Dir: Christophe Gans
Star: Jeffrey Combs, Belinda Bauer, Bruce Payne, David Warner
Cert / Year: 18 - R / 1994
Format: VIDEO

Necronomicon is a collection of 3 stories based around the "Cthulhu Mythos" writing's of H.P. Lovecraft (One of the greatest 20th Century Horror writers) which are all linked together by a fourth story. The "wraparound" story is about H.P. Lovecraft ( Jeffrey Combs) and his acquisition of these short but horrific stories from the fabled Necronomicon or Book of The Dead, which he has discovered in a solitary library protected by monks.

"The Drowned" is the first of the stories and is about Edward De La Poer ( Bruce Payne) who being the last surviving relative of Jethro De La Poer who died 60 years previously has inherited the family hotel. After reading a letter from his ancestor, Edward discovers a book hidden in a wall and an incantation to resurrect the dead.

"The Cold" is the second of the tales Lovecraft copies from the book and is about a young woman called Emily Osterman (Bess Meyer) who rents a room in a house in the big city. The tenant in the room above Emily is Doctor Madden, (David Warner) a strange man who due to a "skin condition" is forced to live in a sub zero temperature and constantly cooled. Over the course of events Emily and the doctor become involved and Emily acquires the same affliction. But there is a lot more to this story than meets the eye.

The last of the short stories is about two cops chasing a suspected murderer known as the "butcher" and just as their pursuit is going in their favour they crash. The male cop is dragged from the car by the "butcher" as the female cop (who was driving I hasten to add) struggles to free herself from her seatbelt. Managing to free herself she gives chase but bleeding everywhere due to injuring herself in the crash. A mostly banal tale which culminates in a surreal alien ending.

As an enthusiast in the more horrific of literature I was quite looking forward to this film. It starts off well enough Jeffrey Combs is made up with prosthetics to look like H.P. Lovecraft but to be honest he looks more like Bruce Campbell not like that is a bad thing. The story surrounding the book and the library is quite good and plays on many of Lovecraft's original works surrounding the Book of The Dead which makes a nice change.

The several stories all linked by the one is a nice way of working it all together, but being honest the stronger stories like the library sequences and "the Drowned" are forced to carry the weaker ones like "the cold" and "the whispers" the latter being the weakest of all. Bruce Payne actually manages to play a role without trying to speak in a menacing whisper much to my surprise, and is almost compelling in "the Drowned" but only almost. The direction isn't too bad really but relies heavily on traditional stock direction and doesn't display anything new.

"The Cold" is an ok story but nothing special and the casting of David Warner is an obvious attempt to add more clout to it. Direction lets it down somewhat and apart from one or two good scenes it is predictable and would be more at home as an episode of The Outer Limits. The final story "the Whispers" is as pointless as it is boring and mundane, tediously shot and with dialogue so painful it could have been an instrument of the Spanish Inquisition (No-One Expects The Spanish Inquisition!!")

On the whole the film is generally a good watch but nothing fantastic or special. For fans of H.P. Lovecraft or the Cthulhu Mythos it is worth watching but nothing to get too excited about. As for everybody else you might as well go and watch something derived from the Necronomicon stories, like Evil Dead, Reanimator or even From Beyond which are better movies. Christophe Gans does not manage to produce as good a film as he should have with this material and yet he did do better with Crying Freeman taken from a Manga comic.


That is not dead, which can eternal lie. And yet with strange aeons even death may die

Rating: 2 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home