LURKING FEAR (1994)

PrintE-mail Written by Joel Harley

Jeffrey Combs stars in a H.P. Lovecraft adaptation by Full Moon Pictures! Don’t get your hopes up though; prolific Lovecraft adaptor Stuart Gordon is nowhere to be seen. The film has very little to do with Mister Lovecraft either, save for the name, barest bones of an idea and a fear that, indeed, lurks.

A cheap cult Gothic, Lurking Fear is very much a film of its time, a Full Moon picture from the early nineties. In a great time for lurid Lovecraft adaptations, it rides the rip tide of such successes as From Beyond and Re-Animator and its sequel, and coming just before the underrated Castle Freak. It may share Combs and producer Charles Band with this g(l)oriously motley lot, but there’s no small wonder Lurking Fear is (much) less well remembered.

Not Dunwich, the small town of Leffert’s Corners is beset by a history of supernatural terrors, leaving it as something of a Ghost Town. Enter brooding ex-con John Martense (Blake Adams, looking then like Scott Eastwood and sounding like Daryl Dixon do now), a man returning to the town to reclaim his heritage. What he finds instead is a town full of ghouls, a priest, Doctor (Combs!) and understandably traumatised woman. Holed up together, the group must attempt to survive bombardment from all quarters, both human and not.

Grizzled criminals and grisly monsters battle for attention in a film with plenty of style but little substance. It ably apes the visuals of Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna, but struggles to hold their audience. Even the magnificent Combs is given relatively little to do, save for smoke and be sarcastic, sidelined in favour of a bland Clint Eastwood lookalike. Thankfully, once the lurking stops and the action starts, it livens up nicely; a cheap, less cool precursor to From Dusk Till Dawn. Director C. Courtney Joyner handles this and the atmospherics well, but there’s no denying the fact that his story isn’t very good - Jeffrey Combs or no, there’s nothing Lovecraftian about gangsters and hot dames with guns.

Lurking is all very fine and well, but, like its unfortunate choice in leading man, this is a film very much lacking in presence.

LURKING FEAR / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: C. COURTNEY JOYNER / STARRING: BLAKE BAILEY, ASHLEY LAURENCE, JON FINCH, JEFFREY COMBS, VINCENT SHIAVELLI / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW


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