Wednesday, June 22, 2011

150 Days of Halloween: The Dunwich Horror (1970)

This will be a short review, mostly because I have a headache, but also because this movie could have been interchanged with any terrible B-movie from the late 60's or early 70's.

I love terrible B movies, from any year really. The wooden acting, the cardboard special effects, and the thread bare plot and logic are all hilarious to endure. However, this isn't just some random B movie with giant bugs or tin-foil based alien menaces. No, this one chose a Lovecraft story to base itself on, which means it falls under a special kind of scrutiny. The Dunwich Horror can't avoid drawing comparisons to its written source of inspiration.
The female lead and Sir Not Appearing in This Film.
The story is drastically different between the story and this movie. The timeline is truncated, characters are altered and added, motivations have been changed, and the ending is of course vastly different. Aside from names and locations, this could very well be an unrelated movie. This isn't the first movie to fail at adapting Lovecraft's work, but it is the first one to keep its title the same as its source materials.

We follow a charismatic creeper and the best part of the movie, Wilbur, as he manages to charm and make off with a young woman who may or may not be the assistant to Dr. Armitage, who is lecturing at Arkham. Wilbur then slowly, ever so slowly, drugs the woman, Nancy, over the course of a weekend. The purpose of drugging her seems to be so she will be a willing sacrifice as a means to open a gateway to allow entrance of The Old Ones. This slow drugging process gives us plenty of time for Wilbur to make painfully funny faces at Nancy to show us hes using his occult powers to control her. It also gives his grandfather plenty of time to stutter lines at Wilbur in a hilariously forced old man voice.
"My god... I just realized. I'm awesome."
I think the best part of this experience is the "special effect" used whenever someone is attacked by the monster, Wilbur's alien twin brother. The first one is by far the best, a woman unlocks the door the creature resides behind, prompting the creature to attack. The image flashes to a primary color, just a simple colored transparency placed over the film. After the first flash, the woman's coat is gone. FLASH, now she is lacking a shirt. FLASH, now she is naked. With one last primary color the woman falls to the ground screaming, then dies.

Why did she have to get naked during the rave of colors? No idea, that's just how monsters roll in this movie. Later the monster would massacre a forest of armed men, but they got to keep their clothes on as the screen flashed between red, blue, green, and so forth. The monster, apparently, doesn't swing that way.

"Yep, still the best part of this movie."
If you want a good movies, or even just a passable one, this isn't for you. This is a Mystery Science Theater caliber movie experience, it demands that you have fun with it. So sit down with some friends and prepare to mimic the robotic like mannerisms of Wilbur, and to make all the awesome wide eyed faces he makes. I really hope the Rifftrax people cover this movie one day.

In other news, I saw The Green Lantern today. Its a bright and shiny movie, but it has a number of serious flaws when it comes to writing and character motivation. As is the case with many movies I see, this one was more entertaining as something to mock then to absorb and consider. Its not terrible, mind you, this isn't another Dare Devil or Fantastic Four, but it certainly isn't a Dark Knight or an Iron Man either. Its still an entertaining movie, and when they just let GL do his thing it can be pretty good, just be prepared to roll your eyes a few times and to question a number of things that people do in the movie.

"No evil... save for the various genocides in developing regions, those don't look cool to fight though."
So, tomorrow we have The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, by the master of German Expressionism, Fritz Lang. So get ready for a trip back to 1933. If you want to know what other movies will be coming up, or have already been reviewed, check out the full 150 Days of Halloween schedule.


  1. Dat poster! looks awesome :)

  2. True, a lot of movies need to improve because the Green Lantern wasn't what I expected. Thanks for the review.

  3. Haven't seen green lantern yet but I will.

  4. Green Lantern had flaws for sure.

  5. I wasn't a fan of the Green Lantern either. If they make a sequel hopefully they step it up.

  6. If I were an alien monster, my weapon of choice would be that flashing rave color of nekkidness.

    Also gotta say that mask on Green Lantern looks like it was painted on with photoshop. Especially around the nose.

    Also lol at the caption

  7. Never been a fan of Green Lantern, nor DC comics. But great post though!

  8. Thanks for the info. Green latern rules!

  9. The Dunwich Horror looks interesting.

  10. These movie posters are amazing. Where was I when these were released.