Film Review: THE UNNAMABLE (1988)

THE UNNAMABLE *** U.S.A. 1988 Dir: Jean-Paul Ouellette 87 mins

Based on the short story of the same name by H.P. Lovecraft comes this 1988 movie from director Jean-Paul Ouellette. Randolph Carter and Miskatonic University would feature in many of H.P. Lovecraft’s work, so it is nice to see the character and setting being put to good use in this contemporary telling of THE UNNAMABLE. When Carter tells the tale of a house with a dark history near the university grounds his friend Joel goes to disprove Carter’s tale, only thing is Joel never comes back.
Carter’s friend Howard Damon mentions that Joel hasn’t been seen of since the day he went into the house, Carter and Howard attempt to find Joel. They aren’t the only ones in the house though as two college girls and two males have gone there as well. Though the males idea is to get the girls scared so they can have a bit of fun of the sexual kind they soon realise that this house is hiding more then they think. As they all attempt to escape the house something is picking them off one by one. Only by using Carter’s research of the home can they expect to survive the night. The unnamable creature (played by Katrin Alexandre in monster suit) is featured throughout the movie, but only seen in fleeting glimpses leaving the viewer to be surprised by the creatures final reveal towards the final minutes of the movie. The scream that the creature does will haunt your dreams and was done by mixing Katrin’s actual scream with animal sounds in post-production. There is a great use of a mixture of animal entrails and practical effects which include severed heads, hearts being ripped out of chests and lots of blood. The acting at times is a little wooden but Mark Kinsey Stephenson as Randolph Carter stands out in this movie. The soundtrack is a little odd for this movie but thankfully doesn’t feature too often to cause a distraction to what is going on. The movie does end rather abruptly but as a whole the film has a certain charm about it. A sequel would be released in 1992 called THE UNNAMABLE II: THE STATEMENT OF RANDOLPH CARTER starring John Rhys-Davies.

Review by Peter ‘Witchfinder‘ Hopkins

THE UNNAMABLE is available on DVD and Blu-ray at

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