Watch The Dunwich Horror
- 1 hr 30 min
The Dunwich Horror is a horror movie released in 1970, directed by Daniel Haller and starring Sandra Dee, Dean Stockwell, and Ed Begley. The story is based on H.P. Lovecraft's novel of the same name and revolves around an occult ritual and the entities that are summoned as a result of it. The film starts with Wilbur Whateley (Dean Stockwell) arriving at the Miskatonic University library to study the Necronomicon, a book of forbidden knowledge. He becomes infatuated with the librarian, Nancy Wagner (Sandra Dee), who is intrigued by his knowledge of the occult. Wilbur convinces Nancy to help him study an ancient tome that his family possesses, the "Necotic Manuscripts," which contains instructions for a ritual to summon the Old Ones, ancient deities who once ruled the earth. Wilbur is a member of a family in Dunwich, Massachusetts, that has a long history of practicing magic and worshipping the Old Ones. His grandfather, Old Whateley (Sam Jaffe), was rumored to have practiced dark magic, and some believe that he spawned a race of monstrous beings called the Whateleys. The locals fear the Whateleys, especially Wilbur's mother, Lavinia (Joanne Moore Jordan), a strange, reclusive woman who is rumored to have birthed Wilbur's twin, who died soon after birth, and to have had a relationship with her own father. Wilbur and Nancy attempt to perform the ritual to summon the Old Ones, but the police interrupt them. Wilbur is arrested for stealing the Necronomicon, but he escapes and returns to Dunwich, where he continues to prepare for the ritual. Nancy follows him, concerned for his safety, and becomes embroiled in the family's dark secrets and the terrible events that unfold. The horror of The Dunwich Horror comes from the adaptation of Lovecraft's mythology and various occult themes, such as human sacrifice and devil worship, that pervade the story. The film does an excellent job of creating a creepy and disturbing atmosphere, and the use of practical effects brings the horrors of Lovecraft's imagination to life. The film makers have also effectively used the archaic, ominous music to enhance the tension of the movie. The performances are solid; Dean Stockwell is convincing as the deranged Wilbur Whateley, who becomes increasingly unhinged as the story unfolds. Sandra Dee does an admirable job as Nancy Wagner, who starts out as a reluctant participant but eventually becomes determined to stop the horror that is taking place. Ed Begley gives an essential performance as Dr. Armitage, a friend of the protagonist who is an expert on the occult and attempts to stop Wilbur's ritual. The Dunwich Horror is a slow-burning, atmospheric horror movie that relies more on its unsettling ambiance and psychological horror than jump scares or gore. The screenplay, written by Curtis Hanson and Henry Rosenbaum, is good but has some pacing issues in the middle of the film. The climax of the movie is well-executed, and the horror of the Old Ones is brought to life through practical effects that create a disturbing presence. The ending is ambiguous and leaves it open-ended to the viewer to interpret the events of the movie. In conclusion, The Dunwich Horror is a creepy and engrossing horror movie that fans of Lovecraftian horror will undoubtedly enjoy. The film is not perfect, but it has enough strengths to create a unique and atmospheric experience. Fans of the genre should not miss it.