I recently viewed Richard Griffin’s seventh independent feature film, Beyond The Dunwich Horror, at the Columbus Theater in Providence, RI.
I can say without reservation that watching Beyond The Dunwich Horror is like watching a Lovecraft adaptation by Dario Argento, with Mario Bava on cinematography and Lucio Fulci on special effects.
If I didn’t meet the cast afterwards in the lobby, I’d swear that Richard Griffin found an old Italian Giallo (pulp-ish horror film) no one knew about and added his name to the title credits. Even the score (by Tony Milano) sounds like a score by occasional Argento collaborator Goblin.
If the above names aren’t familiar to you, this may not be your type of film. If you’re a fan of Bava’s Blood and Black Lace, Argento’s Suspiria or Fulci’s Zombi 2, then you’re in for a treat.
Richard Griffin could have simply lifted elements from some of his favorite horror films and created a pastiche, but thankfully for us he’s aimed significantly higher.
Rather than a direct adaptation or updating of H.P. Lovecraft’s classic short story (The Dunwich Horror), Griffin has woven the original tale into the backstory of Beyond The Dunwich Horror, which brings us up to date on what’s been happening in Dunwich the last few decades.
The audience is told two stories at once. The film starts out with someone (whom we later learn is named Andrew) found washed up on Dunwich’s shore. His brother Kenny comes to town to find out why Andrew has been locked up in a psychiatric hospital, conscious yet incapable of communicating with anyone. Kenny’s story is intercut with scenes from Andrew’s story, as told to Kenny over the course of his investigation. Kenny (and the audience) also learn the essence of Lovecraft’s original story, as it’s used to give context to the events in the film.
If you’ve recently said to yourself (or anyone else), “they don’t make horror films like they used to,” I’m happy to tell you that Richard Griffin (along with his cast and crew) just did.
There’s going to be another screening on June 13th at the Cable Car Cinema & Cafe (“The Theater with the Couches”, more info at http://www.cablecarcinema.com/ ), followed by some screenings on the horror film festival circuit, and a DVD release in 2009.