Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 7th, 2011
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 2008 (Beyond the Dunwich Horror), USA, 2006 (Pretty Dead Things)
Director: Richard Griffin (Both Films)
Writers: Richard Griffin (Beyond the Dunwich Horror), Richard Griffin, Sandeep Parikh (Pretty Dead Things)
Cast: Lynn Lowry, Jason McCormick, Jeff Dylan Graham, Sarah Nicklin, Michael Reed, Ruth Sullivan (Beyond the Dunwich Horror), Patrick Pitu, William DeCoff, Danielle Lozeau, Ashley Eaton, Ross Kelly, Salvatore Marchese, Jason Witter, V. Orion Delwaterman, Jennifer Scharf, Caleb Emerson, Donald Foley, Robin L. Watkins (Pretty Dead Things)
DVD released: September 13th, 2011
Approximate running times: 104 Minutes (Beyond the Dunwich Horror), 92 Minutes (Pretty Dead Things)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen (Both Films)
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English (Both Films)
DVD Release: Camp Motion Pictures
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.99
Trying to film a H.P. Lovecraft story is never an easy feat and in many instances those who have attempted to do so, have often come up short. A few of the notable H.P. Lovecraft adaptations include The Shuttered Room, The Re-Animator and From Beyond.
And without a doubt the biggest obstacle that has befell many filmmakers, who have tried to bring H.P. Lovecraft’s writings to life. It is the shifting the setting to a more modern setting. Also the majority of H.P. Lovecraft’s verbiage does not translate that well cinematically. So it is pretty much a given that some modernization of the dialog will be undertaken.
This brings us to Beyond the Dunwich Horror which actually owes as much to H.P. Lovecraft as it does to Italian horror cinema of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Most notably Lucio Fulci, look no further than the addition of the word ‘beyond’ in the film’s title. Even gore set pieces in Beyond the Dunwich Horror owe a great debt to the Spaghetti Nightmares which inspired them.
At 104 minutes the film does has some pacing issues, thankfully most of these are quickly resolved before things ever come to a dead halt. Another area in which the film is kind of hit and miss is its dialog which at times comes off a trying too hard to be clever. Performance wise the cast more than hold own in their respective roles, even if a few of the performances often come off as a bit hammy.
If looked at as just a H.P. Lovecraft adaptation, Beyond the Dunwich Horror is somewhere in the middle of the pack of H.P. Lovecraft cinematic endeavors. When viewed as a horror / comedy hybrid with a dash of Italian inspired mayhem, the film holds up really well.
Pretty Dead Things: Vampire porn stars find themselves in the cross-hairs of one of their victims, who they turned into a vampire, instead of finishing him off like the rest of their prey.
Pretty Dead Things marked my sixth foray into the cinematic cannon of filmmaker Richard Griffin and while I have had a love / hate relationship with most of his films. None have I connected with as much as I did with Pretty Dead Things.
First off, look no further then the film’s premise which revolves around four porno actors, who became vampires. And while the paring of vampires and porno actors may seem like an odd combination. It actually makes a hell of a lot sense, vampires often retain their youth and can live forever (if they are not staked), while the porno industry is all about the youngest / freshest looking thing that has yet to be overexposed.
Pacing in never an issues as things always move along briskly. Also being a film that is populated with character, who where once porn actors. It should not come as a surprise that there is plenty of eye candy on display. Unfortunately though this film is populated by character’s that were former porn actors, the amount of flesh is non-existent.
Fortunately being that this is a horror film with blood thirsty vampires and a psychotic pizza boy, who has been turned into a vampire, there is an heaping dose of gore in this film. Another area in which this film’s excels are the performances of its cast, especially Jason Witter in the role of Shane Starkweather, this film’s obligatory gay vampire character. Content wise just like Richard Griffin’s other films, Pretty Dead Things finds a good balance between humor and more horror related moments.
Both films are presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves their original aspect ratio. Colors and flesh tones look accurate. details look crisp and there are no problems with compression.
Each film comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. There are no problems with background noise or distortion and dialog comes through clearly.
Extras for Beyond the Dunwich Horror include a trailer for Nun of That (4 minutes 40 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and a ‘faux’ trailer for Dark Night of the Demon House (1 minute 58 seconds – letterboxed widescreen) and a audio commentary with screenwriter / director Richard Griffin, producer Ted Marr, cinematographer Ricardo Rebelo, actress Sarah Nicklin and actor Michael Reed. This is a lively audio commentary in which topics discussed include inspirations for this production like H.P. Lovecraft and Italian horror films, casting and various other production related topics.
Extras for Pretty Dead Things is limited to a audio commentary with screenwriter / director Richard Griffin and producer Ted Marr. Some topics discussed in this audio commentary include how porn inspired the film’s title, casting, the opening credits sequence and shooting a film on a minuscule budget. Also included with this release are trailers for other Camp Motion Picture titles also available on DVD. Overall this is another strong double feature release from Camp Motion Picture’s.