The film “The Book of the Dead” (Necronomicon) became a real tribute to the work of the writer Howard Philips Lovecraft (1890 … 1937), and a truly bright and really scary psychological thriller.
And despite the fact that it was filmed in 1993, when the special effects were far from being as complex as they are now.
The film is divided into several seemingly unrelated storylines. Four completely different stories are united by the seemingly adventurous beginning of the film, in which Howard Lovecraft himself arrives in the library of a mystical order of monks. There he intends to collect information for his future, blood-curdling creations.
The first story was directed by Brian Yuzna, who is an undeniable specialist in the field of all kinds of movie nightmares. He also acted as the ideological inspirer of the birth of the film, as well as the author of two of its chapters.
Stylishly and captivatingly, Yuzna shows the writer’s obsession with the Necromicon – the Book of the Dead, which is full of diabolical spells that allow you to gain mystical power. Having attacked the trail of the Book, Lovecraft (played by Geoffrey Combs) finds what he is looking for and reads out three stories. At the same time, the keepers of the book intend to severely punish the impudent little man who encroached on the forbidden…
An elegant novella accompanies the viewer into the world of horrors and ends it. Its goal is to explain where the writer took plot twists for his mystical works and inspiration when describing hideous monsters.
The second story based on the story “The Rats in the Walls” was entrusted to visualize the French director Christophe Hahn, the future creator of “The Brotherhood of the Wolf” and “Silent Hill”. It was here, in a large meter, that he first acted as a director.
Having received an inheritance, the last offspring of the family name Edward De Lapoer (actor Bruce Payne) decides not to sell the family estate, but to settle in it, at least for the next night. Moreover, the shaken peace of mind after the death of the bride made itself felt. Soon the family castle reveals its terrible secret. A tense and scary story revealed by excellent acting to pompous musical accompaniment, surrounded by nauseatingly monstrous monsters.
The third story based on the story “Cold Air” was directed by the Japanese director Shusuke Kaneko, who at the time of filming did not speak English at all. He is a master of oriental, subtle thrillers such as Death Note.
Having moved from the countryside to the big city, young Emily (played by Bess Mayer) is full of desire to master the flute to perfection. Her housemate turns out to be the mysterious Dr. Madden (actor David Warner), who manages to keep his apartment cold in the heat. The girl is not going to make acquaintances with him, but providence decides otherwise: she accidentally learns his secret …
The plot is full of romance and reveals an unnatural, catastrophic and heartbreaking feeling of love. The tension of the line is not as intense as in other stories, but the finale is striking in its psychological effectiveness.
The author of the fourth chapter, based on the story “The Whisperer in the Dark”, was B. Yuzna. By the way, he can be seen in a small role as a cabman in an episode about the library. In addition to masterfully shot creepy material, he also brought in a lot of author’s gag, resulting in an avalanche of bleeding, nauseating special effects.
Two police officers (their roles were played by Signy Coleman and Obba Babatunde) are chasing a maniac who is holding the whole city at bay. Their pursuit turns into an accident, and then into a solitary pursuit, entirely consisting of undisguised horror, which blows the brain and beats off the viewer’s appetite for a long time …
The meaning of the film
The “Book of the Dead” in a gloomy, but so attractive and recognizable cover, is shown to the viewer in all parts of the film. Therefore, it is not surprising that everyone who is near her experiences the incredible influence of demonic forces.
Perhaps the tome was created by powerful creatures that lived on the planet many millennia ago?! Being not at all kind, they collected in one place all the events that happened to them. Are these Ancient Entities gone forever or hiding, ready to return?
The film gives a detailed answer, plunging the viewer into the world of maddening forbidden texts and rare monsters.
Characteristics of heroes
The characters presented in the film are amazing and multifaceted:
- Howard Lovecraft – is revealed as an inquisitive and resourceful person, able to follow his convictions to the end. He intends to overcome all earthly and mystical obstacles in his path;
- Edward De Lapoer demonstrates his gradual transformation from haughty aristocrat, clearly feeling guilty for the death of his beloved, to impulsive man, ready to risk everything to experience the relief of forgiveness;
- A very young girl, Emily, finds considerable spiritual strength in herself to change her life, making it safer. Fortitude and courage, however, as well as naivety, cannot be taken away from her. Having gone through a lot, she changes dramatically;
- police officers are trained for everything: for competent prosecution, detention and self-defense. But it is impossible to prepare for overcoming hidden fears. Desperately brave Sarah will have to go to great lengths to fulfill her duty, even in the midst of a sinister dungeon.
Despite the years that have passed since the creation of the film, it has not lost in its extremeness, scariness and spectacularity. After all, there are not so many horrors that can truly scare. That is why the good old horror almanac, marked by serious cinematographic awards, is worth watching, and maybe more than once.
The combination of all the stories turned the tape into a brutal, spectacular and truly shocking horror film, stylized in the 70s, and prohibited from viewing by especially impressionable people.