Blu-ray Review: The Unnamable (1988)

November 12, 2018

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

In the 18th century, ol’ Joshua Winthrop is having some troubles with his teenage daughter Alyda…who just so happens to be a blood crazed demonic monster afraid of thunder and lightning. (Fuckin’ kids, amirite?) Anyway, she performs the murder biz on the geezer.
Flash forward to the eerie eighties and our boy Randolph Carter (Mark Kinsey Stephenson) and his chums are chit-chatting in a graveyard (as one does) and their pal Joel gets the brilliant idea to spend the night in the Winthrop house to see if any supernatural shenanigans ensue. Well Joel does just that, and he gets his ass eaten (not literally…I mean the monster gets him) unbeknownst to his pals. Soon it’s up to remaining members of the group to investigate the arcane abode, but not before some frat boys and their gal pals visit the house to increase the body count…or make out…whatever. Will any of our heroes survive the centuries long rage of Alyda and see the dawn?
Under the eye of Writer/Director Jean-Paul Ouellette; The Unnameable utilizes the eponymous classic tale penned by legendary horror scribe H.P. Lovecraft as a spring board before concocting a surprisingly effective mash-up of “haunted” house, slasher, and creature feature tropes that provides solid chills and fun. Mark Kinsey Stephenson makes for an engaging lead, and comes across as an incredibly likable dude who doesn’t necessarily believe what’s going on, but he presses on and investigates with charm and humor. Adding to the good times are a strong mythology (along with Lovecraft staples The Necronomicon and Miskatonic University), excellent practical gore effects, and one hell of a kick ass creature suit (brought to life by effects house Art & Magic and performed by Katrin Alexandre)…and of course you can’t escape the nostalgic waves brought on by those outfits and hairstyles (if you were kickin’ around in the ’80’s like your’s cruelly that is).
Along with the main event, Unearthed Films/MVD Entertainment have included some nice beastly bonuses on this Blu-ray release. First up we have a cast and crew audio commentary featuring Actors Charles Klausmeyer, Mark Stephenson, Laura Albert, Eben Ham, and Make-Up Artists Camille Calvet, R. Christopher Biggs. This is a lively, if cluttered, listen and is filled with plenty of anecdotes of the film’s production. Next up we have lengthy interviews (conducted by Jay Kay of Horror Happen Radio performed via Skype which makes the audio uneven) with all of the commentary participants mentioned above, as well as a stills gallery. Also included is the vintage audio track for the film in case that is your bag…
Funny, full of gore and creature effects, and infinitely watchable; The Unnamable is a fine entry into the cinematic version of H.P.Lovecraft’s universe, and belongs in the creepy collection of anyone that loves Re-animator or From Beyond!


*Note: I have heard tale of audio issues inherent in the feature itself, but thanks to my shitty set-up I watched it on good ol’ mono and had no difficulty.

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