With my recent ventures into the more extreme side of horror cinema, I have been diving deeper into the Unearthed Films catalog. With that, I was able to discover another of their more recent releases that piqued my interest. This time around, it wasn’t another indie film from an up-and-coming young director who was assaulting us with tons of gore. Instead it was a film that was only available on VHS until now, Jean-Paul Ouellette’s 1998 The Unnamable.
Trying to prove that Carter’s story of an unnamable and indescribable creature was just a silly wives’ tale, Joel decides to spend the night in the house where the supposed creature dwells. Coincidentally, Bruce and John, a couple of frat brothers from Miskatonic University, lure Wendy and Tonya to that same abandoned house, looking to get lucky. After Joel doesn’t report back, Howard finally convinces Carter it’s time to go check things out for themselves, of course, running into the entire gang, who remain stuck in the house. Now, with a full house, the creature has plenty of young morsels to rip apart as it pleases.
The Unnamable is another film that has flown completely under my radar until now. While that usually is a sign of a not-so-good film, that couldn’t be further from the truth this time around. Based on H.P. Lovecraft’s short story of the same name, [screenplay] writer and director, Ouellette, managed to make a really fun film with some really effective practical effects and an extremely effective monster.
This 1988 Lovecraftian tale features a young cast who’s performances are really a mixed bag. While none of the actors really do a poor job portraying their characters, there are certainly ones that stand out from the rest. My favorites to watch are the underestimated ‘dweeb,’ Howard, and the learned bookworm [Randolph] Carter, played by Charles Klausmeyer and Mark Kinsey Stephenson, respectively. Interestingly enough, The Unnamable was the first feature-length film for both Klausmeyer and Stephenson, two stage-trained performers.
When it comes to horror films that deal with monsters of any kind, it is extremely important to have an authentically menacing creature as your main attraction. Without that, the film, no matter how good in other aspects, will ultimately be seen as somewhat of a failure… at least in my mind. Fortunately for us fans, Ouellette and the special effects team, led by R. Christopher Biggs, who has worked on films like A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and Demolition Man, successfully created a truly terrifying antagonist; one that H.P. Lovecraft would be proud of, I believe.
If you are like me and have never seen The Unnamable, do yourself a favor and take the time to do so; It is tons of fun and makes a great pairing in a double-feature night with the likes of Castle Freak or even Rawhead Rex. While this isn’t normal fare for Unearthed Films, they have done a remarkable job with this newly remastered home release; The transfer looks and sounds wonderful and it is packed with special features, including interviews with cast and crew, an audio commentary track, and more. I am extremely excited to see what else Unearthed Films releases in this new Classics line and will certainly be picking up any future releases.
This film gets a well-deserved 4.5 ripped open throats out of 5 from yours truly.