Director: Jean-Paul Ouellette
Stars: Charles Klausmeyer, Mark Kinsey Stephenson, Alexandra Durrell
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
When a movie begins with “H.P. Lovecraft’s…” you can flip a coin if it’s going to be frightful and fun or just cheesy and horrible. As much as I love the man’s stories, movies based on those stories are more miss than hit. So here is The Unnamable, the late 80s movie based off a short tale that is more atmosphere than anything actually tangible – how does this make the jump from page to screen? Well, grab a flashlight, your well-thumbed copy of The Necronomicon, and let’s find out.
Some college kids are in a graveyard and the weird author of weird fiction, H.P. Lo….er, I mean Randolph Carter, is telling his buddies about a local legend of an unnamable monster in a nearby house. This being an 80s horror movie, everyone thinks he’s joking, so two college couples decide to go into the haunted house one night for some stupid fun. Too bad for them, Randolph was right and soon something starts stalking them, knocking them off one by one, slasher style. Yes, how very Lovecraft.
The movie has no real resemblance to the Lovecraft story, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some late 80s horror charm and fun. The characters are all stock cardboard but none of them are grating, and there is no Lovecraftian cosmic horror here, but there are nods, winks, and name drops to many of HPL’s creations. The “unnamable” creature is a pretty stereotypical demon (there, I named it) but the full bodysuit is impressive as are the practical gore effects. Oh, and a staple of all the best 80s horror movies, and something that no doubt makes H.P. Lovecraft roll in his grave: boobies! Yes, this is a typical 80s slasher, but since I love those I’m okay with it here masquerading as something more.
Okay, let’s get to those extras and special features that Unearthed Films has given us here. First I’ve got to note something kind of pointless and kind of cool: a vintage 2.0 grindhouse audio track in addition to the usual 2.0 and 5.1 surround sound tracks on here. That basically means everything hisses and pops and generally sounds like crap, but if you want to recapture that grindhouse experience, this can help you out with that. There is an audio commentary with actors Charles Klausmeyer, Mark Stephenson, Laura Albert, Eben Ham, and special makeup effects artists R. Christopher Biggs and Camille Calvet. Actors Klausmeyer and Stephenson come back for a duo interview that runs nearly one hour and twenty minutes. There is an interview with Eben Ham that is 31 minutes long, another with Laura Albert that’s just over 46 minutes long, another interview with actor Mark Parra that’s 33 minutes long, and then the makeup artists R. Christopher Biggs and Camille Calvet do an interview together that’s a cool one-hour long. Lastly there is a photo gallery and a bunch of trailers, but sadly not one for The Unnamable. Weird. But no matter how you slice it, that’s a whole lot of goodies for this often-forgotten film. Nice.
The Unnamable is a fun movie. It’s not great but it’s not too shabby, either. If you can devoice it from the “H.P. Lovecraft’s…” over the title I think you will like it quite a bit. I do. And it must be said, it looks absolutely great on this new Blu-ray, so consider this one recommended.