.), Lavinia Whateley (Joanne Moore Jordan), and Old Wizard Whateley (Sam Jaffe). However, the addition of a female lead (Sandra Dee) and psychedelic special effects end up making this film pretty average. (Purchase on DVD with Die, Monster, Die! from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble or on DVD from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)
From Beyond (1986)
Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton of Re-Animator fame return in another Brian Yuzna and Stuart Gordon horror-fest. The events of Lovecraft’s short story “From Beyond” effectively take place before the opening credits roll, thus this fairly entertaining film could be considered a sequel to the story. (Watch online at Hulu; purchase on Blu-ray from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble or on DVD from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)
The Haunted Palace (1963)
For marketing reasons, director Roger Corman named this film after an Edgar Allan Poe poem, but it is actually based on Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. Vincent Price stars as Charles Dexter Ward and Lon Chaney, Jr. stars as Simon Orne, but even these veteran actors can’t raise this film very far above average. Instead of Price acting in a dual role as both Ward and Joseph Curwen, the spirit of Curwen possesses him. (Purchase on DVD with The Tower of London from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)
Lurking Fear (1994)
One of the poorer Lovecraft adaptations yet, this film is only loosely based on Lovecraft’s “The Lurking Fear”. Other than the town of Lefferts Corners and the presence of the degenerate Martense family, this film bears little resemblance to the original story. Even the manic performance of Lovecraftian actor Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator and From Beyond) and Hellraiser’s Ashley Lauren[ce] can’t save this terrible film. (Purchase on DVD from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)
Necronomicon (1993)
An anthology of three tales, with an unintentionally laughable wrapper story called “The Library” featuring Jeffrey Combs as Lovecraft himself. Combs obtains a copy of the Necronomicon and is apparently reading these three tales from it! The first segment, “The Drowned,” is based very loosely on “The Rats in the Walls” and has a few genuinely atmospheric moments—but no rats! The second segment, “The Cold,” is based a little more solidly on “Cool Air” and stars David Warner, but a female protagonist was added. The last segment, “Whispers,” was supposedly based on “The Whisperer in Darkness”, but apparently underwent so much revision that the resemblance was lost. Altogether, a very average film. (Purchase on VHS from Amazon.com.)
Re-Animator (1985)
Despite taking enormous liberties with Lovecraft’s “Herbert West—Reanimator”, this is one of the most entertaining and financially successful of Lovecraft films. Produced by Brian Yuzna and directed by Stuart Gordon, this scary and funny film stars Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West, Bruce Abbott as Dan Cain, Barbara Crampton as Megan Halsey, and David Gale as Doctor Carl Hill. (Purchase on Blu-ray from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble or on DVD from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)
The Resurrected (1992)
Based on Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, this film is perhaps the most faithful Lovecraft film to date. Directed by Dan O’Bannon (who wrote the script for Alien) and starring Chris Sarandon (The Sentinel and The Princess Bride) as Charles Dexter Ward and Joseph Curwen. The scenes in the tunnels beneath Curwen’s house are especially impressive. (Purchase on Blu-ray from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble or on DVD from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)
The Unnamable (1988)
Little more than a monster-kills-teenagers-having-sex movie, this film does manage to incorporate a few Lovecraftian references and the Necronomicon, although its relationship to Lovecraft’s “The Unnamable” are minimal. (Purchase on VHS from Amazon.com.)
The Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter (1993)
Taking place immediately after the events of The Unnamable, this sequel incorporates more elements of its namesake, “The Statement of Randolph Carter” than its forerunner. Still, these elements do not make up the foremost portion of the film, and the presences of John Rhys-Davies and David Warner don’t make this any better than an above-average film. (Purchase on DVD from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)
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