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THE DUNWICH HORROR - 1 Slime
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 

FileDialog
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 

ImageImageImage


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 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] 4 5
The Dunwich Horror
Reply #17. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Chris
OK I admit I am a "crazy" H.P.Lovecraft fan, and I take the time to try and watch all the book-movie films that have been made. (From Beyond , Reanimater , Dunwich Horror etc).

However the directors never seem to be able to capture the incomprehensible nature of the Cthulluh beings , methods or intentions.

All things said and done this film isnt to bad though I did have to stop the film half way and have a cup of tea before finishing it off.

All said and done is it possible to extract the deep narratives and underlying theme of H P Lovecraft onto film , as yet no , stick to reading H P Lovecraft instead of watching someones interpretation of his mind set.

Chris -England-
The Dunwich Horror
Reply #18. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Neville
A very poor adaptation of Lovecraft. It doesn't help that it wasn't one of his best tales (try "The mound" or "The shadow over Innsmouth", for instance) or that his works are not precisely very cinematographic (we all should know already that he does not like to describe the creatures in detail, or that his atmospheres depend heavily undescriptable factors), but surely they could have done it much, much better. I personally think the movie is quite acceptable until the last part. The psicodelic lights gave me a terrible headache and to watch some nudity is not enough reason to make me watch this again.

By the way, about what I said about Lovecraft being hard to adapt, just in case you don't believe me, watch "J.C's In the mouth of madness", it is the best translation to screen I have seen of Lovecraft's universe, although it does not adapt any of his works in particular.
The Dunwich Horror
Reply #19. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Brad Moore
The Dunwich Horror is way better than Die Monster Die , and the few other attempts that film makers have done to capture H. P. Lovecrafts feel for the weird abyss that is measureless to mankind. This film captures the "indescribable" thing from another dimension better than any other Lovecraft film. All of the others feature a lizard-zombie-witch-goat-etc...  and never attempt to stretch far enough to grasp the inconcievable. And without computers , too!!! Im waiting for the cinema adaptation of "The Mountains of Madness", with all the modern effects, AND the Lovecraft feel for the extra-cosmic.  Brad Moore
The Dunwich Horror
Reply #20. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Brad Moore
The Dunwich Horror is way better than Die Monster Die , and the few other attempts that film makers have done to capture H. P. Lovecrafts feel for the weird abyss that is measureless to mankind. This film captures the "indescribable" thing from another dimension better than any other Lovecraft film. All of the others feature a lizard-zombie-witch-goat-etc...  and never attempt to stretch far enough to grasp the inconcievable. And without computers , too!!! Im waiting for the cinema adaptation of "The Mountains of Madness", with all the modern effects, AND the Lovecraft feel for the extra-cosmic.  Brad Moore
The Dunwich Horror
Reply #21. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Elizabeth Hurst
Well, Mr. Stockwell was sort of like Ned Flanders without the sinister charisma...I suppose Ms. Dee served her purpose as the virgin offering (slightly shopworn, but still serviceable), but I sure liked Lavinia better...None the less, I love this movie, even though I find myself laughing through most of it.  Mr. Stockwell's tattoos were pretty cool, but otherwise his presence in the film is a disaster...this movie could have transcended Sandra Dee's silly little ninny, but Dean Stockwell's performance pretty much killed what could have been a very good translation of Lovecraft to the screen, although it could never have been a patch on Reanimator.  The old man's performance was achingly funny, and that snippy little proto-yuppie Elizabeth got exactly what she deserved.
The Dunwich Horror
Reply #22. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by swamprat
God-Awful "contemporary" (at the time) horror flick. It was better at the time when seen at the Drive-in when it was realeased...which I did. Now it has that shoddy B-movie hip look that all second rate films have after a passage of some time. I love the darn thing for it's camp value to my generation..."Yes Son, we did pay money to see crap like this. Now get ready to cheer for the monster when he gets outta the closet...and stop giving potato chips to the cat, he's not eating them!" The only real major flaw the film has is that outta-gas ending. That made people mad even back in '70. "That was it?"  We were all hoping Sandra Dee was gonna get eaten...we'd grown up with our mothers poking us in the ribs to bring a girl like her home. Gidget on a stone platter with a monster's fork stuck in her forehead would have pleased a lot us. Pleased us much more than having Deano burst into flame and go ski-jumping off an ocean cliff. If you like silly monsters and lame attempts to movieize the black arts, if you have a nose for camp, it's a good enough flick...a true Dollar-Ninty-Eight Special.
The Dunwich Horror
Reply #23. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Ernst Bitterman
A lot of people speak here about the difficulty of translating Lovecraft onto the screen. This movie is... OK, but frankly I think the wak-o-vision gets a bit over the top.  Those inclined towards video HP should try to get ahold of "Out Of Mind", a semi-biography of Lovecraft, with snippets of adaptations from several of his works; the director and writer clearly know and admire the man's works, and there's not a nekkid hippie in sight.
The Dunwich Horror
Reply #24. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by R. Ashton
HaHa! I just finished watching this movie on AMC. It was Awful! It made "Robot Monster" look like a five star movie.
I missed the part were Elizabeth's clothes get ripped off because I was switching channels.:( But Sandra looked hot on the alter.:) The best part was when the guard whipped Wilbers Butt!. And the Monster...Boy, the Monster was really bad. Although I love Camp, and I did watch most of this movie.... I still say Ro Man could kick the Monsters butt and ride off into the moonlight with Sandra Dee. HeHe... Go Ro Man!  
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