Director(s) – Christophe Gans (Brotherhood of the Wolf, Silent Hill), Shusuke Kaneko (Godzilla: Final Wars, Gamera: Guardian of the Universe), and Brian Yuzna (Society, The Dentist)
Starring – Jeffrey Combs (The Frighteners, Re-Animator), Tony Azito (The Addams Family, Private Resort), and Juan Fernandez (The Collector, Crocodile Dundee II)
Release Date – 1993
Rating – 4/5
Blu Release – 4/5
When I was in high school I was really deep into horror. It was around this time that I rented Re-Animator and From Beyond for the first time. This not only opened the door for me to Jeffrey Combs and Stuart Gordon but it also opened the door for H.P. Lovecraft. I became obsessed with his work. I bought a bunch of his compilations and any movie I could find inspired by his work. Some were extremely well made and fun as fuck while others were painful to sit through.
One of his more infamous adaptations, Necronomicon, was released in 1993 on VHS but never found a mass release on disc. At least, from my understanding. However, over the summer I was able to snag a region free blu from the German company Wicked Vision. I told myself I would save this one for October but it was difficult to sit on this one for that long and not give it a spin.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows H.P. Lovecraft who tracks down the Necronomicon in a monastery. He then reads three stories from it. The first follows a man who returns to his family property because he had heard stories that a relative brought back his deceased family. He hopes to uncover the truth behind this rumor and in doing so bring back his beloved but what he brings back is something far worse.
The second finds a journalist searching for answers around missing people who stay at a lazy inn. The owner, the now blind young woman, tell him about the former owner and how he found a cure for aging but it requires for the living to sacrifice their life in order to do so. The third and final tale follows two officers chasing a serial killer only to find themselves trapped in an underground hell where madness and reality mesh. **Spoiler Alert**
I had heard great things about this movie but I never found myself presented with the opportunity to check it out until now. I had bought a bootleg at a horror con some years back but the film was so dark I couldn’t watch it. They had clearly sourced it from an abused VHS. This blu from Wicked Vision was absolutely top notch. The restoration, artwork, and features are absolutely stunning.
The acting in this one is decent enough. Some of the performances are underwhelming while others are absolutely fantastic. Combs is brilliant as always and the same can be said about Bruce Payne in the first segment. Some of the supporting cast does a solid job as well. However, the second segment is rather underacted in my opinion. The cast shows great energy and enthusiasm but the emotions and reactions all feel painfully forced.
The stories for these are very effective. The wraparound segment following Combs as Lovecraft is a great way to bookend the film. I had a lot of fun with the segments. They had great pacing, plenty of scares, and did not leave much to the imagination. Everything it wanted you to see it delivers on the screen A great anthology that was oozy and bloody.
Finally, the film boasts some seriously great practical and make-up effects. The creatures, gore, and on screen kills are all very impressive. You really need to see it to believe it. Overall, Necronomicon is one of the most underrated horror anthologies of our age. The film is absolutely amazing and the blu release from Wicked Vision is something collectors should be after. It was amazing and I can’t recommend this one enough.
Main Feature in HD
Commentary by Daniel Perée & Jörg Kopetz
Commentary by Christophe Gans & Brian Yuzna
“A Love for Lovecraft” – A brand new interview with Brian Yuzna (60 Min.)
“Behind the Book: Scripting the Necronomicon” – A brand new interview with Bret V.Friedman
“Compilation Carnage” – A brand new interview with Steve Johnson about his creatures
“Behind the Scenes” – Featurette
Social Media Clip