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UNNAMABLE, THE


THE UNNAMABLE - "SPECIAL EDITION" 

By Dark Starr

This is a brand new Blu-Ray edition of a film that has become a bit of a cult-classic. It was released thirty years ago, and in some ways disappeared after release. I mean, it was released on VHS, but I think this is the first time it's been released on any kind of video disc. This film was a B-movie, and definitely quirky, but it still holds up. Add in the fact that this edition gets a lot of great bonus features, and you'll find that it's a welcome addition to my collection. 

While "The Unnamable" is based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft, it takes quite a few liberties with the source material. That said, in some ways this is more faithful to the original work than are films like "Re-Animator" and "From Beyond." The opening scene of the film (after the prequel opening set in colonial times) is almost a precise recreation of the first paragraph of Lovecraft's story. However, while the two characters having the conversation share much (including their names) with the versions in Lovecraft's tale, the characters are ultimately different. The film replaces the more adult persons in the story with college students in order to remake this into a college based horror tale.

Of course, Lovecraft's story is really just one scene. It wouldn't have made much of a film. So, by adding in the collegiate activities and other elements the film-makers added enough meat to the movie to sustain a feature length film. Of course, they also added in some nudity and sex for a different kind of appeal. Honestly, those are well-used to the point of being nearly clichéd in 80s horror films. So, perhaps it was almost mandatory. 

Lovecraft's back story of an unknown creature that had been locked away in an old abandoned house is preserved. The film, though, has a lot of blood-shed and gore that was not in the original story. Again, it's a function of the horror film (and particularly the 80s horror film) trope that seems to make it necessary for the plot. 

While they change Lovecraft's monster drastically, the make up and general look of the creature is one of the highlights of this film, really. It is a believable kind of demonic beast. It is also well suited to showing in short bits early and gradually allowing the viewer to see more of the creature as the horror builds. 

The acting often leaves something to be desired, but this was a low budget horror film, so it's to be expected. A lot of the scenes are too dark to really grasp all the details, but that's again part of the period in that type of film. 

The film here comes from what is described as a "brand new 4K HD Scan with color correction and restoration from the original camera negative." While I might not grasp all the nuances and details of that description, this does look better than I remember it looking when I used to have it on VHS. 

They have some great added features for this release, too. There is audio commentary as an option for the whole film. Additionally, there are lots of interviews (freshly recorded) with people who were involved in the making of the film, from principal actors to makeup artists, including R. Christopher Biggs. These interviews are great, but they are done in a split screen and seemingly recorded remotely via Skype or some similar software. As such the sound on them is a bit grating and there are some moments where the feed buffers a bit. As such, I found it a bit annoying. Still, these are some great interviews. It's just cool to see how these people look today in comparison to the time of the film. 

All in all, this is one of the more faithful Lovecraft adaptations in a lot of ways. It's also a fun movie. Sure, it's a product of its time and suffers from some of the issues that implies. It still holds up really well, though. I highly recommend this particular edition. 

On a personal note, with my connection to the world of H.P. Lovecraft, I'm glad that this is going to be the final Philm Phreaks review I do for Wormwood Chronicles. It seems an appropriate final film review for me.