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The Dunwich Horror
The Dunwich Horror
Actors: Sandra Dee, Dean Stockwell, Ed Begley, Lloyd Bochner, Sam Jaffe
Director: Daniel Haller
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Cult Movies
R     2001     1hr 30min


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Movie Details

Actors: Sandra Dee, Dean Stockwell, Ed Begley, Lloyd Bochner, Sam Jaffe
Director: Daniel Haller
Creators: Jack Bohrer, James H. Nicholson, Roger Corman, Curtis Hanson, H.P. Lovecraft, Henry Rosenbaum, Ronald Silkosky
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Cult Movies
Sub-Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Cult Movies
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/28/2001
Original Release Date: 01/14/1970
Theatrical Release Date: 01/14/1970
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: Spanish, French
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Member Movie Reviews

Reviewed on 7/22/2019...
Pretty creepy main character and what will unfold. The horror was strong but weakened about an hour in. A must for old school horror fans though!

Movie Reviews

Defending a true masterpiece of Gothic Horror!
chad edwards | cincinnati, ohio USA | 09/24/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This film has received more bad reviews than any other horror movie I have ever read about, and after seeing it I can't even begin to understand why! Based on the H.P. Lovecraft short story of the same title, THE DUNWICH HORROR follows warlock Wilbur Whatley's desperate quest to restore his fiendish family to their rightful position as rulers of the universe. However, there are two crucial factors needed in carrying out this mad plan. Firstly and foremost, Whatley must locate a copy of the Necronomicon, an ancient book of evil spells, and the sacrifice of a pure, but still sexually attractive female(that's where beautiful college co-ed Sandra Dee figures into the story). As the wild-eyed Whatley, Dean Stockwell is clearly having a ball, and was obviously warming up for his hammy role in David Lynch's sci-fi opus DUNE. Ed Begley, in his final film role, also seems to be enjoying himself as Stockwell's chief Nemesis, Dr. Armitadge. However, the best and most convincing performance by far is given by lovely young Sandra Dee(of GIDGET fame) who makes an effective SCREAM QUEEN debut. This film has received many negative notices, but it's not bad at all, even by today's standards. The film was made on a noticeably low-budget, but manages to produce some genuine scares and has a menacing air of creepy, Gothic atmosphere throughout. Furthermore, this movie is one of the better attempts to capture literary mastermind H.P. Lovecraft on celluloid. If the film seems rather long(it's 90 minutes), remember that Lovecraft's original story was only about 35-40 pages long. For the most part, the screenwriters have added some genuinely effective touches to flesh out the story. In my opinion, the film is fairly successful at sustaining the viewer's interest for most of its 90 minutes, and most importantly, director Daniel Haller has successfully captured the mood and flavor of Lovecraft's original story. Also, fans of the old DARK SHADOWS/NIGHT GALLERY series will be delighted by this little flick which is similar in tone and style to those early '70's TV horror classics."
"Somthing's bothering Rusty!"
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 03/18/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"American International Pictures (AIP) and Roger Corman found great success translating (often times loosely) the works of Edgar Allen Poe to the silver screen with such popular films like House of Usher (1960), Pit and the Pendulum (1961), The Masque of the Red Death (1964), and The Tomb of Ligeia (1965). This being the case, why wouldn't the terrifying, mind bending works of H.P. Lovecraft, creator of the Cthulhu mythos * (a shared world in which authors use as a setting for their stories, usually within the realm of horror, science fiction, or fantasy) among other things, fair equally as well? They did try, releasing such films as The Haunted Palace (1963), Die, Monster, Die! (1965), and The Dunwich Horror (1970), but found limited success. The films were entertaining, but if you've ever read any of Lovecraft's stories, what you see on screen is comparatively tame to the visuals created within your mind from the text of the written word. Directed by Daniel Haller (Die, Monster, Die!), who later found work directing television shows like Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, and Knight Rider, the film stars former teen idol Sandra `Queen of the Teens' Dee (Gidget, A Summer Place) and Dean Stockwell (The Boy with Green Hair, Blue Velvet, Married to the Mob). Also appearing is Ed Begley (12 Angry Men), Lloyd Bochner (The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear), and Talia Shire (The Godfather, Rocky), who is actually credited in the film as Talia Coppola as she had yet to take the name of Shire from her impending marriage to composer David Shire.

The story begins essentially at a university as a lecture, held by Dr. Henry Armitage (Begley), a doctor of Philosophy, is letting out. One student, Nancy Wagner (Dee), is tasked with returning the Necronomicon (the book of the dead) back to its rightful place within the schools library (how in the world the University ever came to possess this I have no idea). As she's returning it to its secure location, she's approach by an odd looking man we'll later know as Wilbur Whateley (Stockwell), who has a great interest in the ancient tome, and not just for edification purposes. The two become acquaintances, but there's a feeling of Wilbur having ulterior motives with regards to his interest in Nancy, other than gaining unfettered access to the book. We later discover Wilbur, who lives in nearby Dunwich, has a history in the occult, leading all the way back to his great grandfather, who was killed by the peoples of Dunwich for his strange beliefs. Has Wilbur (the townsfolk refer to him as Weird Wilbur) taken up where his forefathers left off? He certainly has, but how do Nancy and the Necronomicon fit into whatever plans he has? And what's that thing locked away in the upper recesses of Wilbur's house? Based on all the strange noises it makes, I bet it's something very nasty (and slimy)...

Honestly, I have yet to see a well-rendered film adaptation of any of Lovecraft's works. Perhaps the closest came in the form of a film not even based off a Lovecraft story, but certainly inspired by his writings, in John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness (1995). The problem is in the idea of The Old Ones (these were creatures who came from outer space, inhabited the Earth long before man, and have since been banished to a different dimension), in that they are such hideous, vile, unfathomable creatures that to even catch a glimpse would result in complete madness and permanent insanity. How do you depict that on the screen, especially in and AIP film, not known for their extravagant spending (cheap special effects and psychedelic lighting only go so far)? Stockwell was hardly frightening (especially with his Mike Brady hairdo and mustache) and often looks like he just arrived from the set of a homersexual porn film. I think his character was meant to appear suave and smooth-tongued, but he came across as creepy, oily, and, well, just weird. That guy from the movie Manos, the Hands of Fate was a more menacing warlock. If Wilbur were any more laid back, he would have been tokin' a doobie. I had a really difficult time believing he was capable of doing some of the things he later far as Dee's character, she spent much of the film in a state of enchantment, so not much going on there. There are some cheap thrills, seeing once teen idol Dee virginal character being violated by the forces of darkness (oh no, not Gidget!), but it seemed like that was played upon too much. And for the record, Dee does not get full on nekkid in this film as she's wearing a robe with slitted sides, and the camera spends way to much time ogling her, going up and down her sides as she lay on an altar (I thought I did see a nipple at one point, but it could have been a mole). Incidentally, Dee's real life defrocking came a few years earlier, as her marriage to teen idol Bobby Darin disintegrated and she was unjustly stigmatized with the air of being a divorcée (i.e. damaged goods) rather than a competent actress. The direction of the film is decent, and there are some creepy scenes, highlighted very well by Les Baxter's superior haunting score, but ultimately the film, while entertaining, was a little bit of a letdown for me as it lacked the truly nightmarish qualities one would expect from a Lovecraftian story. And who didn't see that ending coming?

The wide screen picture (1.85:1), enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs, looks very sharp and clean. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono comes through clearly most of the time. The only special feature on this DVD is an original theatrical trailer. By the way, the title for my review is probably the funniest line in the film, as stated by a farmer, about his dog, as the dog reacts to the unseen (but certainly heard) approach of a hideous, slobbering nightmare creature, which, subsequently devours the house (I think Rusty survived, though).


* Lovecraft fans don't care for the term `Cthulhu mythos' as it wasn't coined as such by its creator.
Yog-Sothoth and a hot chick---yeah, baby, yeah
Holly Apollyon | The Overlook Hotel | 08/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I thought this movie ruled. Okay, maybe it strayed from the story a bit, by taking a nine-foot tall alien freak and turning him into Dean Stockwell, and by adding a very hot Sandra Dee, but they at least tried. This is the only instance of movie exploitation, I think, that wouldn't have cause H.P. Lovecraft to roll over in his grave. And maybe Wilbur's star-spawned twin brother was a little goofy, but I thought it had that kind of rubber-suit-monster Night Stalker charm. Overall, the movie had a kind of narcotic gloss that aided well in the suspension of disbelief. I recommend this movie highly---both to Lovecraft fans and to ordinary horror buffs. It's cool, and even if this movie did damage Sandra Dee's career, she was hot. After all, monsters, even the slimy ones from outer space, need love too. So come on, guys, have a heart."