Directed by Daniel Haller
Written by Curtis Hanson and Henry Rosenbaum
Starring: Sandra Dee, Dean Stockwell, and Ed Begley
Wilbur Whateley pops over to the Arkham Miskatonic University to borrow the legendary Necronomicon and Sandra Dee. But little does anyone know, Whateley isn’t quite human…
The late 60’s and early 70’s were rich with these trippy pseudo-psychedelic horror romps and this is no different. Fans of Lovecraft will appreciate the references to the infamous Necronomicon in such an old movie, but will certainly be annoyed with the constant improper pronunciation of Dunwich. Despite the constant reference to “DUN-WITCH”, the name is correctly pronounced “DUN-ITCH”. Nitpicking to be certain, but Lovecraft fans are a dedicated bunch.
When it comes to old school horror films, this one has a lot going on. I loved the over-the-top poster, standard-issue creepy house, the innocent girl who’s sucked into the plot, the ominous warnings of an old relative, fog, and every horror trope you can think of. The acting is good at times, especially from the clueless character portrayed by Sandra Dee. Young Stockwell does a great job as the eerie and motivated Wilbur, a Necronomicon-obsessed guy with a lot to hide. His desire to get his hands on the archaic book is rooted in pure evil and he isn’t content until things go his way. His charm lands the lovely Nancy Wagner (Dee) in his home; a place she seems intent to stay once Wilbur works his magic on her.
Despite its silliness and camp value, I really enjoyed the mention of Arkham Miskatonic University and The Old Ones, something Lovecraft fans are more than aware of. The acting is decent. The atmosphere is gloomy and mysterious, providing the perfect backdrop for this retro horror tale of otherworldly terror. The Dunwich Horror is available for streaming on Netflix and Halloween is awfully close. Sink 90 minutes into this and enjoy the camp.