Charles Band is a polarizing figure in the horror industry but one near-universal praise that all fans have to give the man is that he got Re-Animator made and that, if nothing else, justifies anything else. But Band also got a slew of other Lovecraft stories produced including the diminished return follow-up From Beyond and the short-film The Evil Clergyman. Full Moon boasted one such Lovecraft adaptation: 1994’s Lurking Fear.
We have Head of the Family’s lead Blake Bailey as John Martense, a recently released convict trying to put himself on the straight and narrow. He goes to an old cemetery where his late father stashed a million dollars in cash hidden inside a corpse. Unfortunately, the cemetery is infested with subterranean cannibals and tonight is the night that a group of locals is trying to take them out for good. To complicate matters more, the criminals to whom the money belong are on John’s trail.
So much about Lurking Fear works. Blake Bailey is a strong lead and you have a decent to great cast here including Jeffrey Combs as an alcoholic doctor. The movie smartly decides to hide the monsters’ goofy make-up at least until the midpoint when they show it far too much. The ping pong ball eyeballs and protruding chin make the cannibals look goofy, but the Dr. Klaw from Inspector Gadget voice also hurt their creep factor.
Alas, the script isn’t great and the movie takes forever getting where it’s going and none of the characters are terrible interesting. The premise is solid and has its moments but it’s mostly executed poorly. If you want a creepy and disturbing adaptation of Lovecraft’s Lurking Fear I would recommend 1997’s Hemoglobin (Bleeders if you live in the UK.)
The money-in-a corpse subplot eats up a lot of time that is really doesn’t have (like many Full Moon features, this is maybe 55 minutes without opening and closing credits) and takes its time getting to the point. There are still moments of greatness and I enjoyed this movie more than I didn’t, but there are significant problems that keep this from being as good as it could be.
Watch, Toss, Or Buy? Watch.
If You Liked This, Watch: Dark Heritage (1989), Hemoglobin/Bleeders (1997), The Hills Have Eyes (1977), Raw Meat (1972), Neon Maniacs (1986