Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

YET ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO UNDERSTAND H.P. LOVECRAFT



The Resurrected aka Shatterbrain (1992) Direct To Video

Any attempt to make a movie based on H.P.'s work can go either horribly wrong and boring, or wonderful. Personally I haven't seen wonderful yet. However this movie did try and some things about it were pretty good, some pretty awful. This is a movie where the Netflix 'reviewers' (all anonymous) either gave it 5 stars and raved about it or gave it one star saying it was a total piece of garbage and all the 5 star reviewers were involved with making the movie. 

Uh, I don't think people who make movies bother with Netflix, do you? If so, that would be really, really sad. The more I watch these movies though... I personally liked the title Shatterbrain a whole lot better but it has nothing to do with the movie at all, so I understand why they changed it. It is a lot cooler though. And, sadly, Jeffrey Combs is not present.


This is NOT based on an H.P. story - I would say they took ideas from a story and tried to make a movie around that. The story was called The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, a short novel published after Lovecraft's death. The basic story is that Charles Ward, young, rich but not particularly smart, learns that one of his ancestors was considered a wizard of sorts, into the black arts. This man, Joseph Curwen, performed experiments trying to find the secret of eternal life (a recurring type theme in H.P.'s work). Ward finds a portrait of Curwen who looks exactly like him (or vice versa, whatever) and decides to try to 'raise' him first. Duh move on his part 'cause blood is NOT thicker than water...

So the movie starts in a detective agency as John March dictates the strange case he has just been involved in and hopefully will soon forget. They format the movie like the typical gumshoe story - he's in his office when SHE walks in... the blonde who makes him nuts and do anything she wants. She tells her story - she's the wife of Charles Ward who, after finding out that his ancestor was not who he thought but a man named Curwen who was into black magic becomes obsessed and tries to recreate his experiments. The main aspect apparently is the stink. They make a big deal of the huge stink this whole experiment creates - whether that's supposed to represent the wrongness of what he's doing or it's just because... well, let's continue.

She's gorgeous, she's rich, and he wants the money. He uses his assistant Lonnie (known to most as Mike Damone from Fast Times At Ridgemont High - funny 'cause in a recent Family Guy Peter 'calls' Damone for a favor using a scene from that movie then breaks the fourth wall and says something to the effect of 'And he was never seen again.') to check the place out since March has moved out to his family's country, uh, dump to continue his experiments. 

Talking to Ward (Chris Sarandon) himself, March notices some strange things - his skin is discolored, he's much thinner, his perfect teeth are now dark and almost looked like they've been filed down to points, and he talks as if he was born several hundred years ago. Yeah, it's one of those duh moments where the audience has the gist of it but the movie takes forever to catch up.



If you're looking for blood and guts, this movie provides plenty. Apparently, Ward has found the means for eternal life, but as March puts it, 'It's messy'. SALTS. Oh, sorry... that means 'smiled a little then stopped'. As March has guessed, eternal life involves sucking out the life of others to keep alive yourself - kind of a really smelly smart zombie. Kind of. Ward is really now Curwen (something everyone except the movie already figured out) and he needs blood (or bloody raw meat, whatever) to keep his form.



There's protracted scenes where March, Ward's wife and his assistant find a huge underground labyrinth and we see where all the money for special effects was spent. It is the place that Curwen does his experiments, and includes his/Ward's 'mistakes' - misshapen horrid things from the oopsies made with a mysterious elixir and the human remains smuggled to his, uh, lair? After fighting with things that really aren't alive anyway and therefore can't die, two make it out and blow the place to kingdom come - but not before March learns a secret, pocketing the elixir before leaving.

He takes Ward's wife to the hospital and goes to visit Ward/Curwen. He of course now knows that Curwen, once raised by Ward, uh, consumed him? Absorbed him? Something icky. But Curwen, who already has gotten the whole modern justice system down pat knows that he just needs to be a good boy for a few months even if he's accused of murder and he'll be considered 'cured' and let go. One immediate problem though - he's really, REALLY hungry. And March is conveniently made of meat. Sorry, but the movie began to seriously fall apart and you really just want this to be over by now. Curwen breaks out of his restraints and attacks March, biting him in the shoulder.




Hmm, Curwen got his teeth fixed before he bit the big one...
March breaks out his secret weapon: Ward's suitcase, which contains, somehow (not possible but oh well) the complete skeleton of the hapless Charles Ward. It scatters on the floor and he brings out the elixir, throwing it on the skeleton. He had read notes in the lab, conveniently, that said if one consumed another, and the other was given the elixer... well, long story short (way WAY too late) since Curwen, uh, ate Ward, Ward's reconstituted skeleton pulls the flesh from Curwen. At this point they got pretty gory and I thought this was going to be a great payoff but then they cheapened out and we get all these where-the-hell-did-these-come-from sparks that cover the two, uh, things and they explode. Or implode. All that's left of both is a blackened spot on the floor. Umm, okay.

March stumbles out of the hospital before the mess is found, leaving Mrs. Ward and her unborn baby (bum bum BUMMMM!) to believe that Mr. Ward simply escaped from the hospital and hoping not to think about any of this anymore. Hmm, I was having that same thought myself.