The Unnamable

It's that time again. It's time to pull the tab off of a can of Tab and appraise a Lovecraft adaptation. Much like The Resurrected, The Unnamable didn't enliven the horror community when it made the transition from page to screen. Unlike The Resurrected, this caliginous tale of the occult didn't demand the attention of video store regulars. To be blunt, it's mediocre. Someone must have enjoyed it, though. A sequel was meted out five years later, and oddly enough, The Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter is vastly superior to its progenitor. I'm getting ahead of myself; I'll review the second installment tomorrow. In the interim, you'll have to settle for my waffling, indecisive rout of Jean-Paul Ouellette's The Unnamable.

Ouellette was an industry virgin. This was his maiden voyage as both a director and a screenwriter. It shows. I don't know what possessed him to redress the source material as a barebones monster movie, but whatever the impetus, it also compelled him to get behind the steering wheel for the sequel. A queer objective, that. Was he mentored by Harry Bromley Davenport, the monomaniacal chap responsible for the Xtro trilogy? God, that was a random reference. Anyway, the script follows Randolph Carter, a cavalier student consumed by a local legend. The legend? In the 18th century, a man by the name of Joshua Winthrop inadvertently handed his daughter's soul over to a demon on a silver platter. The poor girl mutated into a winged beast. Shamed, he locked his impious offspring in the attic.

Eventually, the implacable creature lashed out at her father, tearing his heart from his chest. Cut to the present...Randolph explores the supposedly haunted house with his disinclined friend. It seems that one of their mutual buddies evanesced (it was a word before it was a band, you know) into thin air after exploring the ramshackle residency himself. The plot is less involved than I'm leading on, I assure you. A sizeable chunk of the backstory is left sagging like the stretch marks on a swollen, slovenly sow in the stirrups of menopause. I apologize for that visual. If it wasn't for The Unnamable II, many of the muddy details would have remained a mystery. Ouellette's cohorts should have reminded him that God is in the details. Or is it Satan? Er, some sort of fictitious deity is in the details.

The biggest hindrance crimping this flick's style is a pace slower than Dracula's pulse. The bulk of the exposition is wasted on unremitting scenes of hackneyed characters walking down dim hallways. Yawn. I nearly nodded off on two occasions. But all is not lost! The cast is spirited (the leads are patently green, but they get an "A" for effort), the creature design is unique (a demon goat bitch...interesting) and the finale is relatively suspenseful. I certainly don't hate The Unnamable, but it doesn't deliver on its deviceful premise. As far as Lovecraft adaptations are concerned, it occupies the same so-so tier as Bleeders and Lurking Fear. I believe the adjective that is loitering on the tip of my tongue is "middling."


  1. Is there a scene where a girl is hiding under a table and the monster finds her? I remember seeing a movie where the creature kind of looked like the one on the cover and it freaked the hell out of me (I was very young).

  2. Hmm, I don't think so. Maybe in the sequel?

  3. I haven't a clue, haha. My mom told me she used to catch me watching horror movies late at night on cable when I was little and got rid of our cable because of it. I have so many random memories of scary movies/mixed in with nightmares that I can't remember which ones are real. But I do recall seeing a movie at my aunt's where there was a creature that kinda looked like this one. I looked up the trailer and The Unnamable doesn't look familiar to me at all.

  4. Y'know, you could be thinking of Pumpkinhead. Have you seen it?

  5. Yep. All I remember about this particular scene is a woman hiding under a table or something, and then you see what appears to be the hoof of the monster standing beside the table, and then it finds her. I've tried googling it and everything, haha.