×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Necronomicon

Wraparound ("The Library")

With:
H.P. Lovecraft ... Jeffrey Combs Librarian ... Tony Azito Attendant ... Juan Fernandez "The Drowned" Directed by Christophe Gans. Camera, Russ Brandt; editor, Chris Roth; makeup special effects, Tom Savini, Optic Nerve (John Vulich); assistant director, Bill Barry. Running time: 27 MIN. Edward De La Pore ... Bruce Payne Jethro De La Pore ... Richard Lynch Nancy Gallmore ... Belinda Bauer Clara ... Maria Ford Jethro's son ... Peter Jasienski Emma De La Pore ... Denice D. Lewis Doctor ... William Jess Russell Villager ... Vladimir Kulich "The Cold" Directed by Shu Kaneko, based on H.P. Lovecraft's "Cool Air." Camera, Gerry Lively; editor, Chris Roth; makeup special effects, Screaming Mad George, Chris Robbins, Misa Gardner; assistant director, Ed Licht. Running time:24 MIN. Dr. Madden ... David Warner Emily Osterman ... Bess Meyer Lena ... Millie Perkins Dale Porker ... Gary Graham Mr. Hawkins ... Curt Lowens Cops ... James Paradise, Sebastian White "Whispers" Directed by Brian Yuzna, based on H.P. Lovecraft's "The Whisperer in the Darkness." Camera, Gerry Lively; editor, Keith Sauter; makeup special effects, Todd Masters; assistant director, Ed Licht. Running time: 25 MIN. Sarah ... Signy Coleman Paul ... Obba Babatunde Mr. Benedict ... Don Calfa Mrs. Benedict ... Judith Drake

Wraparound (“The Library”)

Directed by Brian Yuzna. Camera (Foto-Kem color), Gerry Liveley; supervising editor, Chris Roth; music, Joseph Lo Duca; makeup special effects, Todd Masters; assistant director, Ed Licht.

In-your-face goremeister Brian Yuzna makes a game attempt to revive the portmanteau horror flick with “Necronomicon,” a three-parter (plus wraparound) based on stories and themes drawn from the deep well of H.P. Lovecraft. Result, using a raft of international directors, is diverting but uneven, though pic will see brisk biz in vid-bin afterlife. Theatrical chances in mature territories look chancier beyond quick-play splatter venues.

Yuzna himself helms the fanciful wraparound (“The Library”), set in fall 1932 , in which H.P. (Jeffrey Combs) visits a library run by strange monks where resides a copy of the famed Necronomicon, a book that contains “the very secrets of the universe.” H.P. is low on inspiration, so, locked up in a vault with the magical tome, he jots down notes for stories.

Segue to first seg (“The Drowned”), a “House of Usher”-like variation set in a remote, coastal New England hotel with a ghostly rep.

Jethro (Richard Lynch, serviceable), returning from abroad to claim his inheritance, is shown around the dump by a sexy realtor (Belinda Bauer, terrific) who advises him to sell it straightaway. Jethro demurs and finds his late uncle made a pact with the devil. Eventually, history repeats itself.

Set in Boston, “The Cold” centers on an aggressive reporter (Gary Graham, twitchy) researching a spate of killings. His digging leads him to a house owned by Emily (Bess Meyer, flavorsome), who lives in subcryonic temperatures and relates the story of her mother, victim of a mad scientist (David Warner, over the top) who needed a constant supply of human spinal fluid to maintain eternal life. Final twist is signaled early on.

“Whispers,” set in a vaguely futuristic Philly, follows a feisty female cop (Signy Coleman, OK) who crashes her car in an urban hell and is drawn into a pit full of monsters by a folksy old couple (Don Calfa, Judith Drake, cleverly menacing). Double-punch twist ending is neat but nothing new.

Yuzna’s wraparound rolls down the curtain in grand F/X style, with H.P.’s dabbling with the Necronomicon causing the netherworld to demand a victim. The author lives to write another batch of stories, natch.

Overall jokey tone of the film is precariously maintained, given the wide spread of genres. Best of the bunch is, in fact, the most serious, “The Drowned, ” in which French director Christophe Gans trades on but finds more modern equivalents of the Roger Corman legacy. Effects and atmosphere are stylishly handled, with a dreamlike quality that doesn’t simply rely on gore.

Japanese helmer Shu Kaneko’s “The Cold” is competently handled but degrades early on into a retread of Yuzna’s own “Re-Animator,” capped by gruesome F/X. Millie Perkins balances Warner’s hammy boffin with more controlled menace.

Yuzna’s own seg, “Whispers,” is the weakest of the three, a straight linear tale whose only interest lies in how far he’ll go with rotting corpses and bodily fluids to cap the previous episodes. After 80 minutes or so, deja vu looms.

Tech credits are fine, with iron-hard Dolby sound and an intense, driving score in “The Drowned” and the wraparound by Joseph Lo Duca (“Evil Dead”) that’s a real plus. Russ Brandt’s lensing of “The Drowned” has a stylish edge, and effects throughout, by a battery of names, are up to scratch, especially in the showcase final minutes.

Necronomicon

Production: A Davis Film production. (International sales: August Entertainment, L.A.) Produced by Samuel Hadida, Brian Yuzna. Executive producer, Taka Ichise. Co-producer, Aki Komine. Screenplay, Brent V. Friedman. Production design, Anthony Tremblay; art direction, Aram Allen; set decoration, Claire Kaufman; costume design, Ida Gearson; sound (Dolby SR), Geoffrey Patterson, Ken Ross; makeup special effects supervisor, Thomas C. Rainone; mechanical effects, Doug Beswick; miniatures, David Sharp; line producer, Gary Schmoeller; second unit

Crew: Camera, Jerry Watson; casting, Jeffery Passero. Reviewed at Planet Hollywood screening room, London, Nov. 19, 1993. (In London Film Festival.) Total running time: 96 MIN.

With: H.P. Lovecraft ... Jeffrey Combs Librarian ... Tony Azito Attendant ... Juan Fernandez "The Drowned" Directed by Christophe Gans. Camera, Russ Brandt; editor, Chris Roth; makeup special effects, Tom Savini, Optic Nerve (John Vulich); assistant director, Bill Barry. Running time: 27 MIN. Edward De La Pore ... Bruce Payne Jethro De La Pore ... Richard Lynch Nancy Gallmore ... Belinda Bauer Clara ... Maria Ford Jethro's son ... Peter Jasienski Emma De La Pore ... Denice D. Lewis Doctor ... William Jess Russell Villager ... Vladimir Kulich "The Cold" Directed by Shu Kaneko, based on H.P. Lovecraft's "Cool Air." Camera, Gerry Lively; editor, Chris Roth; makeup special effects, Screaming Mad George, Chris Robbins, Misa Gardner; assistant director, Ed Licht. Running time:24 MIN. Dr. Madden ... David Warner Emily Osterman ... Bess Meyer Lena ... Millie Perkins Dale Porker ... Gary Graham Mr. Hawkins ... Curt Lowens Cops ... James Paradise, Sebastian White "Whispers" Directed by Brian Yuzna, based on H.P. Lovecraft's "The Whisperer in the Darkness." Camera, Gerry Lively; editor, Keith Sauter; makeup special effects, Todd Masters; assistant director, Ed Licht. Running time: 25 MIN. Sarah ... Signy Coleman Paul ... Obba Babatunde Mr. Benedict ... Don Calfa Mrs. Benedict ... Judith Drake

More Film

  • 'Who Will Write Our History' Review:

    Film Review: 'Who Will Write Our History'

    The most famous diarist of the Holocaust, Anne Frank, began to write down the drama of her daily life with no ulterior motive (apart from her teenage ambition to write fiction). But in March 1944, the year before she died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, she heard a radio broadcast by a member of the [...]

  • Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer

    Film News Roundup: 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' Trailer Sets Sony Pictures Record

    In today’s film news roundup, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” sets a studio record, Chris Meledandri and Glenn Close are honored, an art-house streaming service is unveiled, and “Cliffs of Freedom” gets a release. TRAILER STATS The first “Spider-Man: Far From Home” trailer has set a record as the biggest digital launch in Sony Pictures history [...]

  • Frank Grillo Hell on the Border

    Frank Grillo to Star in the Thriller 'Hell on the Border'

    Frank Grillo is set to star in the action-thriller “Hell on the Border” with Wes Miller directing. Miller also penned the script with Curtis Nichouls, Henry Penzi, and Sasha Yelaun producing. Ron Perlman is also on board to co-star. Plot details are unknown at this time. Production is currently underway in Birmingham, Ala. Grillo has [...]

  • Lee Unkrich Variety Oscars Nominees Lunch

    'Toy Story 3,' 'Coco' Director Lee Unkrich to Exit Pixar After 25 Years

    Lee Unkrich, who won Academy Awards for “Toy Story 3” and “Coco,” is departing Pixar Animation Studios after 25 years to spend more time with his family. Unkrich joined Pixar in 1994 after working as an assistant editor in television on “Silk Stalkings” and “Renegade.” He served as editor on Pixar’s first feature, 1995’s “Toy [...]

  • Velvet Buzzsaw trailer

    Netflix Original Movies: What to Look Forward To in 2019

    Following the biggest fourth-quarter worldwide subscriber gain ever and some controversy around increased prices in the U.S., Netflix looks to keep its momentum going into 2019. From Jan. 18 through March, the streaming site will release 10 original films, including action-packed thrillers, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi, quirky comedies, inspirational dramas, an artistic horror movie and a viral [...]

  • Third 'Fantastic Beasts' Production Start Pushed

    Third 'Fantastic Beasts' Production Start Pushed Back Several Months

    Warner Bros. is pushing back the production start date of its third “Fantastic Beasts” movie several months from July to the late fall, a spokesperson said Friday. Actors have been notified about the change in dates. The untitled third “Fantastic Beasts” movie has not yet set a release date. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find [...]

  • The Beatles Eight Days a Week

    Imagine's Documentary Arm Sets First-Look Pact With Apple (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries has set a first-look pact with Apple to develop non-fiction features and series. The deal comes as Imagine is investing heavily in the premium non-fiction arena. The company in June recruited RadicalMedia veteran Justin Wilkes to head Imagine Documentaries as president. The deal suggests that Apple sees docu [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content