Horror fans have long admired H.P. Lovecraft’s work, as he is one of the great authors who had an impeccable ability to encompass the bizarre. Stuart Gordon is no stranger to his stories with films such as The Re-Animator, From Beyond, Castle Freak, Dagon, as well as Brian Yuzna’s Necronomicon, The Unnamable films and many more! The Resurrected is an adaptation of the Lovecraft short story The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. It’s an obscure Lovecraft horror film as it was only shown at film festivals before going direct-to-video in 1992 so I was pleased when Shout Factory released it on Blu-Ray two years ago.
I enjoy it when movies begin with a cryptic scene that occurs later in the story then segues back to the beginning of the tale. The characters’ demeanours are raw and ready for what ensues with the audience along for the ride in anticipation to what led to that opening scene. Our first glimpse in The Resurrected is a bloody private investigator named John March in his office in distress. We are then redirected to the beginning of the story with a woman named Claire Ward coming to John’s office pleading for help to decipher her husband Charles’ recent strange behaviour.
Chris Sarandon aka Jerry Dandrige aka one of the most handsome men on the planet, plays Charles Dexter Ward, a chemical engineer who discovers the gruesome past of his ancestor who delved in alchemy and necromancy. Charles further explores his origins, which lead him to uncover his ancestors’ success in raising the dead. While Charles becomes more reclusive and physically withered, Claire, John and his assistant Lonnie dig deeper into their investigation to uncover the truth behind Charles’ evasive conduct, a murder, mysterious deliveries and a diary from 1771.
The Resurrected is directed by the late great Dan O’Bannon who also directed Return of the Living Dead and is praised in film history as a screenwriter for movies such as Dark Star, Dead & Buried, Lifeforce, Invaders From Mars, but notably and probably most importantly, Alien. Dan O’Bannon displayed versatility in his career and I admire both the familiar humorous side of his work as well as the more somber approach to themes of aliens and zombies. I really enjoy the blue tinge added to the dream sequence, it’s also filled with some dreadful scenes but if you don’t like needles close to eyeballs, proceed with caution!
The special effects team did an awesome job! The animatronics of the half rotten, undead corpse that washes up from the river displays agony in such a fantastic way. One of my favourite scenes is when John, Claire and Lonnie go into the basement of the farmhouse where Charles conducted his research and they resurrect a blob creature then find his failed horrific experiments. Another is when Charles resurrects an apparent doppelgänger. The best scene is at the end— I won’t spoil anything but trust me, it rules!
I am a science-driven person who also has a great interest for the unexplained. As an objective skeptic with a grim curiosity, I really enjoy seeing Charles’ character change from doubt to fascination as he unravels the truths that bend the laws of nature.
The Resurrected succeeds in building a mystery and tells a story that requires the protagonists to search for clues in order to reveal what secrets lie within a macabre, historic tale. A curious case indeed!