Director – Christophe Gans, Shusuke Kaneko, Brian Yuzna
Cast – Jeffrey Combes, Tony Azito, Juan Fernández, Brian Yuzna, Bruce Payne, Belinda Bauer, Richard Lynch, Maria Ford, Peter Jasienski, Denice D. Lewis, David Warner, Bess Meyer, Millie Perkins, Dennis Christopher, Gary Graham, Signy Coleman, Obba Babatundé, Don Calfa, Judith Drake
Release Year – 1993
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I often dog the 90s for not being nearly as spectacular as the 80s that preceded it, nor as creative as the 2000s which followed it(YES we still have great horror films these days), but after hearing of this film for quite some time and seeing the directors attached I had to give this one a watch, and I loved it. I have always been a fan of writer H. P. Lovecraft, and seeing that this flick comes as an anthology of three of his works the cool factor can only get higher. Great stories, awesome gore, and that spooky presence of anything Lovecraft-related make this film an awesome watch.
Necronomicon: Book of the Dead follows H. P. Lovecraft(Jeffrey Combes; Re-Animator, From Beyond) in the 1930s as he enters a secretive library guarded by Monks in his search of the Necronomicon, the “Book of the Dead”. Upon discovering the book he comes across three stories written in it, “The Drowned”, “The Cold” and “Whispers”, and as he copies them to his own parchment he watches the stories unfold before his eyes, as well as our own, while inadvertently unleashing a terrible beast protecting the Necronomicon.
Well it is about darn time that we get a Lovecraftian horror film that comes with the cheeze and gore that Gordon/Yuzna’s Re-Animator and From Beyond gave us. Each of these awesome tales came with such great and spooky atmosphere reminiscent of the horror films of decades ago. Thankfully, each of these flicks comes with superb direction and properly adapted stories as well.
“The Drowned” comes to us from director Christophe Gans, who gave us Brotherhood of the Wolf as well as Silent Hill. This one tells the tale of a man who loses his wife and child in an accident at sea, and in a selfish attempt to bring them back to life he suffers even more horrors than he ever imagined.
“The Cold” comes to us from Shusuke Kaneko, who gave us the awesome Death Note and Death Note II: The Last Name adaptations. In this story we follow a nosy reporter investigating the disappearances of hundreds of people in one single neighborhood over several decades. His nosiness ultimately gets him involved in an experiment taken from the Necronomicon that grants eternal life to anything organic as long as its atmosphere is replicated after death, which leads the reporter to a sinister demise.
“Whispers” comes to us from Brian Yuzna himself, who made his name producing Stuart Gordon flicks like Re-Animator, From Beyond, and Dolls, as well as other Lovecraftian works like Bride of Re-animator, Beyond Re-Animator, and Dagon. This one follows a female police officer in hot pursuit of a vehicle driving by a man known as “The Butcher”. She suffers a terrible crash that leaves her partner, who is also the father of her unborn child, in the hands of The Butcher, and time is running out if she wishes to save him. She enters the lair of the butcher, and soon realizes that despite her plans to abort her pregnancy, The Butcher will not let that happen…for dire reasons.
I can honestly say that each of this films came out a great watch, with “Whispers” being the ultimate climax as far as the segments go. Brian Yuzna directed the “wraparound” segment of H. P. Lovecraft copying the texts from the book, which also was very fun to watch and despite only taking maybe 10-15 in total runtime turned out to be a sweet and satisfying watch. This definitely has to be one of the most underrated and underappreciated horror films out there, which is a dire travesty given how awesome this film is. With such great names attached to this work I cannot fathom why it has not received the attention it deserves, but in fact that might be why this film now means so much to me.
Overall, this is an awesome watch that I recommend to all horror fans, especially those fond of H. P. Lovecraft. Each of the film’s three segments were awesome and executed very well, and of course came with incredible storylines that bring on true horror in its fullest form.