The Drudgeon reviews The Dunwich Horror

The Dunwich Horror 88 min., 1970
Written by Curtis Lee Hanson/Henry Rosenbaum/Ronald Silkosky
Directed by Daniel Haller
Language: English
My rating: ★

Age has not been very kind to this movie.

* * *

We begin with a pregnant woman moaning.  After some time we jump forward to a woman named Nancy Wagner (Sandra Dee) and Elizabeth Hamilton (Donna Baccala) putting a book into a glass case.  A man steps up and asks if he may look at the book.  Nancy can’t help looking into his eyes and ends up letting him look at the book.  He is then approached by Dr. Henry Armitage (Ed Begley) who is the owner of the book, which just happens to be the Necronomicon.  They talk briefly and we learn that the man’s name is Wilbur Whateley (Dean Stockwell).  It seems that Dr. Armitage had actually studied Wilbur’s family and the town, Dunwich, where he is from.  They all end up going out for a drink and after some time Dr. Armitage and Elizabeth leave and Nancy ends up giving Wilbur a ride home.  Some tea and talk later Nancy spends the night and while she is sleeping she has a very disturbing dream.  The next day Wilbur and Nancy seem closer than they should be and when Dr. Armitage and Elizabeth try to get her to come home, she pretty much acts like a zombie.  What does Wilbur have in store for Nancy and what is behind the door that keeps rattling?

Probably the biggest problem with the movie is the acting.  Everyone walks around like they have a four foot stick in their ass and when they deliver their lines they just don’t seem to be trying.  Okay I shouldn’t say everyone.  Donna Baccala actually does a good job as the scared friend and Dean Stockwell does okay with his role.  The worst offender of the bunch is Sam Jaffe who plays Wilbur’s grandfather.  He runs around like a fool and when he is supposed to be shouting at someone he just whisper-shouts.  I know he was supposed to not be entirely there, but it could have been done so much better.  The acting pretty much comes off like a stage play and nothing more.

I understand that the effects of the time were not what they are today, but most of the effects (what little there are) are pretty poor.  The “monster” looks okay and when they “show” him flying they make great use of a helicopter (at least I think it’s a helicopter) to show the wind.  But I did get bored with the seizure inducing flashing colors.  Used once, cool.  Used twice, okay.  Used more than that, please just stop.

This movie leaves a lot to be desired.  Now I really don’t know shit about H.P. Lovecraft and his works (besides the movies that I’ve seen), but this really doesn’t seem to have much to do with his mythos (that being what I’ve heard from other people about his mythos).  But that aside this movie left me very bored.  Every scene takes a full five minutes too long and most of the questions that the movie raises aren’t even answered.  Usually I don’t mind that, but this movie really gave me nothing else.  Now we did get a dream sequence that was supposed to be scary, I guess.  Too bad it came off more like an early version of the dirty hippies from Godspell.  That was bad enough, but the worst for me was the ending.  SPOILER.  Now the bad guy in the movie has to do about a billion things for his plan to come to fruition, but all it takes is a man saying two phrases each three times to defeat him?  Really!  Fuck you!  That felt like a copout instead of an actual conclusion.  And let me just ask you.  Where was the giant fucking monster that was killing people (by changing their colors) during this?  Why didn’t he just fly in and kill off the two unarmed old men?  SPOILER END.  Like the rest of this movie those questions will never be answered and when it comes down to it, I just don’t care.

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About The Drudgeon

I don't remember my real name or where I came from. All I know is that I'm traped in an underground cave with nothing but a TV, DVD player and a notebook and pen. They keep calling me The Drudgeon, I don't even know what that means. Someone keeps dropping horror movies in and yelling at me to watch them and write about what I watch. Then I eat the DVD and case, because they tell me if I consume the horror I will understand the horror. I think there are three of them. So if you are reading this right now, HELP ME!!!!!!! OUCH!!!! Someone just poked me with a sea urchin attacked to a pool cue, what the fuck is going on?
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One Response to The Drudgeon reviews The Dunwich Horror

  1. John Bruni says:

    As hard as it is to believe, back then, Dean Stockwell was considered a sex symbol. People were even calling him the second coming of James Dean. Weird, eh?

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