H.P. Lovecraft, the well-known horror writer, is looking in the late thirties after the book 'Necronomicon'. He finds it guarded by monks in an old library. He then copies some stories from...
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H.P. Lovecraft, the well-known horror writer, is looking in the late thirties after the book 'Necronomicon'. He finds it guarded by monks in an old library. He then copies some stories from it, which unfold for our eyes- and his...Written by
E. de Vos <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Melinda Clarke was originally offered the role of Sarah. See more »
During the first story "the drowned" Edward De LaPoer is tearing the old library books off the shelves, looking for the necronomicon. The books are covered in dust and cobwebs and have clearly not been disturbed for a long time. But their pages are strangely new and and not in the slightest bit yellowed as one would expect for a collection of very old hardbacks. See more »
There is one thing I have always maintained. If a man's shoe is dirty, you got to wonder about his sole.
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The German rental tape is cut in most of the gory scenes See more »
Theoretically speaking, this is one horror movie concept that couldn't possibly have gone wrong! "Necronomicon" is an anthology embracing three lesser known stories (at least, to me they were lesser known) by the legendary novelist H.P. Lovecraft, filmed by an interesting variation of directors, and moreover linked together through an inventive wraparound story that revolves on Lovecraft himself; as played by Jeffrey Combs (who else?). Heck, even the title vividly speaks to the imagination of us, true horror fanatics, as surely everyone will recognize the "Book of the Dead" either from previous Lovecraft adaptations/novels and, if not, certainly from Sam Raimi's splatter-classic "The Evil Dead". Basically, we've got every necessary ingredient to cook up a wondrously delicious horror smörgåsbord here, but somehow the end result nevertheless left a rather sour aftertaste in my mouth Each and every separate Lovecraft short story is superb, and more than often embodies the true definition of sheer genuine & terror, but the teleplays are underdeveloped and never fully capture the dark and ominous atmosphere that Lovecraft had in mind when he wrote them. Considering the surreal themes and sinister setting, these should have been stories that spontaneously inflict nightmares and cause phobias amongst the viewers, but sadly it never comes to that. You feel emotionless the entire time. It's actually hard to explain "Necronomicon" seemingly has it all, from solid subject matter over stylistic filming aspects onto nauseating gore effects, and yet something essential is missing.
The wraparound, as stated above, introduces Lovecraft himself sneaking into a dark & secret library chamber, because he heard the place hides a copy of the allegedly mythical book The Necronomicon. With the suspiciously eerie librarians observing his every move, Lovecraft reads to us three stories of the macabre. The Necronomicon is simultaneously the leading thread running through the stories, as all the protagonists come into contact with the book one way or the other. The first segment has a Swedish heir returning to the ancient family hotel by the seaside. He learns that his ancestor lost his beloved wife and child in a shipwreck, but managed to bring them back to life through forces hidden inside the hotel. Since Edward also was responsible for the dead of his girlfriend in a car crash, he hopes to discover the secret and bring her back from the other side as well. Obviously not the best of ideas "The Drowned" is my personal least favorite story of the three, but I do have to acknowledge it's a stylish contribution. Director Christophe Gans ("Brotherhood of the Wolf") takes the maximum out of the marvelous seaside location and the morbid old hotel. The flashback, with Richard Lynch as the archetypal sea captain ancestor, is masterfully handled as well. However, Bruce Payne's stone-cold performance as well as the hideously abrupt anti-climax plummet the quality level enormously. The second story, entitled "The Cold", is my choice for best segment. It's about a sleazy journalist who knocks at the door of a large mansion and brutally confronts the lady of the house with the mystery of why so many people vanished after having visited this place. She has no option but to tell him about her mother's acquaintance with the brilliant previous tenant – Dr. Madden – who developed a unique but sinister method for preserving his youth and virility. One slight disadvantage, though, it requires a lot of human spinal fluid and must remain safeguarded in a cold environment. Personally, I'm a sucker for horror stories revolving on the quest for immortality (like "The Rejuvenator" and all the movies about Countess Bathory); especially when they feature an outrageously over-the-top mad scientist character, like David Warner in this case! "The Cold" has a marvelous story-within-story structure that nearly isn't confusing as it sounds and benefices from the most properly "finished" screenplay of all three stories. This is also the only segment that finds the exact right balance between juicy gross-out effects and high level of tension. Not bad for a Japanese director that allegedly couldn't speak a word of English on the set! The third and final story has director Brian Yuzna's trademarks all over it. "Whispers" is an indescribably nasty and sickening illustration of what pure hell is most likely to look like. This segment is lacking substantially, but you'll nevertheless stare with your eyes and mouth wide open, as it is a non-stop spitfire of pitch-dark and ghastly images. Unfortunately they are not really disturbing or scary just very, very unpleasant! Two police officers are chasing a car down to a grim neighborhood and literally end up in a subterranean labyrinth of terror. Words even file to describe the atrocities they encounter there, including petrifying elderly folks, flying carnivorous demons and extraterrestrial butchers. I like a good portion of gore and bloodshed, but this particular segment was quite unbearable.
In general, "Necronomicon" is definitely a mixed bag. Those who claim that the 90's only brought forward derivative, inferior and non- atmospheric horror turkeys should check it out because it's certainly one of the better efforts of the decade. Still, like that other 90's Lovecraft adaptation "The Resurrected", this movie can't hold a candle to some of the earlier – albeit admittedly loosely interpreted – movies based on the writer's repertoire, like "Re-Animator" and "From Beyond". I'm sure many people will beg to differ, but I think even Lucio Fulci came closer to capturing the real mindset of Lovecraft when he looked for inspiration for "City of the Living Dead" and "House by the Cemetery".
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