|Copyright 1992 Scotti Brothers Pictures
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 13 July 2007
- John March - John Terry! Private investigator who needs to learn that shaking hands with someone holding a scalpel is a bad idea. It is a better choice than french kissing a woman who has a grenade in her mouth. If you ever run into a situation where you have to choose one or the other, pick the handshake.
- Claire Ward - Girls, there is a reason why your father wants to meet the man you intend to marry. Our job is to make sure he is not the sort of guy who will get you pregnant and then run off to practice black magic while you raise the kid on your own.
- Charles Dexter Ward - Chris Sarandon! Followed the dark road of genealogy and paid the price in flesh.
- Lonnie - Eaten because he dropped the lantern. Dropping the lantern is bad when it is the sole source of illumination in a dark crypt. Especially if the floor has deep pits filled with abominations impossible for the human mind to comprehend.
- Holly - Don't you feel stupid for telling Lonnie that quitting smoking would make him live longer?
- Joseph Curwen - Chris Sarandon (again)! Charles' reincarnated ancestor who must consume large quantities of raw meat and blood to survive. Not exactly the sort of grandpa you invite to birthday parties. Flayed apart by unnatural forces.
- The Things in the Cellar - Not entirely unsuccessful experiments at bringing the dead back to life. They are hideous, misshapen beasts. Blown to smithereens.
|Translating Lovecraft's ideas to film has gotten the best of many people. It boils down to the fact that a well-crafted Cthulhu Mythos story works by invoking the dark fears that dwell at the periphery of our conscious thought. The writer sets a stage, leaving it for the reader to populate with things that go bump in the night. These horrors are not always clearly defined; they share much with the shadowy terrors that haunt our nightmares. I do not know about you, but my nightmare denizens are more vague impressions than crystal clear, count-the-teeth-and-tentacles, monsters. Film does not work like books, because the film must show you something (well, unless it is a movie about invisible dinosaurs). The trick is setting the right atmosphere, showing enough of the eldritch monstrosities that exist in dark places to satisfy the viewer, but still leaving some things to the audience's imagination. Oh, and conveying the characters' feelings of horror and helplessness when faced with forces beyond mortal comprehension. The "What have I gotten myself into?" and "Can I escape before it eats me or worse?" reaction.
"The Resurrected" opens with a promising scene. Orderlies and a doctor are summoned to a room in a mental hospital. A janitor with a mop (they need a mop - not good) repeats over and over that he refuses to go inside and I can understand his panic. The room is a charnel house; blood and gore cover most of the floor and an inexplicable pile of black ash is near the center of the room. How did this come to pass? Brace yourself, because the remainder of the story is a flashback.
Claire walks into the March Detective Agency and asks John to find out what her husband is doing. She describes him as acting strangely and working late at night in the old carriage house that he turned into a laboratory. Only, he was not just working late. Strange lights would flicker in the windows and howling cries would issue from the place. After Claire had confronted her husband, he abruptly moved out and took everything to a dilapidated old house in the country. His only companion was the strange man he called "Doctor Ash."
Why would Charles convert the spare building into a laboratory for hellish experiments? Give me a rustic carriage house to play with and you will find it filled with bean bag chairs, a bar, and a home theater setup for watching movies. If my wife hears screams coming from it in the dead of night she would know it was just me and the guys watching "Angry Red Planet."
In the course of his investigation, John realizes that Mr. Ward is not doing anything so harmless as screening horror films. The old house in the country has been in the Ward family for generations, and a miasma hangs in the air around the dwelling. In addition to disturbing the neighbors with dreadful sounds in the night, Charles has been ordering prodigious quantities of raw meat and blood from slaughterhouses. After the neighbor is found dead and missing most of his flesh, the private investigator and Claire know that something is horribly wrong. Distraught as she might be, the little lady is able to tell John about the mysterious trunk that was mailed to her husband. Its contents were what started Charles down his dark road.
Eventually, the police are involved and get a search warrant for the Ward house. Charles comes across as a complete madman and is taken to a mental hospital. Soon after this, John discovers an old diary that is hidden in the padding of the trunk. The diary dates back to the early 1770's. On its pages are horrible truths that other colonists discovered about Joseph Curwen, one of Charles' biological ancestors. The flashback scenes are well done, including a hideous fleshy thing that was fished out of a rain-swollen river by frightened townsfolk. They immediately purged the Ward homestead with fire and rifles, but Curwen's wife was already gravid with his child. Thus, Charles has a direct link to the tainted ancestor.
All of this makes some sort of sense to John. Accompanied by Claire, Lonnie, and C-4, he returns to the Ward house and descends into the basement. They find a secret portal that is covered by a large steel hatch. The tunnel leads straight down into antediluvian catacombs beneath the house. The smell of death permeates the dungeon; the frightened explorers come upon an entire wall of old jars containing the powdery remains of evil wizards and a dusty library filled with tomes about the black arts. What they find next is much worse. They discover why Charles needed all that raw meat - it was to feed his failed experiments. Things lurk in the dark recesses of the tunnels; things that should not be alive but yet live and breathe. Things that look like waterlogged, rotting human bodies, but animated. These loathsome abominations are all the more horrifying, because even a glimpse of them tells the viewer that they cannot be entirely human. John and Claire escape from the hellhole under the house. Poor Lonnie is consumed by something in the dark.
I was impressed by the feel of the movie while the trio is down in that hellish cellar. Not only does it convey a sense of the dark, close environment, but you feel the characters' apprehension. The musical score throughout the movie also does a fine job of creating a believable atmosphere. It is not blaring and does not force the mood; instead, the music subtly influences the viewer's perception of the scenes.
John leaves behind C-4 charges with radio-activated detonators as he pulls Claire to safety. He must have put in a series of relays to carry the signal into the subterranean vaults, too, because the old Ward homestead turns into a fireball when he presses the master switch from a safe distance away. All that is left is for the stoic investigator to confront Charles Ward. Except, by now John knows that it is not Charles; he was killed and eaten. The beast in the padded room is Joseph Curwen. Quite unfortunately, the final confrontation between John and the undead ancestor is a disappointing aspect of the film. It was the type of ending you would expect from a television show episode, not one of the best Lovecraft mythos films made to date. Not terrible, but clearly below the standard that "The Resurrected" maintained for the previous ninety minutes.
The segment set in the period just prior to the American Revolution inspired a strange thought in my mind. I am glad that a careless scribe did not accidentally include parts of the Necronomicon in the Declaration of Independence. "One nation, under Cthulhu" does not have the same ring to it. (Yes, I know that the Constitution might be more fitting for my joke. Get thee hence, thou pedantic cur.)
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- A wet/dry vac is worth its weight in gold if you dwell in Lovecraft's universe.
- Cosmetics testing has its roots in pagan rituals.
- Pools of dog blood are something that OSHA frowns upon in the workplace.
- Never, ever fall asleep with your tie still on.
- Another must in the world of Lovecraft is to wear your seatbelt.
- Dead people suffer from high metabolism.
- C-4 is just like breadcrumbs, except it explodes.
- Spontaneous human combustion can result if you do not follow the usage guidelines on the label of a resurrection potion.
- 2 mins - It was a dark and stormy night...
- 9 mins - So, would that be a "No" or what?
- 24 mins - I think that you should hang it in the guest bedroom.
- 39 mins - And, just in case you did not know, sodium pentothal does not work on matter.
- 58 mins - RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WINDOWS!
- 70 mins - Make sure you bring two flashlights and a crowbar the next time you venture into a dark crypt.
- 76 mins - I thought that they stopped making "My First Black Magic Set" years ago.
- Gas Station Owner: "Just keep your window down. The smell will take you right up the driveway."
John: "Smell? What kind of smell?"
Gas Station Owner: "Like that dog - smells like death."
- Curwen: "And how fares my domain?"
John: "I blew it up. Um, 'fraid so. I blew the s**t out of it, and if you ever want to go home again you're going to have to do it with a shovel."
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Claire: "The police came to our house last night and they asked me questions." |
John: "About what?"
Claire: "About contraband that they found in Charles' possession."
John: "What sort of contraband?"
Claire: "Apparently, remains from cemeteries."
||John: "Actually, I'd like to know what kind of research you might be doing out here. What kind of chemicals you might be using. I noticed a very peculiar smell." |
Charles: "The smell is from the remains of lab animals that I haven't cremated yet."
||Lonnie: "...and a bunch of other names I can't even pronounce. You want to guess what all these individuals had in common?" |
John: "They're all dead?"
Lonnie: "They were all wizards, magicians, or occult scholars."
John: "What's the street value of wizards' bones?"
||Curwen: "I must have raw meat. Not disgusting, seared, burnt flesh. It is the blood; I must have the blood! Your kitchen drains the blood from the meat!"
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|John, Claire, and Lonnie have just found the deep pits in the catacombs beneath the Ward house and make a wise decision to leave the cursed place. Unfortunately, they encounter one of the misshapen things that Charles resurrected.
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |