The Resurrected (1992) Review (R)
It’s rare to find a ‘quality’ low budget horror film. Let’s face it, even the most devoted horror fan with the lowest of standards would have to admit that there is a LOT of crap in this particular genre. But lo and behold, here is a hidden gem. The Resurrected (or Scatterbrain to some) is an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s short story “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward”. I have never read the Lovecraft short (and I was expecting a typically terrible low budget horror flick), so I wasn’t expecting anything in particular… but in the wisdom of the immortal Gomer Pyle: “Sur-PRIZE, sur-prise, surprise…” I was pleasantly surprised.
Being a horror fan, I thought the story itself is a pretty good one. It has all of the shape-challenged horrors and tone of ever present dread that are common in his stories. The beasts in this have much in common in appearance with the alien creature in John Carpenter’s The Thing, I think.
The story is one of those that wraps around itself and is typically ‘Lovecraftian’. It begins with a man escaping from a sanitarium (and leaving a very bloody scene behind), before introducing the protagonist, a private detective named John March (played by John Terry) who is somehow involved (and professing that it’s regrettably so). He is hired by a woman named Claire (regular 1980s and 90s television actress Jane Sibbett) who fears for her husband’s health, both physical and mental.
Her husband (played by (Chris Sarandon) has taken to conducting unknown experiments (with a mysterious stranger) in their guest house behind their mansion. He has begun to act differently and strange lights and smells emanate from the structure. She finds out that he’s been placing some very strange orders with a local butcher, also. Then he disappears.
This IS a Lovecraft story, so it’s a safe bet that an interdimensional gateway will be found in a seemingly inoccuous community with monstrous amorphous demonic gribblies just waiting to be relaesed to enslave and/or devour mankind. That’s not exactly what’s going on here, but it’s not that far off. I’ll leave all of that to anyone that wants to watch this, though.
The acting is a little stiff at times (especially with the lead, who I still liked), but that’s more the director’s fault (and the editor’s). Further evidence of that stifness can be seen in several scenes where there needed to have some frames trimmed in order to capture the beats of authentic sounding conversations. It was a little bit of a surprise that there were quite a few ‘name’ actors in this, none more familiar to genre fans than Chris Sarandon (Fright Night, Child’s Play) who is great here, as always. He also proves that he doesn’t have a huge ego, either, having his voice dubbed (for story reasons) much of the time.
Robert Romanus, who most movie fans will recognize from his role in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, turns up here as March’s sidekick Lonnie. He provides a few laughs which helps liven the movie up a little bit. Lovecraft stories tend to be dreary.
I think the material was stretched further than it needed to be. There are a few scenes that maybe could have been cut for a faster moving film. March, Lonnie and Claire wander a little too long in what amounts to an underground charnel house, for instance. The twisting and turning in the dark got a little monotanous, but maybe the director was trying to convey how labyrinthine that the underground caverns were on a low budget. Showing them wander for so long in the film (several minutes) without any advances in the story got a little old, though. I quibble… It’s not often when I can sit down and watch a little known film in my favorite genre (horror) and afterwards say “Am I glad I watched that!”.
The FX were pretty good for a low budget early 90s flick. Some of the FX may be a little dated, but are tolerable for low budget horror fare. The stop motion FX utilized had a certain charm to them (yes… stop motion FX. It’s that low budget). There are some animated skeleton bits towards the end that evoked Ray Harryhausen’s more iconic films. Some of it towards the end reminded me of the ‘big’ finale in the original ‘Highlander’ film, too. All in all, this was a positive find in the horror genre. It’s worth watching if you’re a horror fan.