The Resurrected

| September 10, 2017

When Claire tells private investigator John March that her husband Charles just isn’t the man he used to be, she has no idea how horrifyingly near the truth she is! What Claire thinks little more than a case of one recently-missing husband, she soon learns through John is in fact a mystery far more ancient and sinister, rooted in long-dead warlock Joseph Curwen’s unholy experiments with otherworldly monsters. This is the story of Dan O’Bannon’s The Resurrected (1991), a film adapted from the 1927 H. P. Lovecraft novella The Case of Charles Dexter Ward that’s making its way to Blu-ray on September 12, 2017 from Scream Factory—just in time for the Halloween Season!

One of two adaptations of this particular novella, The Resurrected stands as a far more faithful adaptation of the source than Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe’s The Haunted Palace (1963), which is in fact adapted from the Lovecraft story in spite of its title. The Haunted Palace embellishes the story of Charles Dexter Ward with other distinctly Lovecraftian elements including unexplained local mutations, and where it fails to live up to the promise of its source material, it more than compensates with ease thanks to performances by Vincent Price and Lon Chaney Jr. The Resurrected, apart from adopting a modern setting than the novella and swapping a couple characters out for Claire and John March, hits all the major plot points of Lovecraft’s original narrative. More importantly, though, where Haunted Palace offered only glimpses of the horrors in Curwen’s menagerie, The Resurrected lingers on the stunningly-realized subjects of Curwen’s experiments thanks to special effects by Todd Masters, who’d notably go on to work on Slither (2006).

Thanks to Masters’ grotesque creature work, Chris Sarandon’s (Fright Night (1985)) terrific work in the vastly different roles of Ward and Curwen, and the direction of Dan O’Bannon (Return of the Living Dead (1985)), The Resurrected proves a constantly engaging adaptation of one of Lovecraft’s more sprawling narratives. The Resurrected may be melodramatically acted in many places and the story certainly relies too much on dry narration—something the novella on which it’s based can be accused of too—but the realization of Curwen’s crypts and creatures brings immense visual excitement to the film’s climactic sequences. To be taken on such a journey through a Lovecraftian Hall of Horrors makes sitting through the film’s more tryingly dull early bits well worth the effort!

The Scream Factory release includes a stunning amount of special features to complement the experience of the film. While the film on its own may be admittedly flawed, packing it with such an incredible wealth of supplements makes this a release well worth owning for any Dan O’Bannon or H. P. Lovecraft fan—especially Lovecraft fans who’ve felt burned by the many subpar filmic adaptations that have been released over the years. In addition to the release boasting a new 2k transfer from the film’s interpositive film elements and reversible cover art, special features on the disc include:

  • “Claire’s Conundrum,” a NEW interview with actress Jane Sibbett
  •  “The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward,” a NEW interview with S.T. Joshi, author of I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft
  • Audio Commentary with producers Mark Borde and Kenneth Raich, screenwriter Brent V. Friedman, actor Richard Romanus and make-up effects artist Todd Masters
  • “The Resurrected Man,” an interview with Chris Sarandon
  • “Abominations & Adaptations,” an interview with screenwriter Brent Friedman
  • “Grotesque Melodies,” an interview with composer Richard Band
  • “Lovecraftian Landscapes,” an interview with production designer Brent Thomas
  • “Human Experiments,” an interview with special effects artist Todd Masters
  • Deleted and extended scenes sourced from the workprint
  • The home video and Japanese trailers

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About the Author:

Jef is a writer and educator in Chicago, Illinois. He holds a degree in Media & Cinema Studies from DePaul University, but sometimes he drops it and picks it back up again. He's also the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com and is fueled entirely by coffee (as if you couldn't tell).
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