H.P. Lovecraft is often remembered as one of the best horror storytellers ever, with his vision for the genre so well beyond his time it’s incredibly impressive to think of how he shaped the genre in the 19th century.
Lovecraft died in 1937, but adaptations of his works have steadily continued on for many years. One of the lesser-known film adaptations that is finally seeing its comeuppance is the 1993 anthology film Necronomicon, which featured three brilliant directors giving their best versions of Lovecraft tales.
Brian Yuzna directed the frame story “The Library” as well as “Whispers”, while French filmmaker Christophe Gans helmed “the Drowned”, and Japanese auteur Shusuke Kaneko on “The Cold.” Apropos of seemingly nothing, horror fans are just now appreciating the anthology flick.
Horror icon Jeffrey Combs stars as H.P. Lovecraft in the overarching story made even more interesting after he later appeared in The Dunwich Horror adaptation in 2009. The film was also yet another collaboration between him and director Brian Yuzna, with them combining for Re-Animator and the incredible body horror flick Society.
Necronomicon feels like a safely-guarded secret within horror communities, and even with hardcore Lovecraft fans. Anthology horror films are such a niche area in the medium, but it feels perfect if you’d use one solely for Lovecraft stories. There’s so much about this film that feels somehow timeless. Ridiculously cheesy, but still highly effective.
Unfortunately hard to come by as well, Necronomicon is a rare film to get a 4K copy of, with most versions of it out there in other languages or ripped straight from VHS. In an age of remastering films, particularly B-horror movies, this feels like a perfect one to get a fresh look.
Different from most Lovecraft adaptations these don’t focus on the otherworldly elements of his stories as much, with it fantastical but firmly set on Earth and little-to-no mention of insane cosmic wonders. Given his most famous stories involve ancient alien beings in the deep ocean, it feels like we could see more of them adapted after Avatar 2: Way of the Water.
Special mention to the giant flesh bats. You’re seen, you’re valid, and you’re appreciated for what you are. You are worthy.
The best way to find the film through legal methods is via second-hand foreign DVDs or occasional screenings at horror festivals.