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With: Charles Klausmeyer, Mark Kinsey Stephenson, Alexandra Durrell, Laura Albert, Eben Ham, Blane Wheatley, Mark Parra, Delbert Spain, Colin Cox, Katrin Alexandre
Written by: Jean-Paul Ouellette, based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft
Directed by: Jean-Paul Ouellette
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 87
Date: 06/01/1988
IMDB

The Unnamable (1988)

1 Star (out of 4)

My Name Is

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I first saw The Unnamable back in the 1980s on VHS, having wrongly assumed that it was connected with the other H.P. Lovecraft films of the time, Stuart Gordon's great Re-Animator and From Beyond. It's not, and it's pretty bad. I tried it again in 2018 on its new Blu-ray release from MDVisual, and there will be no reason to give it a third try. It does include Lovecraft's recurring character Randolph Carter and a reference to his fictitious Miskatonic University, but otherwise, it's nothing more than a dumb-kids-spend-the-night-in-a-creepy-house movie.

It starts with a flashback to the 18th century, establishing that there's a "thing" locked away in the house. For some reason, no one else has ever bothered to check out the house since, until 1988. Sitting in a nearby graveyard, Randolph tells ghost stories about the place to two other students, and one of them decides, for no reason, that he's going to spend the night in the place. He never returns, and the others go looking for him. Meanwhile, two jocks get the bright idea to try to seduce two new co-eds by bringing them to the haunted house. Brilliant. Of course, the monster, which is supposedly the "unnamable" of the title, is freed. At least Mark Kinsey Stephenson is kind of fun as a snooty, bookish Carter, and Charles Klausmeyer is a sort-of likable hero, Howard Damon.

MDVisual's Blu-ray is a pretty good transfer of a low-budget film, highlighting the primitive attempts at arty cinematography (i.e. blue and green place lights dotting the frame). There's a new DTS Surround mix as well as an original (muddier sounding) "grindhouse" audio track. The disc includes a surprisingly impressive array of extras. A commentary track includes several actors and make-up artists. There are video interviews (conducted through Skype?) with varying audio quality. (Weirdly, the writer/director Jean-Paul Ouellette doesn't seem to appear anywhere in the extras.) Otherwise, there's a trailer, a photo gallery, and a very cool sleeve design.

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