Friday, August 21, 2015

The Dunwich Horror, H.P. Lovecraft, Roger Corman, and the Necronomicon

As the drug culture of the 1960s stopped shocking people, the 1970s needed something to unnerve society.  Satanism and the occult would surface as a trendy menace, though it would soon bore the same society it originally frightened.  Perfect for this new menace, an author who lived several decades earlier, H.P. Lovecraft and his literary invention, The Necronomicon.  Despite being a creation of Lovecraft's, The Necronomicon was in the card catalog at many university libraries (...though always overdue or missing)  and was the fancy of those who professed occult philosophies. Hence today's film, 1970's, "The Dunwich Horror," from executive producer Roger Corman.
Nancy (Sandra Dee, who spends half this film in a state or orgasm) falls for creepy Wilbur (Dean Stockwell, still making amends for "The Boy With Green Hair").  Wilbur is a student of the occult and desires to study the Necronomicon, kept in the university library.  Wilbur, the last descendant of an occultic family, has plans for the beautiful and vulnerable Nancy, and easily puts her in a trance and brings her back to his home.  Nancy's boss, Professor Armitage (Ed Begley) and her beautiful friend, Elizabeth (Donna Baccala, pictured above right) will attempt to get her back, with no success.  In fact, Elizabeth will be raped and mutilated by a tentacled monster as a reward for her efforts.  Wilbur gets down to business and immediately turns Nancy into a vessel for sex.  Most of the carnal relations are on an altar at the ruins of weird temple (...we've all been there, done that...).
Nancy is aroused by the sexual relations and is totally under Wilbur's power.  Meanwhile, a monster locked in Wilbur's closet (the same one that feasts on Elizabeth) busts out of its captivity.  Professor Armitage, also an expert on the Necronomicon, figures out what Wilbur is up to.  Wilbur will use the Necronomicon to bring creatures from another dimension to Earth, and those creatures will wipe out mankind.  Exactly what is Nancy's destiny in this plan?   Professor Armitage and the town doctor (Lloyd Bochner) rush to the altar to save Nancy and mankind....but is it too late?  Remember, this is a Roger Corman film, so Nancy's fate may not be a surprise to you.
A cool monster, an erotic performance by Sandra Dee, lots of orgasms, and an overly dramatic musical score will make your day while watching "The Dunwich Horror."  Cheap special effects act only to enhance this B movie in our eyes.  Ominous and serious at times, playful and campy at times, this film will surely entertain.  Available on Netflix. 

1 comment:

  1. Although, this is a very fine review, it would take a herculean effort to nudge me willfully to horror movies of the 70's. In general, the decade was spent mostly in the outhouse where scary movies are concerned. I think the last roll of TP had been used just prior to 1970.
    Some prefer a generous shake or two of cheese...Parmesan on their hot-buttered corn, but considering that straight popped is what I like with my movie, I'd be calcium and cholesterol-concerned over all the dripping cheese oozing from any 70's sex-horror movie while crunching and watching.
    This one can remain missing from the library, rental aisles, and NF lineup as far as this popcorn lover is concerned, but that's a neat write up which almost had me clicking the play button at the netf site. No cheesy, spooky porn with my corn, please.