Director: Dan O’Bannon
Stars: John Terry, Jane Sibbett, Chris Sarandon
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
Start with a story by H.P. Lovecraft, add in Dan O’Bannon who wrote Alien and directed Return of the Living Dead, then top it off with Chris Sarandon who will always be of Fright Night fame to me. Mix that all together and you’ve got a winning combination for a horror film that, oddly, isn’t known by many. Three cheers, then, to the always wonderful Scream Factory for bringing The Resurrected back to life with a new Blu-ray release. You already know I like it, so let’s get to the reasons why.
The Lovecraft story in question is The Case of Charles Dexter Ward in which a very modern man named Charles discovers he has a long-lost relative from colonial times. He starts to unearth his unknown family lineage and next thing you know this very nice guy is acting kind of weird. He’s talking in ye olde timey English, hanging out with unsavory characters, shunning his concerned wife, and oh yeah, his teeth are all jacked up. So the wife turns to the typical tough P.I. to dig into the matter and find out what happened to her lovable spouse.
What follows is an investigation that does a good job revealing the mystery one layer at a time. Charles is taken into custody for acting all crazy, but that does very little to set things right. Much of the horror is brought to light through historical diaries and recounts, but there is a bit involving an underground exploration that is the stuff of nightmares. All this leads to an epic confrontation and an appropriate horror-noir ending.
The Resurrected gets the feel and tone of Lovecraft right, something that so many movies that begin with “H.P. Lovecraft’s…” fail to do. No surprise there, as director O’Bannon has been a long-time admirer of the weird fiction author. The acting is good with Sarandon playing his part with relish and John Terry doing a fine job at the square-jawed P.I. routine. Keep an eye peeled for Robert (Fast Times at Ridgemont High) Romanus as a supporting character. If he only had some Van Halen tickets to scalp, maybe things would have turned out different for him… The direction by O’Bannon is more than competent, with good use of light and dark, when to turn up the terror and when to let things simmer. The last star of the show is the practical effects for one gruesome corpse found on a rainy day, and a stop motion horror that is as charming as it is frightening.
Let’s get to those extras that Scream Factory put on this new Blu-ray release. There is a commentary track with producers Mark Borde and Kenneth Raich, screenwriter Brent V. Friedman, actor Richard Romanus, and make-up effects artist Todd Masters. Sadly this movie came out after the passing of director Dan O’Bannon; I would have loved to hear his thoughts on this film. There is an interview with actress Jane Sibbett that’s 15 minutes, an interview with Chris Sarandon that’s also 15 minutes, yet another one with screenwriter Brent V. Friedman that’s close to 18 minutes, and one more interview with composer Richard Band that runs 10 minutes. But wait, there’s more – another interview with production designer Brent Thomas that’s eight minutes long, and finally, last but not least, an interview with special effects artist Todd Masters clocking in at 16 minutes. In addition there is a collection of deleted and extended scenes, a video home trailer, a Japanese trailer, a photo gallery, and a video of Dan O’Bannon winning the Fangoria Magazine’s Chainsaw Award for the best direct to video movie of the year, presented by Bruce Campbell and Quinten Tarantino. That’s a lot of extras that Scream Factory gathered up for this film.
The Resurrected is a great little movie, one of the rare adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories that gets things right. It’s mysterious, creepy, historical, gory, and surprisingly funny at times. Okay, those last two things are all that Lovecraftian, but for me, they were welcome additions. The movie also looks great on this new Scream Factory disc, so consider this one very highly recommended by me.