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Lurking Fear (1994)

VHS Cover (Full Moon Pictures)
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4.2
 / 10
4 votes
Genres:
Horror, Supernatural Horror
Director:
C. Courtney Joyner C. Courtney Joyner
Starring:
Jon Finch Jon Finch
Blake Adams Blake Adams
Ashley Laurence Ashley Laurence
Jeffrey Combs Jeffrey Combs
Allison Mackie Allison Mackie
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Review by Chad
Added: November 17, 2011
I've been reading a lot of Lovecraft lately, and The Lurking Fear was one of the stories that I read and particularly enjoyed. I remembered that there was a movie adaptation of it from Full Moon Studios, and though I remembered disliking it upon my initial viewing, I decided to go ahead and pay it another visit to see if my opinion would be swayed. As it turns out, my opinion did indeed change, but only slightly: instead of flat out disliking it, I now think that it is merely average.

The plot found here barely resembles the original story, and it begins with young John Martense (Blake Adams) being released from prison after serving five years for petty crime. His first order of business is to claim a treasure map that his now-deceased father left for him, a map that will eventually lead him to the cemetery in a small town known as Leffert's Corners. You see, his father had all of his money sewn into the body of a dead criminal, and Martense plans to dig the body up and claim the money that is rightfully his. Unfortunately for him, a group of gangsters - ringleader Bennett (Jon Finch), the hired muscle Pierce (Joseph Leavengood), and the vicious vixen Marlowe (Allison Mackie) - also want this money, and they are hot on Martense's heels.

What none of these people know is that Leffert's Corners is plagued by deformed monsters of some sort, monsters who live in tunnels underneath the city and emerge every now and then to pull a screaming human down into their underground lair before eating them alive. A group of townsfolk - the badass Cathryn Farrell (Ashley Laurence), town drunk Dr. Haggis (Jeffrey Combs), and Father Poole (Paul Mantee) - have chosen this night to send the beasts to hell after twenty years of living in terror. There is dynamite in place, plenty of weapons, and a solid plan... but that is when the gangsters show up and everything goes to hell. The gangsters want their money, Martense wants the money but is sympathetic towards the townsfolk, the townsfolk want to survive the night, and the monsters just want to eat as many people as possible. Who will survive?

The original story showed one man's investigation into where these underground monsters came from and what they want, while the movie is content to just say "here be monsters" and use them as a background plot element for a crime movie. While it is true that the townsfolk are constantly mentioning them, it doesn't really go beyond that until near the end of the movie - up until then, the film is nothing more than "bad guys hold good guys hostage, good guys turn the tables and hold the bad guys hostage, bad guys turn the tables and hold the good guys hostage, good guys turn the tables yet again..."

Perhaps this kind of film would have worked out better with some decent casting choices, but that is not how it works. Let's see: Jeffrey Combs is a great actor when he wants to be, but here, he was very obviously doing nothing more than earning a check. He serves as a background character and doesn't get a lot of time to shine, but even when the spotlight is on him, he's just sort of spitting out his lines and thinking about what he's going to do after the shoot. Ashley Laurence is the real star of the movie in terms of screen time, but she is merely average at best: you've seen the "tough chick" role done thousands of times before, and while she wasn't bad in the role, she didn't do anything exciting with it either. The same could be said about Jon Finch and the no-nonsense gangster role: nothing terrible, nothing new. Joseph Leavengood seemed to be having fun with his role as the merciless assassin, but his screen time was limited and he didn't get much time to do anything more than spit out a handful of one-liners.

I do have to admit that I liked the effects work used on the creatures themselves. They were created with good ol' costumes and makeup, none of that CGI nonsense, and they looked really good. There was also some great gore on display, but this is one place where the movie was hit or miss: one scene, we're watching a man get his heart ripped out and the gorehounds are cheering, while the next kill will take place completely off screen and we won't see a single drop of blood.

Overall, Lurking Fear is getting an average rating out of me. It had the potential to be a great monster movie and all of the elements were there: monsters that look awesome, promising gore sequences, and awesome sets both above and under the ground. Unfortunately, the injection of too much human drama dragged it down considerably, and at the end of the day, it's just an "alright" movie. 5/10.
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Ginose #1: Ginose - added 06/11/2007, 11:40 PM
The gore was nice and I consider myself a die-hard Full Moon fan... but this is bullshit! This has absolutely NOTHING to do with the Lovecraft story with the acception of sub-terrainian monsters... this is shit! Total shit! I've sworn on all m Full Moon movies that somehow I'm going to get this shit remade and atleast have some relevance to the source material... I advise anyone who has had to watch this to pick up the original story... Lovecraft is one of the gods of modern horror, and if you could just imagine the terrifying apperance of the actual monsters... god... 1.9/10
Cryptorchild #2: Cryptorchild - added 08/23/2007, 10:24 PM
You have to give this story a little credit. I mean it's not that bad. You have Jeffery Combs so that gives it a little credit. I dunno, I thought it was ok, nothing great though. 5/10.
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