30 years ago, Brian Yuzna would collaborate with other filmmakers to create a unique anthology. This collection of macabre tales would adapt some of H.P. Lovecraft’s legendary stories. Each story has a modern twist and plenty of slimy practical effects. Necronomicon: Book of the Dead also featured an epic cast of cult actors to elevate the material. This is a reflection on 30 years of taboo reading.
Necronomicon was one of many direct-to-video films to see release during the VHS craze. Although the picture was completed in 1993, it had a delayed release and wasn’t put on the rental market until 1996. Much like the titular tome, this film was waiting to be discovered by followers of Lovecraft’s work. And now it celebrates a 30-year anniversary October 29th.
The anthology is divided into four segments. The prologue and epilogue sequences see Jeffrey Combs playing the role of H.P. Lovecraft. He is seeking the infamous Book of the Dead at a library. But this is no ordinary book depository, and he must brace himself to square off against various creatures.
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The following segment sees Bruce Payne as a grieving widower looking to revive his dead wife, played by Maria Ford. Of course, he succeeds, and the resurrection comes with monstrous consequences.
Next up, Dennis Christopher plays a contemptible reporter investigating a series of grisly murders. This leads him to a witness who recalls the story of a scientist played by the legendary David Warner.
The final segment sees two police officers in pursuit of a serial killer. The chase eventually leads the pair of lawmen to the killer’s lair. From there, the duo face terror from out of this world. This segment features Signy Coleman and Obba Babatunde.
Like many of its contemporaries, Necronomicon: Book of the Dead found life in the VHS market. It would develop a cult following and reach new audiences over the years. Each segment adapted a different Lovecraft story, but the filmmakers each put their own spin on the story they adapted.