Review Date: 12/3/99
Director: Christophe Gans
Special Effects: Screaming Mad George, Tom Savini
Cast: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Payne, David Warner, Richard Lynch
An earlier effort from Christophe Gans and the team that brought us the superb "Crying Freeman" (1995). As such, I was very interested in seeing their other work. Unfortunately, it's dull and uninteresting, and the filmmakers' talents are not well suited to the horror genre (with the exception of gorehounds Screaming Mad George and Tom Savini, of course). The film itself has nothing to do with H.P. Lovecraft's writings, but is instead inspired by them. Presumably in the 1930's, H.P. Lovecraft (Jeffrey Combs) visits a libary where the infamous book of the dead, the Necronomicon, is rumored to be hidden. He finds it and uses it to inspire three short stories that play out in anthology format. The first segment, "The Drowned", is about a man who uses the Necronomicon to bring back his dead wife, with disastrous results. The second segment, "The Cold", is about a woman with a strange disease that makes her extremely sensitive to heat and sunlight. The Necronomicon holds the secret to her longevity... The final segment, "Whispers" is a confusing gorefest about a hot-tempered policewoman who is desperately trying to track down her partner who has been kidnapped by the notorious criminal known as "The Butcher." I've already forgotten how the Necronomicon was involved in that tale. The film ends with Mr. Lovecraft unwittingly unleashing a horrific monster, but managing to escape the library with the deadly tome safely in tow.
Sadly, the film never comes together and is just downright boring. The film looks nice and has a delightful music score, but the writing is poor and the cast looks like it was culled from a B-movie action porn talent pool. For me, the silliest and most unforgiveable aspect of the film was the fact that all of the stories took place in a contemporary setting, whereas Mr. Lovecraft was writing them back in the 1930's. Big continuity flaw there... The effects and gore makeup are pretty good, but ultimately pointless. Somehow, the monsters don't seem scary or icky, and only serve to push the stories to their conclusions.