Horror Movie Maven

Lover of all things that slash, gash, bleed, and otherwise terrify.

The Dunwich Horror (1970)

My take: This movie is only slightly entertaining if you like H.P. Lovecraft stories and the Evil Dead franchise. Even then, it is just too cheesy.

Rating: 1 out of 4 stars

When I was growing up, I avoided horror films from the 1970s as a general rule. I can even see myself, as I was back then: dressed in all black with dyed hair, black fingernails, and a perpetual sneer at all things popular. I distinctly recall saying, “All horror from the 70s is about satanic cults, and they are utterly boring.”

I was such a little snot. This movie reinforces that old belief of mine, however.

It’s about the last living member of an ancient cult, Wilber Whateley. He is determined to finish what his forefathers started by summoning an ancient race of beings from another dimension to take control of the world (and kill everyone).

dunwich horror

Dean Stockwell plays Wilber Whateley in the Dunwich Horror.

Only H.P. Lovecraft could write a plot like this. And the film is chock full of classic Lovecraft. Unfortunately, it is also full of downright silly psychedelic dream sequences and extended shots of gyrating hips on alters.

My sixteen-year-old self was rolling her eyes throughout the film and demanding to know why we were wasting our time with such drivel. Even though I am well out of my angsty teenage years, I had a hard time disagreeing.

The only thing in this film that held my interest were the random overlapping phrases and words from the Evil Dead franchise. There’s a necronomicon from which you can summon the dead. At one point someone says something about an “army of darkness.” It makes me wonder how heavy an influence this film had on a young Sam Raimi or if he is simply a fan of Lovecraft.

It still wasn’t enough to overcome the inherent cheesy datedness of this film. As a result, I would say this is one you can skip. If you absolutely must watch it, it’s available on Netflix’s streaming service. Here’s the trailer:

1 Comment

  1. There’s a study there somewhere about clear influences. Take a director, look at what movies were released when he/she was a teenager, then look for how much that directors style was of their peers or was influenced by a previous generation.

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