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Rated R
Copyright 1970 Filmways Pictures
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • Wilbur Whateley - Dean Stockwell! A young cultist intent on bringing back "The Old Ones." Spontaneously combusts.
  • Nancy - Sandra Dee! Girl entranced by Wilbur's powers.
  • Doctor Armitage - Professor of the occult who possesses the powerful tomb "The Necronomicon."
  • Grandpa Whateley - Elder of the clan, falls down the steps.
  • Elizabeth - Another college girl, opens the wrong door and becomes monster chow.
  • Levinya Whateley - Wilbur's mother, a bit goofy since giving birth to the twins. Passes away and has her soul eaten by birds.
  • Doctor Cory - Town physician.
  • Wilbur's Brother - A monster which looks more like their father. What it does look like is a mass of rubber hands and snake heads. Banished to it's home dimension.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

PAINFULLY slow. Dean Stockwell's steady and faultless monotone didn't help either, no matter what he's describing it's the same droning voice. Just add some really long and drawn out scenes to this for the real horror.

Wilbur meets Armitage hoping to persuade him for time to study the Necronomicon, but is refused. So then he lures Nancy to his home and drugs her, using something which makes it's subject sleepy and prone to suggestion. After stealing the book everything is ready for his ritual, lucky for the human race Armitage arrives in time to save the day.

There's no joke about how much suffering this movie caused me, it has few redeeming qualities. One is that Elizabeth's clothes are all ripped off when the monster chomps her! (NO IDEA why that happened, but it's cool.) I stopped the film to get a good look at this "monster" - it really is a mass of latex snake heads and arms. They only give glimpses to prevent you getting a really good look and I don't blame them.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Worshippers of "The Old Ones" have to use self serve gas stations.
  • Never let a cultist make the tea.
  • Evil people do not use combs.
  • Giving birth to a monster from another dimension is hard on a girl.
  • Owls are kept nailed to porch railings.
  • Birds eat souls.
  • Pistols are more difficult to keep a hold on than a greased pig.
  • Glass paperweights are the leading cause of house fires.
  • Women make great book rests.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 3 mins - Wait! This is a horror movie right? Horror movies don't transition into some goofy cartoon during the opening credits...
  • 15 mins - Wilbur, your monotone is driving me up the wall.
  • 21 mins - Nancy is pretty darn hyper for having been drugged.
  • 22 mins - What the heck is making that sound?
  • 40 mins - Hello? Nancy? Every time you drink tea you get sleepy and dizzy...
  • 47 mins - Will this scene ever end?
  • 50 mins - I wouldn't open that door Elizabeth.
  • 61 mins - Here we go with reddish "possessed vision."
  • 68 mins - Can't see that gun very well, I don't think it should be making a sound like a pump shotgun though.

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note dunwich1.wav Wilbur: "Doctor Armitage, I'd like permission to study the Necronomicon."
Green Music Note dunwich2.wav Armitage: "In ancient times that book was said to unlock the gates to another dimension, to another race of beings."
Green Music Note dunwich3.wav Nancy: "What did he believe in?"
Wilbur: "In another race of beings from a different dimension. An earlier race superior to man, and he believed they could be brought back."
Green Music Note dunwich4.wav Nancy: "Wilbur, those birds, what does it mean?"
Wilbur: "They were trying to capture his soul as it left his body."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 



 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipdunwich1.mpg - 1.6m
Elizabeth gets to meet Wilbur's brother in this scene and I don't think she is very happy about it. Being flogged with rubber hands and snake heads is probably painful.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
The Dunwich Horror
Reply #1. Posted on July 26, 1999, 03:19:34 PM by
I actually enjoyed the movie a lot. It was at times creepy, ludicrous and erotic. What more could you want from a film? Despite all its faults, it nearly succeeded in the impossible task of bringing something of Lovecraft's vision to the screen.

But you're right about the ending - it sucks!
The Dunwich Horror
Reply #2. Posted on October 30, 1999, 09:12:19 PM by
This flick is one of my all time Guilty Pleasures.
Besides, I may not have discovered H.P.Lovecraft if it wasn't for this film. There are some great bits, such as the creepy shot of the invisible monster (wind?) rolling over the swamp bog at night. This was a great drive in movie back in 1970.
The Dunwich Horror
Reply #3. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Charles
Wow- stumbled across the site while surfing. Never thought I'd be reminded of THAT movie again!
The Dunwich Horror
Reply #4. Posted on February 19, 2000, 01:55:18 AM by sandra dee
Hey, I enjoyed making this film!!! Give me a break!
The Dunwich Horror
Reply #5. Posted on September 21, 2000, 03:25:37 PM by chad edwards
   I don't care what anyone says, I really enjoyed this movie. I thought the acting was great, especially by the lovely and talented Sandra Dee, who I have always had a huge crush on. Dean Stockwell(also terrific) was obviously warming up for his role in David Lynch's DUNE. Ed Begley also does well in his very last film role. Critics and audiences alike are much too harsh on this neat little flick. Besides, of the many attempts Hollywood has made to capture the great H.P. Lovecraft on celluloid, this is by far the best! The only possible flaw the film has is the ending, but that's no reason to completely dismiss it.
The Dunwich Horror
Reply #6. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Minna H
No matter how bad the movie is (and it has its good moments too) I can forgive everything for the sight of Dean
Stockwell looking so handsome.
The Dunwich Horror
Reply #7. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by mira m
Here's some trivia: according to folklore, owls nailed above doorways repel storms. No idea why you'd have one nailed to a porch railing though...
The Dunwich Horror
Reply #8. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Bats
Being an HP Lovecraft fan I thought I'd give this a try.  Bad mistake.  It stayed on my screen for perhaps five minutes before I reached for the 'off' button.  I think it was the cartoon credits that did it for me.  I mean, come on!  It makes me wonder just how scary The Exorcist would have been if the credits had been done by Tex Avery...
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