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In Louisiana, the thirty-five year old single mother Lavina delivers a baby boy and a monster in the evil Whateley House. Ten years later, Dr. Henry Armitage and his assistant Professor Fay Morgan discover that the page 751 of every copy of the Necronomicon is missing and The Black Brotherhood has summoned the gate keeper Yog Sothoth to leave the portal opened to the demons and ancient gods. They invite the arrogant and skeptical Professor Walter Rice that can translate the Necronomicon to help them to seek the book. Meanwhile Lavina's son Wilbur Whateley ages very fast and seeks the missing page to open the portal. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
It opens with a childbirth at home. The light is eerie. We see a woman in bed screaming horribly while she stares at her swollen belly. The attendants goggle as parturition proceeds. The camera pans around, never holding still. The cuts are instantaneous. A glistening black snake crawls up an attendant's arm.
The rest of the movie -- as much of it as I was able to bear before an attack of restless legs syndrome set in -- follows the same template. There is hardly a pause for ordinary conversation. One shocking horror follows another, accompanied by loud music and diverse grotesqueries.
There's a rural family involved. They all have bizarre appearances. The family head sits there cackling while skinning some kind of black-furred animal, maybe a cat or a skunk. A whirligig of a woman is bald except for a long fringe of blond hair.
Dean Stockwell looks normal enough as the chief investigator of that "portal" that opened up during the childbirth. Stockwell was the chief investigator of a previous version of "The Dunwich Horror", filmed some thirty or forty years earlier. His assistant, Sarah Lieving, is pretty and thoroughly glamorized. I imagine she'll wind up strapped to a table in some dank cellar. There is a snooty expert on the mysterious Necromicon, a book that contains the spell that opens and closes "portals." He's pretty normal too, although he is, as I say, kind of disdainful and snooty. I hope he gets sacrificed.
I've sometimes puzzled over H. P. Lovecraft, who wrote this tale, along with other stories of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. Edgar Allan Poe had a theory of literature -- throw everything else out the window and go for the effect. Logic counts for nothing. Imagine Poe and Alfred Hitchcock chatting about this. But H. P. Lovecraft seems to have taken this theory to its extreme. In one of his stories, nothing happens except that a guy wakes up in some underground chamber and finds his way to the surface. It's spooky but there is no substance to it.
This movie stinks, a pointless exercise in ominousness and computer-generated effects. Any successful horror story begins in more or less placid normality and works its way into the abnormal. Look at "The Exorcist" or "Rosemary's Baby" or "The Shining" for good examples. Well, I'll mention Val Lewton's work at RKO in passing. This one begins with junk and, I expect, ends the same way.
Recommended for self-haters, the guilt-ridden, those recently emerged from an eremetic existence, the irretrievably mad, and toddlers who have never seen a movie before.
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