The Unnamable (1988) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
41 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Dare, you say...
lost-in-limbo10 February 2009
H.P Lovercraft's short story 'The Unnamable' is brought to the screen in a low-rent looking, small-scale production by first time writer/director Jean-Paul Ouellette. Maybe not as commanding as the likes of 'Re-Animator', 'From Beyond' and even 'Necronomicon', but Ouellette manages to invoke a twisted Gothic monster tale filled with menacing atmosphere and dripping with modest blood and gore. The latter actually surprised me how competently it was achieved, and the demon design is a horrifically creative design. Special effects/make-up artists R. Christopher Biggs and Camille Calvet did an excellent job, and I have healthy resume to back up their professional work.

Other than being quite graphic and stemming with eerily howling sound effects, the whole supernatural set-up for the story is quite conventionally light (little in the way of exploring the back-history and the climax is quite sudden) with the usual shocks and developments within an secluded rundown house that breathes spookiness. Really the premise's outline seemed more interesting than what Ouellette's execution could make of it, although the 90 minutes do breeze by with compact editing and the creaky roughness gives it some grit. Ouellette's systematic script is dramatically thin and strictly serious, save some dark humorous spots.

Legend has it that Joshua Winthrop kept in his family's house locked away his demon child that he and his wife were so ashamed about that called it 'the Unnamable'. It trying to keep it hidden, the creature turns on him and brutally murders him. Now in the present, students at the nearby Miskatonic College spend a night in the supposedly haunted house, which there only chance of survival rests on the open-mind of Randolph Carter.

Mark Kinsey Stephenson installs a brash, self-assured attitude to the Randolph Carter character, even though his screen time is limited it's always felt. While surrounding him are appealing turns by Charles Klausmeyer, Alexandra Durrell and Laura Albert.

David Bergeaud's racy, unhinged score is a shamble. One second it's nervously ominous then it changes to something playfully cute. Obviously these sudden shifts in the score were to match up to the moods of the characters/situation (from gruesome activities, suspense driven or humorous inclusion), but more often it felt forced upon. Ouellette's tightly staged handling relies on dim lighting with blue filtering to etch out an imposingly forlorn house and surroundings (like the graveyard) thanks to art director Ann Job. The demon is mainly kept hidden with sweeping POV shots, silhouette outlining, and glimpses of legs until we see it in full glory towards the end… but what stays with you is constant high-pitch screaming it unleashes.

Nothing formidable, but acceptable 80s monster gruel.
16 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Film well rooted in Lovecraft's story
CPM2518 July 1999
Many Lovecraft films stray far from the original Lovecraft story. THE UNNAMEABLE is only seven pages long, but the screenwriters crafted their story very well using the source material for the story. As for film gore, that is just "fluff" for modern horror film fans who seldom notice the underlying themes and concepts of the story. This is a good attempt to use original Lovecraft material and update to a modern setting without violating the concept of the original story.
15 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of my favorites
mlevans10 May 2002
Warning: Spoilers
One of the really nice late 1980s horror films that told a great story without having a huge budget to work with, The Unnamable is among my favorites in the genre. It came out about the same time as Pumpkinhead and Rawhead Rex. I would put it at the top of that little group.

I'm not sure why this one isn't rated higher. To me it has everything you need for a cool horror flick: a great creature, some creepy Gothic backdrops and an interesting story. It also has some appealing characters.

There is also a bit of a tongue-in-cheek feel, similar to The Lost Boys, which came out not long afterward. The hero, Randolph Carter (Mark Kinsey Stephenson) is calm, cool and collected almost to the brink of satire. The director Ouellette has a little fun with us also in a little moving camera sequence in which we think the monster or some other harm is stalking Carter on campus – only to find out it is Howard (Charles Klausmeyer or King) trying to catch up with him.

My only criticism is that the abandoned house, sealed off for apparently some 200 years (The minister and Dr. Winthrop certainly appeared to be from the 17th or 18th century.), looks like it has only been abandoned for 10 years or so. Of course a frame house left unattended would not even STAND 200 years, but that's beside the point.

The film has all the trappings most A and B horror fans expect: A cool creature, some blood and gore, and a sex scene. At least in this case the sex scene is somewhat within the context of the plot.

The acting is solid, with gorgeous Laura Albert and Alexandra Durrell as the coeds, Eben Ham and Blane Wheatley as the campus studs who get more than they bargained for in the old house, and Mark Parra as the cock-sure skeptic. Stephenson is engaging as the laid-back, unruffled brainiac Carter and Klausmeyer is convincing as the over-eager freshman Howard.

Stephenson does well to bring the hideous Alyda into view gradually, so that her appearance is still a shock when we begin seeing full-frame shots of her. The image of her sidling over to a prone victim is one that has given me shivers for years.

This is a very good horror flick. I would not even call it a B horror film. Like Pumpkinhead, Rawhead Rex, Fright Night and the Lost Boys, it is one of a string of solid horror films that didn't rely on CGI to scare audiences during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
12 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Better If You Enjoy Lovecraft Stories
skallisjr14 May 2005
Howard Philipps Lovecraft was a remarkable author, and it's often an acquired taste to enjoy many of his stories. It's my opinion that the duller the original Lovecraft story, the more entertaining the film, and vice versa.

This story is middle-of-the-road, and so is the film. It bears all the hallmarks of a standard 1980s horror film, but it has little allusions and touches that those who read Lovecraft would be familiar with would be entertained by. In-jokes, if you will.

The original story was relatively short, and expanding it to feature length probably required the mortising in of the standard horror elements found in 1980s type films. There have been some pretty good films that use these elements -- Pumpkinhead springs to mind -- that even if this film uses those elements, that shouldn't detract from the overall story.
9 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great 80s horror movie!
Movie Nuttball15 April 2003
I am not sure if there is two versions of the film but I want to say that the original uncut version is good.Though I could do with out the nudity but for horror fans this is a great one to see with a awesome female monster!The truth is I actually felt sorry for her at the end.Great 80s horror film that is scary and should satisfy most horror fans!
12 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A cloven-hoofed she-beast shrieks and stalks college kids in this H.P Lovecraft adaptation.
kclipper5 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This 1980s effort has amateurish acting, cheese-ball music and little direction towards suspense, but due to some pretty good gore effects and an effectively scary creature, this sustains itself enough to be a worthy late niter. Sometime in the 1800s, a man keeps a mad, shrieking female monster locked up in a room in a house overlooking a graveyard. After he arbitrarily lets it out, the creature rips his heart out of his chest, and the legend continues to stir up curiosities for two hundred years to come. Its 1988, and college students are now discussing the myth: Anyone who goes into the upstairs vault of the old house will see the she-beast's imprint in the overlooking window, and will consequently be murdered in the worst of ways. Of course, the students decide to hold a little outing in the house overnight, and fall victim to the creature one by one.

This was adapted from a short story by the infamous H.P Lovecraft, who's stylish horror masterpieces contain violently bizarre themes and darkly curious characters such as the lead hero, Randolf Carter. The atmosphere of this is pretty disturbing, especially the blood-curdling shriek of the monster, and producer/director Jean-Paul Ouellette's intentions on not showing the creature until the latter half of the film. The violence includes, gratuitous neck ripping and head bashing as the group of sorry students search for a way out of the dark hallways of the house, meanwhile being stalked by the lurking beast. The rest is pretty routine, as the smart and logical Carter discovers a way to diffuse the situation, and somehow the Necronomicon (Book of the Dead) plays a part in this weirdness. Its a fun little monster movie if you can suspend disbelief. (followed by a sequel of course), and this is unrated, so avoid any possible R-rated cut versions.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Miskatonic U. hi-jinks turn dangerous, entertaining.
goodellaa24 April 2004
This low-budget horror picture inspired by a Lovecraft short story benefits from the sincere effort that went into making it. Also nobody seems to be taking things too seriously until the University student fun and games have gone past the point of no return. Corny and non-sensical elements can be overlooked in the name of entertainment here. The lovely monster (if you've read the story you have an idea of what it is like) is only the tip of the iceburg, for the story has one foot in Bluto Blutarski's universe and one in H. P. Lovecraft's. The effect, taken together, is charming if neither laugh-out-loud funny or terrifying.
8 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Mediocre and boring
Bored_Dragon3 June 2017
If I start writing all that's wrong with this movie, it would be faster for you to watch the movie and make your own conclusions than to read my review. So, I'll just make a few notes about what's good in it:

  • The movie is based on H.P. Lovecraft and, although this is one of the worst adaptations, Lovecraft is still Lovecraft, and it is very hard to destroy it so much to be unwatchable.

  • Dancer Katrin Alexandre and team that takes credits for the look of The Unnamable did an excellent job and made one of the best monsters in the history of cinematography. Unfortunately, it's shown in its full glory just briefly.

  • Few moments of naked Laura Albert.

Everything else is mediocre and boring, so I recommend this only to the most hardcore fans of Lovecraft and '80s B-production horrors. For the rest of average audience this is just another crap.

6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
kirbylee70-599-5261796 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Among the names of horror authors there is one that has influenced so many, H.P. Lovecraft. While his works may not translate well for readers today they still inspire both writers and film makers today. Director Stuart Gordon has made several movies based on Lovecraft's stories including RE-ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND and DAGON. DIE MONSTER DIE, the 1965 Boris Karloff film was based on a Lovecraft story. And then there is THE UNNAMEABLE.

One dark and stormy night in the late 18th century Joshua Winthrop, the owner of Winthrop house, attempts to hold back Alyda Winthrop, his daughter and a misshapen creature locked within the home's walls. He succeeds but at the cost of his own life. We learn of this story as Randolph Carter (Mark Kinsey Stephenson) tells the tale to two college friends, Howard Damon (Charles Klausmeyer) and Joel Manton (Mark Parra). Unconvinced the story is true Joel has Carter show them the house where it took place. Challenged by Carter to stay in the house that night if he still doesn't believe Joel takes him up on the offer. It doesn't end well for him.

When Joel doesn't return the next day Howard tries to convince Carter that they go looking for him. But Carter is convinced that Joel is just playing a joke on them and waiting for them to enter the house. In the meantime Wendy Barnes (Laura Albert), a young coed Howard has the hots for, and her friend Tanya (Alexandra Durrell) who has the hots for Howard, are hit on by frat boys Bruce Weeks (Eben Ham) and John Babcock (Blane Wheatley). With the promise of helping them join a sorority they agree to meet the boys at the legendary Winthrop House that night.

The foursome meet and enter the house and begin exploring the various floors. The girls are hoping to use the information they gather to pass the initiation the boys claim the sorority has in store for them. The guys are just hoping to score with the two girls. The socially conscious Wendy is more than willing to play along with whatever John wants. Tanya, on the other hand, isn't playing into Bruce's plans. It isn't long before they discover the body of Howard and things take a turn for the worse.

Howard, having finally convinced Carter to join him, heads for Winthrop House just in time to come to the aid of the others trapped there. While Carter reads through the various journals left behind by Joshua Winthrop the others are being decimated by the mysterious creature who still resides in the house. Just who will survive and who will be claimed by the creature is left to be seen.

Made on a low budget and the film comes off remarkably good for a movie of this type. The creative forces behind the film did their best to convey the creepiness of the Lovecraftian atmosphere as well as some memorable characters. Had they been blessed with a bigger budget and more well-known stars this film could have led to a series of films featuring the pair up of Carter and Howard. As it stands it is still one of the better direct to video offerings to come from the 80s.

Two things determine if a horror movie is worth going back to watch again though. The first is if it stand up to the test of time. This film does so and does it easily. With the exception of hairstyle and clothing this movie could be made again today and still present a viable story. The second item is the effects. Once more this one does better with practical effects than many CGI movies made today do. While watching I was surprised at how few effects there actually were. But the main effect that is the highlight of the film is that of the monster Alyda.

The make-up work done on Alyda is stunning. As a fan of horror films I love it when a creature can be shown that exceeds my expectations. That is done here in spades. Alyda is both terrifying and something you want to see more of at the same time. But the film makers here wisely hold off on sharing glimpses of Alyda until near the end of the film. Even then we aren't privy to long looks in spite of the fact that we may want to see more.

When the film ended I found myself wanting to watch it a second time right then. I enjoyed it that much and it brought back memories of those 80s movies that lined the shelves of video stores. It was a time when creative risks were being taken by independent companies and film makers rather than by test marketing corporations. Thank goodness they are now available on disc.

Thanks to Unearthed Films for the great job or this release. To start with the film is offered in a 4K Scan with color correction and restoration from the original negative. The extra are both good and bad though. They include an audio commentary track by Klausmeyer, Stephenson, Albert, Ham, effects artist Camille Calvet and make-up artists Christopher Biggs, a photo gallery and trailers for the film. There are also interviews with Klausmeyer & Stephenson, Ham, Albert, Parra and Biggs & Calvet. These interviews are the bad part of the extras though done via the internet with the sound quality ranging bad on one end and doable on the other. Still it's nice to have access to them.

All in all if you're a fan of Lovecraft then this is a must have for your collection. The same holds true for horror fans. This is one that I know I'll revisit in the future and my guess is that you will as well.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great movie to scare 10 year olds on Halloween!!!
alimark75 November 2006
When I was 10 my best friend and I had a sleep over at her house on Halloween after trick or treating. We were already riled up by the nights candy feast and were ready to get our scare on. We started our escapade with The Unnameable. At first no problems then the tag line came on and from that point on throughout the movie we were clinging to the couch in fear of the creature on the screen. What was crazy was we couldn't believe that it had breasts!!! Anyway, it scarred the crap out of us and I have never forgotten that movie, I loved it and still do. If you are looking to stricken fear into the hearts of 10 year olds grab this movie its freaky!!!
10 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Lovecraft... Or Something Like It
gavin694227 October 2012
Back in the 1800s a lady gives birth to a monster. They decide that the baby is too ugly to name, therefore the monster is known as the "Unnamable"...

While this film may only be casually connected to the Lovecraft story whose name it has, that really should not be held against it. Heck, many Lovecraft adaptations are quite loose and the 1930s film "The Black Cat" claims to be based on Poe, when it has no connection whatsoever.

On its merits alone, this is a pretty entertaining and fun film, with a strange narration from one character who talks like a fictional pilgrim, a woman who claims to have an accent but is obviously just deaf, and a monster that is something between a goat and a woman, with demon characteristics mixed in.

All in all, not a bad one... they might have shown the "unnamable" just a bit too much, giving it less mystery than it probably required. I have not yet seen the sequel, but now I am curious to see where it goes...
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Could Have And Should Have Been Much Better
ObscureCinema1016 June 2012
It's really hard to screw up an H.P. Lovecraft story. Even if your movie is low-budget and you can't afford too many luxuries (i.e. good effects, acting, etc.), the film would probably still end up entertaining just because the man's work is so entertaining in itself. Unfortunately, not even that could save THE UNNAMABLE.

Two college couples decide to check out the old Winthrop place for initiation into the fraternity/sorority. However, they discover that a hideous monster resides in the house and it soon begins to kill them off one by one. Can they stop it before it's too late?

Granted, I have not read the seven-page short story by Mr. Lovecraft, but I'm rather certain something got lost in translation here. I mean, almost everything about the film is great, with great gore, great effects, a great score, good actors, and good camera-work. The problem is that the film simply cannot utilize all these things productively. The score is good, but completely out of place. The gore was good, but the deaths weren't too inventive. The monster effects are good, but the monster is not frightening. The actors are capable of good things, but the writing they have to work with is putrid. And the camera-work…well, that can't be the saving grace for a film.

What angers me about THE UNNAMABLE is that it could have been great. There was a time in the beginning where I began to feel fear, but the score completely ruined it for me (at times it sounds exactly like Zelda). Also, the film just cannot decide whether it wants to be a fun popcorn flick or a serious horror movie, which leads to scenes that should either be fun or scary, and I can't tell which. Overall, this gives the film a very bland feel.

Towards the end, the film takes a bizarre left turn into stuff like magical spells and even underground skeleton attacks! It sounds fun, but its relevance is never explained and it all happens in the blink of an eye! Then there's the non-reactivity of the characters. One girl sees a boy with his throat ripped out, and when help comes, she begins asking the other boy why people are more attracted to her friend than to her (?!?). Hello; you just saw someone BRUTALLY KILLED! REACT!!!

Overall, THE UNNAMABLE is just a monster movie that's trying too hard to stand out, when all it needs to be entertaining is just play it like a straight monster movie. It's like those inspirational movies where someone goes looking for happiness when all that person really needs is right under his/her nose. Only THE UNNAMABLE never discovers that, and the audience pays for it. Fortunately, there's a sequel that looks, and, from what I have heard, is better than this.

For the moment, this one's alright if you have nothing better to do.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Oy. I can't believe I watched the whole movie...
danrogy31 December 2004
I watched this movie on Monsters HD, which usually show the best part right before the movie starts. There wasn't a darn thing on, so I decided to watch. I really have to say this is a class 'A' clunker! The main actor wasn't that bad, but everybody, I mean EVERYBODY else in the entire cast was absolutely atrocious! Right about the time I had re-named it "unwatchable", there was a gratuitous topless sex scene. The girl was hot, so I watched a little bit more. Then came the murders, and they were pretty cool, but WAY too few to hold a feature-length flick. If only there was a bit more plot and A LOT more monster scenes, even the cheezoid acting would've been tolerable. I gave the movie a three because of the boobs, the kills and the monster.
8 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
funny due to unnamably bad acting
lee_eisenberg23 August 2006
I have heard some people say that H.P. Lovecraft's works are unfilmable. I guess that I would say that they did a worthy job with "The Unnamable", but aside from the fact that another movie with a grotesque monster's property getting invaded by horny teens seems a little silly, the people here can't really act (well duh; these movies don't star Katharine Hepburn). Particularly laughable is the line "You're very brave." And if you remember the rules laid out in "Scream", you can guess which people survive here.

So, this is pretty much a way to pass time. For better efforts at filming Lovecraft stories, there's "Die Monster Die!" and "The Dunwich Horror".
7 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Its name is....Larry
dementia1316 February 2005
H.P. Lovecraft's stories as a rule don't film well, and this is no exception. Considering that the original was really more of a short little episode than a story, that shouldn't be a surprise. It winds up being a pretty standard/mediocre monster story. It's a lot like "In the Woods", in that it looks like it's made by first-time filmmakers who don't know what they're doing, but unlike that abortion, this one actually has some things going for it. It's fairly gory, so if that's your thing, you won't be disappointed. The filmmakers wisely keep the monster off-camera for most of the film, and then when they finally reveal it, it's actually not bad. There's not a ton of suspense, though: it's the kind of movie where you know exactly who's going to die and who isn't, and all the characters are so hateful that you'd like to see all of them killed slowly. The dialog is insipid, even by horror standards, and seems to have been written by a confused person with lots of issues. Given how bad the script is, it might not be fair to point out the lousy acting. If you can get past the embarrassing script, it's got some entertaining qualities, but it's best recommended for teenagers.
8 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Cool gore movie
Scream-72 November 1998
This movie is scary at sometimes, but at other times it's gory. I just love the gore murders! They're pretty cool! You get a ripped-out throat, decapitated body, broken neck and more! See this film if you're looking for some gore!
7 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
* out of 4.
brandonsites198130 May 2002
Weak adaption turns the classic Lovecraft story into another run of the mill teenagers are in danger flick. It also suffers from a poor creature effects and a laughable ending. Film has a group of college students going to a mansion that local legend has it is haunted by an unnameable creature lurking in the attic. Unrated; Graphic Violence and Nudity.
6 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Unremarkable, unmemorable
Wizard-820 December 2003
I've often wondered why some authors like to primarily identify themselves with initials. In the case of H. P. Lovecraft, perhaps he foresaw how the future would be filled with substandard filmings of his writings, and it would be a way to distance himself from them! For a real cheapie, I guess it isn't bad; it's cheap, though less so than you'd think, and the monster design is passable. There are also some acceptable flesh-rippings and a decent amount of blood, at least in the unrated cut (the version I saw.) What it's really missing are characters we can bother to care about, and a tighter story with much more happening (including more explanation); don't be surprised if you find yourself picking up a book while you're watching it. I guess it must have found an audience, seeing how there was a sequel made several years later, but don't expect to read a user comment from me about it anytime in the future!
5 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Nifty creature feature
Woodyanders17 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
A group of college students decide to check out a reportedly haunted house that turns out to have a hideous and ferocious female beast (an impressively expressive portrayal by Katrin Alexandre) locked up in a vault in the attic.

Writer/director Jean-Paul Oullette relates the enjoyable and engrossing story at a steady pace, takes time to develop the characters, crafts a fun ooga booga atmosphere, and delivers several nice moments of graphic gore. The acceptable acting by the competent cast helps a lot: Mark Kinsey Stephenson makes for an engagingly laidback and eccentric hero as nerdy bookworm Randolph Carter, Charles Klausmeyer likewise registers well as earnest freshman Howard Damon, Alexandra Durrell contributes an appealing turn as sweet foreign exchange student Tanya Heller, and Laura Albert brings a winning blend of sass and spark to her role as the brash Wendy Barnes. The monster manages to be both grotesque and pitiable. As a yummy plus, the delicious Mrs. Albert bares her beautifully bountiful breasts. David Bergeaud's spirited shivery score hits the shuddery spot. Tom Fraser's slick cinematography provides a pleasing polished look. An entertaining little fright flick.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Pretty mild as Lovecraft adaptations go.
Hey_Sweden11 August 2019
The basic set-up here is simple enough: college students get caught in a house of horror in the woods, falling victim to a creature that is more than mere legend. Randolph Carter (Mark Kinsey Stephenson) seems to know the score, but the focus is more on Randolphs' friend Howard (Charles Klausmeyer) and the serious-minded Tanya (Alexandra Durrell).

The back story garners more interest than the balance of the yarn in this okay but unspectacular low-budget attempt at an H.P. Lovecraft story. It's not terrible or anything, but it certainly lacks any truly interesting features. Director Jean-Paul Ouellette, who also wrote the screenplay, fails to generate much tension or atmosphere. In the end, his film is pretty generic stuff, albeit featuring a fairly imaginatively conceived "unnamable" monster (played by Katrin Alexandre). Fortunately, Ouellette is wise not to give the monster too much screen time until near the end. He delivers the goods when it comes to gore: there is some effective nastiness on display here. R. Christopher Biggs, the man behind the makeup effects, can take a well-deserved bow. But the tale being told here is just too familiar to carry much weight for anybody other than die hard horror buffs.

The main debit here is a pretty charmless and not overly talented cast. Durrell is particularly bad. Klausmeyer, at least, is earnest and moderately likeable as the hero. The most amusing performer here is Stephenson, who does appear to be well cast. But the way he just sort of disappears from the film for a while only serves to keep things from being completely satisfying.

If you are an avid horror fanatic, and particularly enjoy seeing filmmakers attempt to film Lovecraft's stories, there is some entertainment to be had here. But, overall, it lacks a little pizzazz.

Six out of 10.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I can't believe I actually paid for this
vmalast28 November 2018
I know lovecraft is hard to transfer to the screen but even taking in account that this is an 80's movie (not 2018 as listed on Amazon), it fails to be remotely scary. The only part of Lovecraft it follows is the very beginning then, it's down hill. I want my 2.99 back
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Here's a name: Cheeseball!
Coventry25 December 2009
Oh jolly, another H.P. Lovecraft horror adaptation! In the vein of the successful "Re-Animator", these adaptations were extremely popular during the late 80's and early 90's but most of them were only very loosely inspired by Lovecraft and furthermore just an excuse to bring to the screen hideous demons and cheesy gore. "The Unnamable" is the best example of this, actually, as the opening fifteen minutes still attempt to create an atmosphere of mystery and morbidity reminiscent of H.P. Lovecraft's finest works, but afterwards the film quickly degenerates into a typically 80's teenybopper flick with fraternity initiation rites and really dumb dialogs. 200 years ago, Joshua Winthrop's wife gave birth to a female demon and he kept it locked away in the attic for a long time until the creature eventually killed him. The film opens with this storytelling, as the concerned house still exists and is now located nearby the Miskatonic University and three male students challenge each other to spend the night. Two of them refuse and the third one is never heard from again. The next day, the two others go back to search for their missing friend, but they're unaware than another group of brainless students already broke into the house. "The Unnamable" is far from a great horror film but, in all fairness, you could do a lot worse in case you're just looking to kill an hour and a half of time. The titular demon, which as it turns out in the end had a name all along, isn't seen until 50 minutes in the film even though there's an illustration of it on the DVD-cover. Before that, we just hear a lot of screeching, growling and thumping on doors. There are quite a few weird characters in the film, like the alleged Lovecraft alter ego Randolph Carter who talks funnily and pretends to be an expert in demonology even though he spends most of the film in a library looking things up. The gore effects are delightfully cheesy and grotesque, with a couple of torn open throats, decapitations and the repeated smashing off a person's head against a hard wooden floor. "The Unnamable" is insignificant, forgettable and quite dumb, but nevertheless okay entertainment for fans of rancid 80's horror.
5 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Beautifully done but really confusing
slayrrr6666 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"H.P. Lovecraft's The Unnameable" is a fairly enjoyable and entertaining creature feature.


Gathering together in the woods, Randolph Carter, (Mark Kinsey Stephenson) tells fellow students Howard Damon, (Charles Klausmeyer) and Joel Manton, (Mark Parra) about a locally haunted house off in the woods. When one of the students goes missing near the house, Tanya Heller, (Alexandra Durrell) Wendy Barnes, (Laura Albert) Bruce Weeks, (Eben Ham) and John Babcock, (Blane Wheatley) other students on campus, decide to go to the house to look for him, and all they find is a series of different gags set up to scare them as part of a fraternity initiation prank. Finally getting a hand on the situation, they decide to scare them back, they instead find an ancient monster roaming the house unleashed through a series of pagan rituals years ago, and is loose in the house killing them off one-by-one. Realizing the deadly creature's weak point, they try to exploit it in order to get out of the house alive.

The Good News: This one here wasn't all bad, and had a few good parts to it. One of the better features is that it's actually very vague about the presence in the house, one that is very well-played here with several really great ideas to make it happen. By never showing it other than brief, barely-seen or out-of-eyesight views of it off in the distance and only seeing brief views of it's arms or claws, there's a lot of neat tricks that are used to keep it hidden. The incredibly creepy and atmospheric house that is a really perfect setting for the action here, as the winding hallways, wooden decor and dark to non-existent lighting that needs candles to effectively see in the darkness makes for some really great atmospheric shots, and there's no shortage of scenes that really amp up the atmosphere here that, during the middle segment walkthroughs, it gets really creepy because of that. The opening attack in the beginning has a pretty great atmosphere as well, due to it taking place during a raging thunderstorm, which gives it even more points. The attacks in here are also pretty great, since there's some pretty nice bloodshed unleashed during them. There's a heart ripped out of the chest, both arms ripped out, a throat ripped out, having their head bashed repeatedly against the floor spilling out all kinds of blood and another has their neck completely twisted around, among others so this one here has some nice gore to it. The design of the monster is pretty great, having some really nice and healthy features which give it a really imposing feel. The last part that really works for this is the really nice and impressive pacing it has, going from the slow-yet-creepy middle section into the full-on fun of the ending half, which is just chalk-full of fun chases, action and suspense with all the stalking, giving this one some really great material to close out with a big bang. These here are the film's best parts.

The Bad News: This one here didn't really have that many flaws at all to it. The main one here is that the film manages to take a fairly creepy premise, about a demon trapped inside an abandoned house, and turned it into something that is pretty hard to explain about it's plot. There is little explanation of what is going on, since it is never explained why the daughter is a demon, for instance, or why the film has to invent the entire backdrop about the Winthrop family. They really had no need to be in this one, and are just one more inclusion into why this one feels confusing. It also has a hard time keeping the interest-level up from the middle section, despite being really creepy, since there's plenty of times where they're just walking around in the dark with nothing else happening. This happens too many times in the film, and it's quite dull to some. The last flaw in here is the really terrible ending, which, beyond looking really terrible and executed about as well, is just a really bad idea to have tree branches swarm around the monster and drag it away. It's not that impressive, is a weak idea and doesn't do that well standing on it's own. These few flaws are what really hold this one down.

The Final Verdict: This one here wasn't completely bad, and had a lot of good points that help it over it's few small flaws. Really give this one a chance if you're into the cheesy creature features of the time, love the creative staff or in the mood for something that will offer up some chills, otherwise heed caution with it.

Rated R: Graphic Violence, Graphic Language and Nudity
4 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Good adaption
aaronzombie10 June 2000
Warning: Spoilers
Pretty suspenseful adaption of the story by H. p. Lovecraft. !!!SPOILERS!!! The film begins in the year 1688 where a warlock is killed off by a demon that is also his daughter. 300 years go by and a group of college students from Miskatonic University stay the night in the house where it happened.

One by one they are killed off by the hideous creature, until Miskatonic's smartest student comes to the rescue. Good story, acting, and a cool theme song that is played during the end credits. ***1/2 out of *****. The sequel is slightly better.
3 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Its A Bat!!!
neilg34513 June 2001
Okay this film cost me £2 in some second hand store but it was worth it just as a lesson to aspiring film makers everywhere not what to do when making a horror film. So although its completely lame we can judge it on its superb script with classic lines such as 'ITS A BAT' as a piece of black cloth moves across the screen. Or 'What did you see something Unnamable perhaps?, however nothing beats the quiet girls reply to why all the guys fancy her friend Wendy 'its her big tits isn't it' before she looks down sadly and says damn. Also featuring such 80's classic characters as sweater wearing jock guy and mysterious guy with dodgy english accent. Get a group of friends together and this film will make you laugh more than most comedies today, and then check out...The Unnamable Returns....
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed