REVIEW: CELLAR DWELLER / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: JOHN BUECHLER / SCREENPLAY: DON MANCINI / STARRING: DEBRAH MULLAWNEY, BRIAN ROBBINS, VINCE EDWARDS, JEFFREY COMBS, PAMELA BELLWOOD / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
There is a certain sort of horror movie that they made in the 1980s that we don’t see as often these days. Softer, sillier ideas tended to be the norm and though there was plenty of terror to be had, the tone was much lighter. Movies like Creepshow proved that they still owed a lot to other types of spooky stories, namely ghost stories and old-fashioned horror comics. Cellar Dweller took this inspiration more literally, being a tale based around comic strip artists.
Our tale begins in the 1950s. Horror comic creator Colin Childress (played by industry legend Jeffrey Combs) is famous for his popular yet scary book, Cellar Dweller. All too late he discovers the ghastly secret behind his success and pays a terrible price for his revelation. Thirty years later, the site of these supernatural shenanigans has been turned into an artist’s colony, filled with all sorts of wacky creative types with interesting hair. The latest addition is Whitney Taylor (Debrah Farentino) a fan of the old Cellar Dweller comic and a master of sequential art in her own right. After a brief confrontation with the lady who runs the facility and some light commentary on art snobbery, the horror begins and a big monster starts eating people.
The acting is just about better than average for an '80s budget horror movie and the special effects are quite rubbery. There’s some gore, some nudity and a little bit of terror. Experienced horror fans are likely to chuckle and be charmed in equal measure.
The feature clocks in at just 77 minutes long which is the perfect length for a short, schlocky and fun little horror movie. Cellar Dweller was never meant to rock anyone’s world and it’s still as much fun today as it was back in then. It falls short of being a true classic of its kind, mostly due to a goofy-looking monster and flimsy premise. Daft but delightful.