Thursday, October 18, 2018

Brief Thoughts - THE DUNWICH HORROR (1970)

I know that there is a sizable contingent of horror fandom that does not like THE DUNWICH HORROR (1970). I understand this. The first time I saw the film I was unimpressed and found it a rather mixed bag. There were elements I liked but the modern day setting and the use of odd editing choices to communicate some of the supernatural influences were off-putting. But the film stuck with me. Since my second viewing years ago I have come to really like the movie - not in spite of it's perceived flaws but because of those odder ingredients. It's those stranger choices that set the film apart from all but the more experimental Lovecraft adaptations. In trying to find a way to visualize the more uncanny parts of what HPL writes about the director went with something interesting but potentially irritating . Given how disliked the film is I suspect that, for most, it doesn't work. I know that these components were probably used to hide budgetary problems but that just makes them more interesting for me. I'm glad to say that - like an other-dimensional slime mold - it has grown on me.

Plus, Dean Stockwell's performance is slickly mesmerizing. Rarely has such a creepy character slithered across the screen so smoothly. I only wish his third act demise was more satisfying and not another example of a low budget effect.

1 comment:

Randall Landers said...

I had no idea The Dunwich Horror was disliked, seriously. It's not exactly true to the source material, but given the limitations of the time in which it was produced, this should surprise no one. Instead, we have fantastic performances by various actors, including Dean Stockwell, Ed Begley, Sam Jaffe, Lloyd Bochner, and yes Sandra Dee. Yes, I understand the purists object to a good bit of the decisions made by the production team in order to limits its scope, but the tale is a good one. I recommend this film to all horror fans.