The Resurrected (1991)

The ResurrectedCharles Dexter Ward is showing increasingly bizarre behaviour, and his wife Claire hires a private investigator to look into his strange affairs. The investigator, John March, starts peeking around the isolated farmhouse which Charles recently started using after uncovering his family history and discovering that this abandoned farmhouse belonged to his ancestor. Said ancestor’s name was Joseph Curwen, to whom Charles bears an uncanny resemblance. John notices that there are numerous deliveries made to the place, and upon asking Charles himself, he explains that he is undertaking some chemical tests where he uses animal cadavers. While certainly showing off eccentric behaviour, there’s nothing John can use here to offer any explanations to the worried wife. Then, after a man in a neighboring house ends up brutally murdered, where his remains have been attacked and eaten as if by a crazed animal, John starts to believe it’s not a coincidence. He brings Claire with him to the farm in order to confront Charles, but find him in a state where he ends up committed to a hospital. The doctors find that his metabolism is inexplicably high, which causes him to become extremely hungry, and his cravings are for blood and raw meat. John decides he must uncover the secrets of the old farmhouse and what Charles was doing at the place.


The Resurrected (aka The Ancestor and Shatterbrain) is a 1991 horror film directed by Dan O`Bannon, and it’s an adaption of the H.P. Lovecraft novella The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. The screenwriter, Brent V. Friedman, had developed a version of the script which was titled Shatterbrain, while O`Bannon wrote his own ideas and had imagined the title to be The Ancestor. Friedman’s script was mainly used, but O`Bannon also incorporated some of his own ideas into the movie. Interstar Releasing planned for a wide theatrical release in 1991, but they went bankrupt before it could happen and thus it ended up straight to video in 1992. This movie was O`Bannon’s second and final movie as a director, after his directorial debut in 1985 with The Return of the Living Dead.


The Resurrected is not the first film to be based on Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. In 1963, Roger Corman made a film called The Haunted Palace, starring Vincent Price, which also provides a take on this story but very loosely and mixed with the Edgar Allan Poe’s story by the same name as the film. I haven’t yet seen this one, so can make no comparisons here. I have read the Lovecraft novella, and while it should go without saying that movie adaptions rarely manages to capture the essence of horror and wonder in Lovecraft’s stories (there are, of course, exceptions), this movie actually does follow the original story for the most part, just setting it in more modern times. Many Lovecraft adaptions tend to change so much that the original story is barely recognizable, and some just doesn’t really do the original stories justice. However, this is something I’ve come to terms with a long time ago, I don’t expect any Lovecraft adaption to be on par with the source material. I just want to be entertained. And some of the movie adaptions (both the decent and the bad ones) often manages to do exactly that, so I’m not gonna complain.


Now, most horror movie fans are well aware of O`Bannon’s The Return of the Living Dead, and have most likely witnessed some of his screenplay work in several of the movies in the Alien franchise, and other horror films like Lifeforce. Just like the original Lovecraft story, it starts in a mental asylum where Charles is incarcerated, and then the story moves backwards in order tell what happened. It’s set up a bit like a detective mystery, with a pretty blonde wife begging the investigator for help and all. Set in the modern times, which were the 90’s when the movie was made, works well enough. The opening scene which includes a bit of blood and gore before getting a scene where the investigator starts retelling his experience, helps fuel the story as the next parts are, unfortunately, a little bit too slow before it finally picks up the pace and delivers.


While there were some issues with the pacing, the viewing experience was upheld by a constant feeling of mystery. You keep wondering what Charles has been doing at the farmhouse, but it takes a little too much time to actually get there. Once secrets are revealed we get some really nice shots of monstrous creatures and a hellish underground basement lab. While apparently trying to veer away from your typical B-Horror cheeseflick with a more serious approach, there’s no doubt that once the blood, guts, and otherworldly creatures fill the screen we get to see that this movie doesn’t stray too far away from the B-movie range. And I mean that in a positive way, of course. Originally, O`Bannon actually planned for the movie to have more humor, but it was re-edited and re-cut which removed this, much to his disapproval.


Despite a few flaws, The Resurrected is a decent horror film with an ominous mystery-fueled atmosphere, great creature-effects by Todd Masters, and a fitting music score by Richard Band.


The Resurrected The Resurrected The Resurrected


Director: Dan O’Bannon
Writer: Brent V. Friedman
Country & year: US, 1991
Actors: John Terry, Jane Sibbett, Chris Sarandon, Robert Romanus, Laurie Briscoe, Ken Camroux-Taylor, Patrick P. Pon, Bernard Cuffling, J.B. Bivens, Robert Sidley, Des Smiley, Eric Newton


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Castle Freak (2020)

Castle FreakRebecca “Becca” Riley is a young woman who was blinded in a car accident. The accident happened due to her boyfriend driving under the influence, and naturally their relationship has become quite strained. One day, Becca is contacted by an estate agent in Albania, telling her that she’s inherited a castle from her biological mother Lavinia Whateley. Becca, of course, is very exited about having inherited a castle, and while her boyfriend wants her to quickly sell the castle, Becca wants to learn more about her biological mother once she’s visiting the place. Upon arriving there, she starts hearing strange sounds and has visions, and her relationship with her boyfriend becomes even more strained when he just decided to invite four of his friends to come along without asking her about it first. One of these “friends” being a woman he’s been flirting with, as if the a-hole alert wasn’t already strong enough with this character. Among the group is also The Professor, who has been studying the occult and is the only person to actually believe Becca when she tells him about her experiences. Since she has had no contact with her mother and knows nothing about her or the castle she’s just inherited, she is of course also oblivious to what happens to live there…


Castle Freak is a 2020 American horror film directed by Tate Steinsiek, and is some kind of remake/reboot of the 1995 Stuart Gordon film by the same name, which are both loose adaptions of the Lovecraft story The Outsider. With emphasis on the word “loose”. While the first movie barely has anything to do with the Lovecraft story, this movie has a lot of references to all kinds of Lovecraftian stuff. As for the similarities, both are pure B-shlock entertainment, but the first one focused more on atmosphere and had a certain modest 90’s horror romp charm, while this remake adds more gore, tits and Lovecraft references. We get to know that one of the elder gods, Yog-Sothoth, is supposed to be summoned, something that was never any part at all of the original movie.


This remake of Castle Freak is a very different freak than the first movie, in many ways. I wouldn’t really recommend it just because of the Lovecraft references, as they honestly feel somewhat forced…one of the elder gods is supposed to be summoned, there’s a character which has attended the Miskatonic Universtity, the Necronomicon suddenly pops into their hands, Becca’s mother was named Lavinia…yeesh, those Lovecraftian tentacles are all over the place. Those who liked the original from 1995 will find that this one is very different, and this will likely be off-putting for some. Still, the movie offers some decent cinematography, locations and production design. Gorehounds may also enjoy the additional gore added compared to the first. So overall, it can be considered a primitively entertaining B-horror flick, just don’t expect any masterpiece. It’s shlock and sleaze, pure and simple.


Castle Freak Castle Freak Castle Freak


Director: Tate Steinsiek
Writers: Kathy Charles, H.P. Lovecraft
Country & year: US, 2020
Actors: Clair Catherine, Jake Horowitz, Kika Magalhães, Chris Galust, Emily Sweet, Omar Shariff Brunson Jr., Elisha Pratt, Genti Kame, Klodian Hoxha, Klodjana Keco, Josif Sina, Enkel Gurakuqi, Genc Fuga



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Glorious (2022)

Glorious Wes is driving at random after seemingly having a lot of trouble getting over his ex Brenda, and eventually stops his car at a roadside rest stop. He decides to stay there for the night, brings out the bottle and gets shitfaced to the point of blackout, and during the process he burns several of his possessions, including his pants. Yeah, that’s probably going to make everything so much better, right? Well, in the morning he wakes up on the ground, ready to empty his bowels and stumbles into the nearby restroom. He soon finds out that he is not alone in there, as another man starts speaking to him from one of the closed stalls. This conversation quickly grows uncomfortable for Wes, as this “man” claims to be a demigod by the name Ghatanothoa. Wes tries to leave, but finds that the door is sealed shut, and he’s got not other option than to listen to the so-called demigod and find out what it wants from him.


Glorious is a 2022 sci-fi comedy horror film directed by Rebekah McKendry, starring Ryan Kwanten in the leading role and J.K. Simmons as the voice actor for Ghatanothoa. Oh, and for those who may not already have guessed that this is a Lovecraftian movie: Ghatanothoa is said to be the firstborn of Cthulhu which first appeared in the 1953 story Out of the Aeons, which was ghostwritten by H. P. Lovecraft for Hazel Heald.


As you also may have guessed from the description alone, this movie is a real oddball for sure. Since the locations are very limited, the acting is essential here which fortunately comes off as quite decent and believable, with J.K. Simmons delivering a carefully balanced performance as the demigod. The comedy elements are often more subtle and dark, which I personally found fortunate as this heightened the weirdness without making it exhausting. It’s easy to get curious about this Wes character, why he’s taking the breakup with his ex Brenda so badly yet seemingly having been somehow to blame, based on a few snippets of flashbacks we get to see. And why the demigod in the restroom needs his help. It’s a mystery-fueled story, soaked in neon-colored weirdness.


It does get a little repetitive at times (after all, there’s some limitations as to how many things can happen in a locked restroom, right?), but it manages to reel it in and keeps you interested enough in watching how everything unfolds and this makes it an interesting chamber piece. There’s a few surprises and twists that keeps fueling the mystery, especially concerning the main character Wes with whom we are getting subtle hints about his true identity every now and then, but it’s not getting properly pieced together until the end. There’s a little bit of blood and gore and a few slightly gross parts, and despite the limited scenery it’s actually quite visual with use of vibrant colors.


If you want something a little quirky, wacky and weird, something to not take too seriously, then Glorious is a nice watch, although it will definitely not appeal to everyone.




Director: Rebekah McKendry
Todd Rigney, Joshua Hull, David Ian McKendry
Country & year:
USA, 2022
Ryan Kwanten, J.K. Simmons, Sylvia Grace Crim, André Lamar, Tordy Clark



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In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

In the Mouth of MadnessJohn Trent used to be a freelance insurance investigator, who is now a patient in a psychiatric hospital. One day, Dr. Wrenn visits him, where Trent recounts his story: after the disappearance of the popular horror novelist Sutter Cane, Trent is having lunch with a colleague. Suddenly, Trent is attacked by an axe-wielding man who is shot dead by the police, and is later revealed to be Cane’s agent. This man went insane after reading one of Cane’s books, and killed his family as a result. And he is not the only one…apparently, some people seem to go crazy after reading Cane’s novels. Shortly afterwards, Trent is hired by the director of Arcane Publishing who wants him to investigate Cane’s disappearance, and also to recover the manuscript for his final novel. Linda Styles, who is Cane’s editor, is assigned to accompany him. While she explains to Trent that Cane’s novels are known to cause paranoia, disorientation and memory loss in some readers, Trent believes it’s all hogwash and considers his disappearance to be a bluff, something done entirely as a publicity stunt. But bizarre phenomena starts happening, and during their investigation, Trent and Linda enters a small town which looks like and includes people that are exactly as described in one of Cane’s fictional novels. Is it all staged, or is something else at play?


In the Mouth of Madness is the third film in John Carpenter’s (unofficial) Apocalypse Trilogy, with the first being The Thing (1982) and the second being The Prince of Darkness (1987). The movie is focusing majorly on atmospheric and creepy imagery, and John Carpenter really is good at creating an amazing atmosphere in many of his films. This one comes off as a surreal and bizarre detective story, with some interesting visual effects. Sam Neill does a convincing portrayal of the detective who is gradually falling into the abyss of pure madness as he’s investigating the alleged disappearance of the famous writer.


In the Mouth of Madness is a ride that takes you through a bizarre world of madness, although it might appear a little disorientating at times and there’s not offered too many explanations when wrapping things up. Regarding the movie’s concluding and final act…there are some parts that doesn’t make all that much sense. There are also some bits during the movie that appears to be a little involuntarily funny at times, but nothing too distracting. It’s still an interesting and enjoyable experience if you don’t take it all to seriously, where there’s a mix of elements from H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King (whom Carpenter based the Sutter Cane character on). While there’s a lot of Lovecraftian stuff all over the place, the Stephen King vibe cannot be missed.


So, overall, it’s well worth a watch if you want something strange with a little bit of Lovecraft mixed with a Stephen King flavour and maybe a little pinch of Twilight Zone.


Fun fact: the film that Trent is watching at the end of the movie is called Robot Monster, which Carpenter has stated was his favorite monster movie when he was a kid.


In the Mouth of Madness In the Mouth of Madness In the Mouth of Madness


Director: John Carpenter
Country & year: USA, 1995
Actors: Sam Neill, Julie Carmen, Jürgen Prochnow, David Warner, John Glover, Bernie Casey, Peter Jason, Charlton Heston, Frances Bay, Wilhelm von Homburg, Kevin Rushton, Gene Mack, Conrad Bergschneider



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Color Out of Space (2019)

Color Out of SpaceNathan Gardener and his family moves to his late father’s farm somewhere in rural New England, in the hopes of living a quiet life and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Just when they start to settle in, a meteorite crashes into their yard which emits an otherworldly color (a color out of space). One of the children (Jack) is traumatized by the event, and seems to be affected in strange ways. He becomes obsessed with the well in the garden and claims he’s got a “friend” there. Strange flowers and plants starts growing, animals suffer grotesque mutations, and the Gardener family’s life transforms into a colorful nightmare.


Color Out of Space is based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft. The director, Richard Stanley, last directed a film way back in 1992 (Dust Devil), so there was a 27 year pause until his comeback. Things didn’t start out all that trouble-free, however, as the movie lacked funding when Stanley revealed the project in 2013. In 2015 it was announced that the production company SpectreVision would produce the film…but it was still delayed until 2018, around the time when Nicholas Cage was confirmed to play the leading role, and then the filming started in Portugal in 2019. Sometimes, things simply just take time. Stanley first stated that this is the first movie in a planned trilogy of Lovecraft adaptions (the next one supposed to be based on The Dunwich Horror). However, in March 2021 the trilogy was canceled after Stanley was accused of domestic abuse by his former partner Scarlett Amaris, and SpectreVision cut all relation with him.


Many of Lovecraft’s stories have been made into film adaptions, some more successfully than others. And most of them have a varied love/hate reception…and this movie is no exception to that rule. And it isn’t even the first time Color Out Of Space was adapted to the screen…there are actually as much as four earlier adaptions, including a 2010 German black & white adaption that’s called Die Farbe aka Color Out of Space.


As this story was originally published in September 1927, and Stanley’s movie adaption goes for a more modern take on things, there are some changes here and there. For those that have read the original Lovecraft story, you’ll know that the color is described as one that humanity has never actually seen…but that is, of course, not really possible to portray in a movie unless it was made in black and white (like the German 2010 adaption). However, the purple-pink-ish color used here actually looks pretty good and makes for a highly visual and mesmerizing treat. It’s a Lovecraftian snack-bag filled with goodies that can be enjoyed by many: visually wonderful, a dosage of some pretty good body horror moments, all mixed in with the classic cosmic terror and the fear of the unknown. That being said, I can understand why it’s not tickling everyone’s pickle as some people might be put off due to the changes, and others might find the humor in it a bit weird. Like with nearly every Lovecraft story that’s been adapted to the screen, there’s both love and hate for it.


Overall, I think Color out of Space is an entrancing surreal cosmic horror movie. Stanley is also a Lovecraft fan, so the film is filled with a nice handful of easter eggs that people who have read Lovecraft’s other stories will recognize (like the daughter, whose name is Lavinia). And of course, it’s always a pleasure to watch Nicholas Cage go bonkers in a horror movie.


Color Out of Space


Director: Richard Stanley
Country & year: USA, Malaysia, Portugal, 2019
Actors: Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur, Elliot Knight, Tommy Chong, Brendan Meyer, Julian Hilliard, Josh C. Waller, Q’orianka Kilcher, Melissa Nearman, Amanda Booth, Keith Harle



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Call Girl of Cthulhu (2014)

Call Girl of CthulhuWe meet the young, starving artist Carter who lives in a cramped apartment complex, where he spends most of his time in his room, jerking off to a blonde cam girl. He immediately catches sight of the escort Riley, whom he falls in love with at first glance and starts dating. At the same time, Sebastian is in town, looking for prostitutes who should have the mark of a baby Cthulhu on one of their butt cheeks. And he always goes straight to the point by asking, with his Oscar-worthy line: “Ladies, would you mind taking off your skirts? I would like to look at your … asses”. By the way, he is a sleazy cult leader who is looking for the chosen woman to give birth to the child of the alien / God Cthulhu, and then destroy humanity. Riley eventually pops up on his radar after he sees a nude portrait of her, which has been drawn by Carter, with that specific Cthulhu mark – something Riley only thinks is a birthmark. It is not long before Carter has to team up with a group of Monster Hunters to save his damsel and the world from its doom. And by the way, yes, the jealous and mildly insane roommate Erica is secretly in love with Carter who opens up for a bit of a silly triangle drama, or something like that.


At first glance, Call Girl of Cthulhu could easily sound like a porn spoof with a crazy premise that belongs in the 1980s in a corner somewhere in Tromaville. A dizzy ride with a lot of good cartoonish humor, energy and self-awareness that makes a lot itself with a small budget and limited resources. While some of the old-school effects are quite impressive and inventive, others looks like something one could see in an elementary school play. And what’s the deal with Sebastian’s henchmen with the pacifiers in their mouth? Talk about some edge-lords, I guess. Mr. Lovecraft did encourage others to borrow ideas from his stories, but maybe he would have rolled in his grave to this insanity, where we are entertained with monster dicks, monster tits, zombies, sleazy nudity and an unique insight into an escort’s lugubrious everyday life. Or he might have loved it, who knows. Regardless, there is a lot of enthusiasm and love for Lovecraft’s imagination that balances and walks the line perfectly on spoofing and praising him with dedicated amateur actors who seem to have a lot of fun.


Call Girl of Cthulhu


Director: Chris LaMartina
Country & year: USA, 2014
Actors: David Phillip Carollo, Melissa LaMartina, Nicolette le Faye, Dave Gamble, Helenmary Ball, Sabrina Taylor-Smith, Alex Mendez, Craig Peter Coletta, Elena Rose,  George Stover, Leanna Chamish, Troy Jennings, Stephanie Anders, Ruby Larocca


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The Call of Cthulhu (2005)

The Call of CthulhuA man is organizing the affairs of his recently deceased uncle, and accidentally comes across a series of notes and paper clippings which tells about the Cthulhu Cult and an ancient horror lurking beneath the sea. Intrigued by all of this, he continues to investigate, getting more and more drawn into the mystery of this cult and the creature Cthulhu, which is a gigantic entity worshipped by the cultists: a creature in the shape of an octopus, a dragon, and a caricature of the human form. There is an occult phrase that, when translated, says “In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming“, meaning that the cultists await its return. As he learns more and more about this cult and the cosmic entity they worship, he gets closer to losing his sanity completely.


H.P. Lovecraft is one of the most influential horror writers of all time, especially his Cthulhu mythos. His works have even created a sub-genre within horror that’s called “Lovecraftian horror“. While there aren’t actually that many movies that are fully based on his stories, there are a lot of them who are heavily inspired by his tales of cosmic horror.


The Call of Cthulhu is both a faithful rendition of H.P Lovecraft’s short story by the same name, as well as a homage to the black and white silent movie era. This, of course, means you get lots of gesticulation from the actors since the dialogue is shown only with intertitles, aka title cards, causing body language and facial expressions to have a much bigger significance in order to portray the character’s feelings and emotions.


The film’s highlights are, of course, the creative visuals. The soundtrack is also top-notch, fitting every scene perfectly and fulfilling the film like hand in glove. In such a nightmarish tale of cultists and ancient horrors, I think it hits the nail on the head with portraying the intended feeling of impending doom, where the protagonist’s investigations slowly reveals upon him just how insignificant humankind really is.


I dare say that you do not need to be a Lovecraft enthusiast in order to appreciate this movie. There’s a lot of mood and atmosphere to admire here, especially if you can value the 1920’s style.


The Call of Cthulhu


Director: Andrew Leman
Country & year: USA, 2005
Actors: Matt Foyer, John Bolen, Ralph Lucas, Chad Fifer, Susan Zucker, Kalafatic Poole, John Klemantaski, Jason Owens, D. Grigsby Poland, David Mersault, Barry Lynch, Dan Novy, Daryl Ball, John Joly, Jason Peterson


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