Necronomicon: Book of the Dead (1993)

H. P. Lovecraft (Jeffrey Combs!) tells his cabby (Brian Yuzna) to wait outside the monastery — he’s got a Necronomicon to find. As he races to find a copy before the monks stop him, he’s locked inside a room where he gets to discover the future through the book.

The first story, “The Drowned,” is loosely based on “The Rats in the Walls.” It tells the story of Jethro De Lapoer (Richard Lynch!), whose wife and child died in an accident, causing him to set a Bible ablaze at the funeral. He brings them back to life with the Necronomicon, but the green glowing eyes of his family as they rise upset him so much that he leaps to his death. His nephew has no such compunctions and brings back his wife Clara (Maria Ford), who comes back in the same way, nearly causing his death. Stuart Gordon’s Castle Freak was also inspired by this same story. This story and the framing story come from Yuzna.

“The Cold” is based on the short story “Cool Air” and has Dr. Madden (David Warner!) injecting spinal fluid and staying inside a chilled room to stay alive forever, at least until the power goes out. Dennis Christopher, Gary Graham and Millie Perkins are also in this story, which you may have seen in Alberty Pyun’s H. P. Lovecraft’s Cool Air or the Jeannot Szwarc-directed, Rod Serling-written Nighy Gallery episode. This was directed by Christopher Gans, the director of Brotherhood of the Wolf and Silent Hill.

“Whispers” is based on “The Whisper in the Darkness.” This one has monster bats and all the gore you’ve been looking for, as if the last segment wasn’t packed with enough melting people. This one comes from Shusuke Kaneko, who made the Heisei era Gamera movies Gamera: Guardian of the UniverseAttack of Legion and Revenge of Iris, as well as Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.

At the end, Lovecraft avoids the monks and runs into the night. This film may not be completely successful at making an anthology of his stories, but it’s pretty entertaining. It was well-received in the U.S., but a much bigger success in Europe and Asia, where it played theaters.

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