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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Unnamable (1988)


Having just finished my Slasher movie marathon I hadn’t intended to start another one but then started watching/reading a bunch of stuff inspired by H.P. Lovecraft. So I figured what the Hell. Welcome to my first Lovecraft marathon. Not sure how long it will last.

In this loosely based adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft story the action opens in the past with a warlock trying to contain a creature in his attic. We later find out that it is his daughter, whom promptly kills him! Years later three separate groups of college kids go wandering into the house and become victims of the unnameable horror contained within! See how the title works in? The skeptic is first, followed by the frat boys trying to score with some ladies, followed by our heroes who go looking for the missing skeptic. Luckily one of those who wanders in is a book worm named Randolph Carter, who recognizes what is happening and that the Necronomicon lying around the house has the spell to contain the evil and set them free. Oh yeah, they are locked in and can’t get out.

This is a quintessential ‘80s horror movie. You have a fast-paced story that wastes very little time developing characters before throwing them to the creature. Now that doesn’t mean they aren’t interesting, though most of them aren’t. The Randolph Carter character is a lot of fun though. Not only does he not recognize that he is in danger due to him geeking out over the Necronomicon, but he doesn’t seem to care about the bodies piling up either! He isn’t being an ass about it, he just really likes to read. Honestly the rest of the characters are sort of forgettable, including Carter’s sidekick Howard who is in love with one of the ladies trapped in the house, but of course ends up with the nice girl.
Love the creature design

There are some funny bits of dialogue including one of my favorite lines ever uttered in ‘80s horror history. The first victim is a skeptic who thinks that the legend of the house is nonsense. When he finally meets up with the creature his reaction is priceless. He simply utters, “Uh oh”. How perfect is that? Okay maybe you had to be there to appreciate it, but it put a smile on my face.

This is a lower budget movie, as you can obviously tell from the interior sets that don’t match the exterior shots of the house. Another funny line is when one of the characters points out that the house is much bigger than it looks like from the outside! I love this kind of wink at the audience. The typically goofy musical cues that sound like they came from a Casio keyboard also add to the fun. The money they did have was spent wisely. We get five kills, most of them on screen. A heart gets ripped out of a chest, a frat boy gets his neck torn out, another frat boy gets smashed, and finally a co-ed gets her head twisted around. Not bad gore considering. The best part is the creature design. They keep it off camera until near the end, but when we do see it isn’t disappointing. The design is very simple and incredibly effective. I really like what they did with it.

If you dig ‘80s horror this is a must see. It is a prime example of the cool stuff that was coming out on the straight to video market. Mom and Pop shops needed content and while most of it wasn’t great occasionally something fun got made. This is a prime example of that. I highly recommend The Unnameable.


© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer

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