Monday, January 7, 2013

Movie Review: The Dunwich Horror (1970)

The Dunwich Horror
THE DUNWICH HORROR - H.P. Lovecraft movie - Movie Poster

Written by Curtis Hanson, Henry Rosenbaum, & Ronald Silkosky
Directed by Daniel Haller
Based on the story by H.P. Lovecraft

Wilbur Whately...Dean Stockwell
Dr. Henry Armitage...Ed Begley
Nancy Wagner...Sandra Dee
Elizabeth Hamilton...Donna Baccala

THE DUNWICH HORROR - H.P. Lovecraft movie - Title Screen

Wilbur Whately, a soft-spoken and eccentric young man, arrives at the hallowed halls of Miskatonik University, hoping to get his hands on that rarest of rare books on display in the school library--the Necronomicon. He only manages to get a few moments alone with this book o' magic before stuffy old philosopher professor Henry Armitage puts a stop to it.

Wilbur's mysterious and nefarious plans are too important to let go so easily, though, so he convinces Nancy, one of Armitage's pretty assistants, to give him a ride home to the small town of Dunwich. She enjoys Wilbur's company and the sights of Dunwich so much that she decides, what the hell, I'll stay the weekend.

THE DUNWICH HORROR - H.P. Lovecraft movie - Wilbur & Nancy

Wilbur is a man of many secrets, though. His talk about an ancient race of dark and powerful creatures is more than just folklore, the Necronomicon contains more than just chocolate chip cookie recipes, and his plans for Nancy include more than just a roll in the hay.

THE DUNWICH HORROR - H.P. Lovecraft movie - Wilbur Summoning

Although this adaptation fails to fully capture the moodiness, gloominess, and downright doominess of the H.P. Lovecraft story upon which it is based, it's still a lot of fun. Seeing Dean Stockwell in a rare leading role is worth the price of admission alone. The man is a solid, cool character actor who never got the respect or the number of roles that he deserved. He hams it up a bit here and there, but this is an AIP production, so that's to be expected.

If nothing else, it's interesting to see Lovecraft filtered through the trippy lens of sleazy, teasy late-60s, early-70s cinema. Worth a watch.

THE DUNWICH HORROR - H.P. Lovecraft movie - Sleazy, Cheesy & Teasy

Rated R
90 minutes
United States



  1. Used to have this on VHS. It was a hoot.

  2. Kelly: Yes, it was indeed a hoot. It's streaming on Netflix if you would like to revisit it.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Lovecraft's "Colur Out of Space".... I posted on this film a while back ...good review by the way ... you have to "overlook" its "Flaws" ...remember when it was made...


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