The Dunwich Horror (1970)
Directed by: Daniel Haller
Written by: Curtis Hanson, H.P. Lovecraft, Henry Rosenbaum, Ronald Silkosky
Starring: Dean Stockwell, Donna Baccala, Ed Begley, Lloyd Bochner, Sam Jaffe, Sandra Dee, Talia Shire
THE DUNWICH HORROR (1970)
Directed by Daniel Haller
Out there on Arrow Video Blu-Ray
Arkham college lecturer, Dr Henry Armitage, turns into suspicious when the great-grandson of hanged lunatic Oliver Whateley, Wilbur Whateley, arrives on the uni’s library wishing to learn the uncommon Necronomicon guide which Armitage possesses. With directions on the best way to open the gates between our world and that of the Outer Gods, the guide is to not be trifled with. Regardless of his scepticism on the legitimacy of such energy and entities, Armitage is aware of full properly to respect the unknown so when Wilbur Whateley begins to make requests to be able to learn the guide, he flatly declines. Having researched Wilbur’s great-grandfather Oliver Whateley and his obsession with the Elder Gods, Armitage has actual issues about Wilbur’s intentions which solely intensify when his pupil Nancy Wagner goes lacking after driving Wilbur house to Dunwich. When Armitage and Nancy’s buddy Elizabeth go searching for Nancy, they discover her accompanying Wilbur with whom she’s agreed to spend the weekend. Regardless of being assured the whole lot is ok by Nancy, they concern for her security with this stranger. Undeterred by Nancy’s insistence, Armitage decides to analyze and interview the native townsfolk to be able to discover out precisely who Wilbur is and what plans he might have for Nancy.
Loosely primarily based on H.P. Lovecraft’s work of the identical title, THE DUNWICH HORROR is a supernatural horror film from American Worldwide Footage that oozes the fashion of a Hammer Horror with a splash of the unease of Rosemary’s Child.
The movie focuses on a younger man and his household who’ve a historical past of embracing an elder race of Gods, one thing which the local people of Dunwich doesn’t take too kindly to. Younger Whateley’s curiosity within the Necronomicon might doubtlessly spell catastrophe for the human race as we all know it, which spurs skilled Dr Armitage to motion to stop such a catastrophic occasion from occurring.
Dean Stockwell is charming because the curious Wilbur Whateley; a seemingly shy however dapper gentleman who appears to simply attraction the naive Nancy (Sandra Dee) from the minute they meet. Our first impression of him following his arrival on the College is that he’s as much as no good. Even when his quiet manner doesn’t appear threatening, you may sense the malintent behind his intense gaze and calculated actions. As we discover out, our suspicions are for good purpose.
On the facet of excellent is Ed Begley as Physician Henry Armitage. Begley portrays Armitage as a person of nice intelligence and stature throughout the neighborhood. Not one for backing down and identified for his in depth analysis into his research, he’s the sort of one that gained’t cease digging till he has solutions. A person you most undoubtedly need in your facet when issues go south.
Sandra Dee’s function within the film is kind of underused, however as her character doesn’t exist in H.P. Lovecraft’s story, then this will go to elucidate why she’s little greater than a fairly object of Wilbur’s affection and intention.
While the movie’s plot differs rather a lot from the novella, it may possibly nonetheless be appreciated in its personal proper and has loads to shout about even when the story hasn’t an excessive amount of depth to it. The usage of color all through the film, contrasting ice-blues and greys with highly effective reds and greens, actually catches the attention, while shadows are used to nice impact each for inside and exterior pictures. The Whateley manor is one other grand show of element, with the set dressers showcasing a wealth of options contained in the property. Every little bit of furnishings is ornate in its personal method and we’re even handled to a stained glass window because the staircase winds as much as the highest ground of the manor the place extra secrets and techniques are saved.
While a lot of the movie is directed in direction of the drama between characters, we’re handled to a brief however spectacular combat scene as Wilbur breaks into the Arkham Miskatonic College library. The scuffle between Wilbur and the guard is surprisingly energetic, and is among the scenes within the movie that grabs your consideration with the movie, to that time, providing extra sedate scenes of simmering unease.
THE DUNWICH HORROR teases greater than it exhibits, although there are some wonderful, trippy scenes which are utilised and edited in a trend that mirror a sense of disorientation. Photographs of the ocean mixed with creepy figures grabbing at a personality blur the strains between dreamscape and actuality, so that you’re not at all times positive what’s happening. As beforehand talked about, there’s additionally a touch of Polanski’s Rosemary’s Child right here and there, however isn’t fairly as intense or highly effective because the horror basic.
With its indelible theme tune that’s repeated all through the film in numerous guises, THE DUNWICH HORROR is a movie that tantalises on many ranges. Sadly, it’s the screenplay that doesn’t appear to fairly stay as much as its achievement in different areas, with the plot missing a considerable punch. Nonetheless, it’s an exquisite instance of horror filmmaking from that point interval, and has heaps about it to admire and respect, although don’t expect a trustworthy adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s work.