Tag Archives: stuart gordon

The Summer of Lovecraft: From Beyond (1986)

FROM-BEYOND

“Humans are such easy prey.”

Directed by Stuart Gordon
Starring Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Ken Foree and Ted Sorel

The Story

Never professionally published during Lovecraft’s life, “From Beyond” was written in 1920 and published in fanzine form in 1934. It deals with an unnamed narrator who visits his friend, Dr Crawford Tillinghast. Tillinghast has developed a way to activate dormant sensory organs to see higher dimensions. As Tillinghast’s device works, the narrator perceives strange other realities, until it becomes clear that Tillinghast means to feed him to the creatures, at which point he shoots the machine and passes out. Tillinghast has a heart attack.

The Film

The basics of Lovecraft’s story are present here, but given a strong Gordonian spin. Crawford Tillinghast (Combs) works for Dr Edward Pretorius (Sorel). When the resonator they’re building reveals higher dimensions to them, one of the spooky other-dimensional models kills Pretorius. Crawford runs away and is locked up in a psychiatric institution. Doctor Katherine McMichaels (Crampton) wants to prove he’s not insane, so she goes with him and tough cop Bubba Brownlee (Foree) to investigate the house and repeat the experiment.

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The Summer of Lovecraft: Dagon (2001)

Horror in Spanish!
Horror in Spanish!

Reviewed by Tim Deegan

Directed by Stuart Gordon
Starring Ezra Godden and Francisco Rabal

The Story

This film is based less loosely than many on ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth’, in which a posh backpacker comes to the deserted town of Innsmouth, encounters the town drunk and hears a tale of dark trades and (gasp) miscegenation with fish people, then finds himself trapped overnight and pursued by shambling foes.

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The Summer of Lovecraft: Re-Animator (1985)

reanimator1

“Herbert West has a good head on his shoulders… and another one on his desk.”

Directed by Stuart Gordon
Starring Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale and Jeffrey Combs

The Story

Herbert West – Reanimator is the account of an unnamed narrator and his friendship with the eponymous West, a fellow medical student and later physician who led the pair’s exploration of the mechanisms of the human body and how they might be reanimated after death. From medical school to practice to service in the Great War, a series of episodes describe the progress of West’s work on his reanimating serum, ending each time in a distinctly qualified success. Finally, the victims of his work come for him, or the narrator finally cracks. One of the two.

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The Summer of Lovecraft: Dreams in the Witch House (2005)

DreamsintheWitchHouse(MastersofHorror)

“Tagline”

Directed by Stuart Gordon
Starring Ezra Godden and Chelah Horsdal

The Story

Lovecraft wrote “The Dreams in the Witch House” in 1932; it was published in 1933. The story follows a Miskatonic University student named Walter Gilman who moves into a rooming house once inhabited by a famous 17th-century witch, Keziah Mason. Gilman thinks that his research in physics and mathematics is actually bringing him close to understanding Keziah’s magic. Spoilers: he’s right. Even more spoilers: it doesn’t do him any good.

The Film

Gordon’s adaptation of “Dreams” is a pretty faithful retelling of the Lovecraft story, albeit with less interdimensional travel to weird alien cities and high-gravity worlds and more boobs and jump scares. The story is updated to the modern day along with the physics (the film is set only 10 years ago, but already Gilman’s computer looks hilariously dated), and helpful neighbour Frank Elwood is replaced by distressed single mother and potential love interest Frances.

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