Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Dunwich Horror 1970


I had always heard that the 1970 movie version of H.P. Lovecraft's The Dunwich Horror was really bad, however I just watched it and found it entertaining. Oh sure it doesn't stick that closely to the original short story, which doesn't make me happy, but most of the main plot points are there, though filtered through a 1970s post-Rosemary's Baby sensibility.
I don't think Dean Stockwell is anybody's idea of Wilbur Whately, the spawn of a human mother and Lovecraft's great old one, Yog-Sothoth. he plays the character as a sort of mild satyr, never seeming truly evil.
As I noted, this is a very 1970s film and there's a lot talk about sex and psychology, but the sex scenes in the film consist mostly of Stockwell fondling Sandra Dee and of Sandra moaning a lot for no apparent reason. And there are a lot of people in robes and the occasional pentagram to make things seem vaguely satanic, though at one point Whately does point out that he doesn't believe in God or Satan, but rather in beings from another dimension.
The best parts for a Lovecraft fan are the constant mentions of great old ones, the Necronomicon, and other Lovecraft tropes. The movie even ends on more or less the same line as Lovecraft's story. All and all, far from the worst Lovecraft adaptation I've ever seen.

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