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Trying to get inspiration for his new novel a real-life Hollywood horror writer, H. P. Lovecraft delves into books and by taking influences from each one begins to imagine how his new novel might pan out. A cop travels to another dimension featuring various freakish monsters and nasties.


Hollywood has been taking stabs at the influential 20s horror writer H. P. Lovecraft since the 1960s, when Roger Gorman presided over the likes of The Haunted Palace and The Dunwich Horror. The recent success of Re-Animator, however, has established Lovecraft as a literary great who rates billing on a video sleeve.

This scrappy but enjoyable portmanteau perhaps comes closer to catching the feel of Lovecraft's tales, though the author's fondness for "indescribable" horrors translates, as expected, into hordes of slimily rubber monsters. Not actually adapted from any Lovecraft stories, the three tales here have been assembled from bits and pieces of the originals and parcelled out to different directors.

In a frame story set in the 30s, Combs plays Lovecraft himself, venturing into a library and consulting the eponymous volume of evil lore. Peering into the pages, he envisions three stories which feature Bruce Payne as the heir who discovers something gloopily ancient lurking in a lighthouse he has inherited, David Warner as a mad scientist, and Signy Coleman as a cop who ventures into a monster-blighted underworld.

All the episodes give the impression of an eagerness to get the story out of the way to make room for tons of special effects, but the performances are nicely overwrought, and it has an anything-goes messiness which compares favourably with most recent horror movies.

An usual premise Necronomicon is based around the quirky Hollywood writer H. P. Lovecraft and his many influences for material. At once surreal, science fiction and adventure it is an arresting mix which sadly falls short of its off-beat potential.