If a project has ‘Lovecraft’ attached to it, you can bet I’ll be chomping at the bit to check it out. Unfortunately, just having the word associated with something doesn’t make it Lovecraftian in nature. Several film adaptations of Lovecraft’s work have taken lengthy liberties with the source material, and the resulting products come out as something vastly different than the author’s intentions.
Such is the case with LURKING FEAR, a 1994 Full Moon film that is releasing on Blu-ray tomorrow. And while the film is fun for the most part, I don’t think it should be listed in Lovecraft’s filmography. But if you take it for what it is (a nonsensical creature-feature), you might just enjoy yourself.
If you are not familiar with LURKING FEAR, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Full Moon Features:
The town of Leffert’s Corners has been plagued by unearthly beings for decades, and now there is only a few people left, including the local priest and a woman traumatized by the death of her sister. But when John Martense turns up to claim his illicit family fortune, with bad guys in pursuit, the last stand had become a lot more complicated…. What everyone is not aware of are the humanoid creatures lurking underneath the holy grounds! Based on the writings of H P Lovecraft.
Special Features: – Audio commentary with director Courtney Joyner – Original VideoZone – Deleted Scenes Reel – Full Moon trailers
I will confess I am disappointed with how far away from the original story the film goes. Lovecraft’s short is a vivid and imaginative jaunt into terror. This film version, however, comes across more like something Sam Raimi might have made back in the 80s.
LURKING FEAR looks great onscreen, thanks to a nice HD transfer. The picture is crisp for the most part (some of the darker scenes look a bit grainy), and the surround sound projects nicely through the speakers.
The acting in LURKING FEAR is pretty good, although a couple of performances stand out. I loved Ashley Laurence as Cathryn. She will always be Kirsty from the HELLRAISER series to me, but seeing her in this role gave me a newfound sense of her talent. Also, Jeffrey Combs once again shines, this time as an alcoholic, nicotine-fueled doctor. Combs has a knack for making his characters larger-than-life, and this role is no different.
The special effects look pretty good overall, but some could have been better. The creature effects are slick and scary, and I have to tip my hat to the creature designer(s); the bulging eyes on the beast’s face make a striking focal point. There’s not much gore, but what we do get looks nice and fresh.
On the downside for LURKING FEAR, the storyline is choppy, and several explanations are missing. I will not mention specifics, as I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say there are gaping holes in certain aspects of the plot.
If you can look past that, then you’re in for a pretty fun time. LURKING FEAR is not an excellent film, but it’s still entertaining and offers plenty of reasons to own it. The Blu-ray hits store shelves tomorrow, so make a note.