There are quite a few HP Lovecraft adaptions out there now & very few quality ones. The genius of the man just doesn’t translate well into movies & it seems the only successful ones are the ones that take serious liberties with the source material.
The Lurking Fear is loosely based on HP Lovecraft’s short story & stars Lovecraft regular, Jeffery Combs. The man is a selling point & is the highlight of an average, cheaply made movie that lasts less than 75 minutes.
The movie opens with 2 sisters & a baby inside a run-down building hiding out from a storm. They are both scared of something in the storm & it doesn’t take long to see what it is. After a creature fails in its attempt to take the baby one of the sisters is killed brutally.
Much later in another place we meet ex-con, John who is leaving prison having served 4 years. He goes & visits his dead father’s (another con) old friend, Knaggs who works as a mortician. John & Knaggs both hold half a map that points to a place called Lefferts Corner. The maps combined, point to a grave where John’s father hid piles of money from his last heist.
John goes on ahead after agreeing a deal with Knaggs who is shortly accosted & murdered by a group of gangsters (led by a Brit who is just awful). It seems as though John’s father’s last heist was at this Brit gangster’s casino & he wants the money back.
Meanwhile in Lefferts Corner the surviving sister, Kathryn, the town doctor & some of the locals have wired the cemetery with dynamite planning to blow it up later that night. It seems as though whatever is killing the townspeople in Lefferts Corner lives under the ground & only comes out when a storm hits.
As John arrives in Lefferts Corner he feels like he is returning home even though he has no memory of the place. The place is deserted & those he does see have terrible scars & disfigurements. He makes his way to the graveyard to begin his search but quickly ends up clashing with the townspeople who are staking out the church.
They think he is going to try & stop them from destroying the creatures but before anything can be resolved the gangsters turn up. A tense stand-off begins & then the storm comes…
There is a lot to enjoy in The Lurking Fear….HP Lovecraft’s short story is chilling & the important bits come across nicely here. The ‘sort of’ twist is interesting even if it is obvious from the start.
The creatures look interesting & the film does well in keeping them hidden for most of the duration. When they are revealed it’s instantly less exciting but understandable. There is plenty of gore to enjoy even if it has a cartoonish feel, hearts begin ripped out & bodies dragged through holes always looks great.
What isn’t so good though is most of the acting…some of the lines & the way they are delivered are borderline cringe-worthy. Jeffery Combs is enjoyable but doesn’t have much to work with. Some of his lines are really funny though in that classic deadpan way. A ‘love-story’ between him & Kathryn never really convinces though.
The film is short so thankfully never overstays its welcome. The ending is a bit puzzling in regard to the creature’s change in behaviour & many questions remain unanswered but it is entertaining.
A fun & short movie that uses its source material fairly well. Cheap looking with some terrible acting, the word cheesy often comes to mind. Jeffery Combs is the bright star throughout though.
The Lurking Fear