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John’s Horror Corner: Necronomicon: Book of the Dead (1993), a Lovecraftian horror anthology loaded with disgusting gore and slimy tentacle monsters.

October 12, 2019

MY CALL: An awesome Lovecraftian anthology delivered by excellent directors and loaded with gruesome practical effects and monsters. This was a blast!

MORE HORROR ANTHOLOGIES:  Dead of Night (1945), Black Sabbath (1963), Tales from the Crypt (1972), The Vault of Horror (1973), The Uncanny (1977), Creepshow (1982), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye (1985), Deadtime Stories (1986), Creepshow 2 (1987), After Midnight (1989), Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990), Two Evil Eyes (1990), Grimm Prairie Tales (1990), The Willies (1990), Tales from the Crypt Season 1 (1989), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Campfire Tales (1997), Dark Tales of Japan (2004), 3 Extremes (2004), Creepshow 3 (2006), Trick ‘r Treat (2007), Chillerama (2011), Little Deaths (2011), V/H/S (2012), The Theater Bizarre (2012), The ABCs of Death (2013), V/H/S 2 (2013), The Profane Exhibit (2013), The ABCs of Death 2 (2014), V/H/S Viral (2014), Southbound (2015), Tales of Halloween (2015), A Christmas Horror Story (2015), The ABCs of Death 2.5 (2016), Holidays (2016), Terrified (2017; aka Aterrados, which is a pseudo-anthology), Oats Studios, Vol. 1 (2017), Ghost Stories (2017), XX (2017), The Field Guide to Evil (2018) and the Shudder Creepshow series (2019).

Narrated by horror writer Howard P. Lovecraft (Jeffrey Combs; Would You Rather, The Frighteners, Lurking Fear, Cellar Dweller), the wraparound story The Library (director Brian Yuzna; Society, Faust, Bride of Re-Animator) takes Lovecraft to a library guarded by monks, where he finds the Book of the Dead and transcribes its dark tales. These stories serve as the three stories nested within this anthology.

Oddly, despite the setting of The Library being in the 1930s, the stories in this anthology take place in more modern times. But let’s just look the other way since this was a pretty cool anthology horror movie.

Concepts include cursed resurrections, the cursed magic of the Book of the Dead, ancient monsters from the depths of the seas, defying death by unnatural means, and monsters of unknown origins…

The Drowned (director Christophe Gans; Brotherhood of the Wolf, Silent Hill)—A Swedish man (Bruce Payne; Dungeons & Dragons, Warlock III, Howling VI) inherits an aging hotel, empty for 60 years, beneath which is a network of marine caverns inhabited by ancient evils. He is haunted by his lost love (Maria Ford; The Haunting of Morella, The Unnamable II) and the history of his ancestors (Richard Lynch; The Sword and the Sorcerer, Puppet Master III, Bad Dreams) who came into possession of the Necronomicon by way of a monstrous ichthyoid creature (i.e., deep one, or Dagon himself).

The Cold (director Shûsuke Kaneko; Death Note, Gamera 1-3)—A reporter (Dennis Christopher; It, Alien Predator) investigates a man’s death and encounters a woman afflicted by a strong aversion to heat and sunlight. The subject of investigation is an unaging Doctor (David Warner; The Company of Wolves, The Unnamable II, Ice Cream Man) with a really gross oozing skin problem and a dangerous need to “medicate” himself.

Whispers (director Brian Yuzna)—A police officer (Signy Coleman; The X-Files) and her partner (Obba Babatundé; Dead Again, The Eye) are hunting down a serial killer. But when her partner is killed and dragged into the cavernous underbelly of the city, her pursuit reveals that the killer is not of this world.

Considering the budget, many of the sets range are quite impressive (especially in The Library) and there is some gorgeous photography (The Drowned).

We enjoy a diversity of engaging special effects. Guts are regurgitated, tentacles emerge from mouths and from eyes and the floor itself, there’s a huge slimy tentacle monster, a spectacularly gross and chunky melting death scene, an offal pit of slippery bloody body parts, a gooey animated corpse with a gross hollowed out head, brain-bellied flesh-bat monsters, an awesome flesh-peeling face-rip, and all sorts of blood and gore. It’s really a blast for gorehounds and fans of old school practical effects.

I was really impressed with this anthology. We enjoy a variety of Lovecraftian concepts and they’re delivered by excellent filmmakers.

MORE LOVECRAFTIAN HORROR MOVIES:  For more Lovecraftian adaptations, try The Unnamable (1988), The Unnamable 2: The Statement of Randolph Carter (1992), The Resurrected (1991), Lurking Fear (1994), Dagon (2001), Dreams in the Witch-House (2005) and The Dunwich Horror (1970). And although not specifically of Lovecraftian origins, his influence is most palpable in From Beyond (1986), In the Mouth of Madness (1994), The Void (2016), The Shrine (2010) and Baskin (2015)—all of which are on the more gruesome side to varying degrees.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2019 9:08 am

    This looks great, will have to check it out. Awesome practical special effects work as well1

    • John Leavengood permalink
      October 13, 2019 11:24 am

      Oh, this is pure joy in terms of practical special effects abundance and diversity. So highly recommended.

  2. Podferatu permalink
    October 13, 2019 7:34 pm

    Where can one find this??

    • John Leavengood permalink
      October 13, 2019 7:42 pm

      I saw it on YouTube. Good resolution, but unfortunately the top and bottom of the screen is cut out so you’re seeing the middle 70% of the frame throughout the movie. I still managed to enjoy it, though.

      • Podferatu permalink
        October 13, 2019 7:56 pm

        Thanks! I was afraid of that. Saw a VHS for $50 on Amazon…ugh.

  3. rdfranciswriter permalink
    August 9, 2021 1:23 pm

    Yes. The practical effect is what makes this rock and roll!


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