H.P Lovecraft is my favorite author. 80s B-movie monster flicks are my favorite genre of movies. So there should be no doubt that 80s B-Movie monster flicks based on the stories of H.P. Lovecraft would be right up my alley.
I fucking love these flicks! Even the bad ones! Even the crappy sequels to the bad ones! If it’s got HPL’s name on it and it’s a horror movie, you bet your big bubble butt I’m gonna watch that shit!
What follows are what I consider to be the absolute best six cheesy B-movies based on HPL stories. I hope you have as much fun watching them as I do!
6. Beyond the Wall of Sleep (2006)
This little know bugger isn’t a particularly good film but I really liked the atmosphere the filmmakers created by shooting the flick in an honest to god abandoned insane asylum.
I found it in the dwindling horror section of a Blockbuster Video back in the day and rented it based on Lovecraft’s big ole name splashed across the top of the cover art. You know what else that cover had? A badass monster that appears absolutely nowhere in the film!
Yes. It’s one of THOSE movies. Ordinarily that would be enough to make me toss the disk across the room and never think about the flick again, but for some reason the acting of William Sanderson (the only legit actor in the flick) and the awesome(ly bad) Cthulhu rubber monster suit at the end saved this one for me and even though I’ve only seen it once, I still recommend it to Lovecraft movie loving friends.
Unfortunately there are a LOT worse flicks out there with HPL’s name emblazoned on them than this one. 2 and a half out of five dead and dreaming Strangeheads.
5. The Dunwich Horror (1970)
Dean Stockwell as Wilbur Whateley. Nuff said. …But I’ll say more anyway because this is my shit and I can do what I want.
While this flick was an AIP, Roger Corman produced movie, it REALLY feels like a Hammer film. Not only did it come out during the Hammer era, but the sleazy, soft focus porn music infused aesthetic lends credence to that feel as well.
While only tangentially related to the story of the same name, The Dunwich Horror, taken as a weird, stand alone occult movie by itself really works as a creepy horror film. Seeing Stockwell perform Lovecraftian rituals on a hot blonde ain’t bad on the eyes either.
Really if you’re a fan of 60s/70s era Satanic movies, you could do worse than this slow burn warlock flick. 3 out of 5 Strangeheads that are the key and the gate to the Strangeheads.
4. Dagon (2001)
Dagon is one of, in my opinion (and I’ve seen a LOT of Lovecraft movies,) the most authentic Lovecraftian film adaptations ever made. Only it’s not an adaptation of the short story Dagon. It’s actually an adaptation of the classic Lovecraft novella The Shadow Over Insmouth.
Now, I don’t mean that it’s a shot for shot remake of the story. There are a lot and I do mean a LOT of liberties taken with the story (hello naked octopus girl!) but they are liberties that I personally think enhance a film version of the classic tale.
Like most of the other movies on this list, Dagon is a Stuart Gordon/Brian Yuzna production. I just flat out love the B-Movie tits and gore aesthetic that these two bring to my favorite author’s works.
As nuts as some of the other movies are on this list, I put the final 20 minutes of Dagon up against any of them. The skinned faced denizens of Insmouth, the octopus girl and Mother Hydra herself making an appearance make Dagon one of the best Lovecraftian movies ever made. 4 out of 5 cultists from the Esoteric Order of the Strangeheads.
3. Necronomicon (1993)
This flick has a couple of things going against it that have kept it from getting the kind of attention it deserves. First, it’s an anthology film, with three Lovecraftian stories being told, all connected by a wrap around story concerning Jeffrey Combs as H.P. Lovecraft reading from a rare copy of the Necronomicon. His chin prosthetic alone should make this a cult classic!
The second thing is, it never got a DVD release in the states! For the life of me, I don’t know why that is. This is a GREAT Lovecraft flick featuring production by none other than Brian Yuzna who also directed one of the segments. It stars Combs, Richard Lynch and Bruce Payne so it has star power.
It’s also got great monsters, hot chicks and a boat load of gore. It’s a real travesty that it never got the release it deserved. Maybe we’ll get an overpriced Blu Ray special edition that I won’t be able to afford one of these days? 5 out of 5 cryogenically animated Strangeheads.
2. From Beyond (1986)
It’s all Gordon/Yuzna from here on out, as well it should be. I can’t stress enough how influential these Lovecraft flicks were to not only my love of all things HPL but of my love of practical monster FX and tits in horror movies. I grew up on this shit. It’s everything I love about movies!
And From Beyond is my personal favorite. It’s not number one just because I don’t consider it THE BEST. It’s got its flaws and is a much smaller scale production (while having much better monsters, however that works) than Re-Animator, but it suffers from only following the three central cast members in a single location for much of the run time of the film.
That, however, doesn’t stop it from having Barbara Crampton in a fucking leather dominatrix suit, or Jeffery Combs with a protruding pineal gland sucking the eyeball out of a nurse! There are so many perfect scenes and slimy monsters in this flick. God I love it. 5 out of 5 Dr. Edward Strangeheads, at your service.
1. Re-Animator (1985)
Re-Animator is considered by practically everyone to be the quintessential H.P. Lovecraft film, and I find it hard to disagree. This film has everything a great B-movie needs. Zombies. A mad scientist. Another mad scientist. a re-animated severed head going down on Barbara Crampton. What? Yes. It’s that movie.
I can only imagine the kind of fanfare this flick got when it was released. I can also only imagine the kind of hate it got from Lovecraft purists. Hell, even the 18 year old kid who introduced me to Lovecraft back in the 90s thought this thing was a piece of trash.
But I loved it! And it brought together Charles Band, Stewart Gordon and Brian Yuzna who would all go on to make insanely awesome sequels and offshoot Lovecraftian flicks for decades to come.
I recently saw an interview with Gordon where he said that he personally had a hand in getting the story this movie was based on back into print. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but if he did, then he not only influenced an entire generation of 80s horror kids to fall in love with the works of HPL, he was also instrumental in getting one of HPL’s coolest stories into my hands. And for that, this monster kid is forever grateful. 5 out of 5 blonde bombshell pussy eating Strangeheads.