HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Assassin
Die, Mommie, Die!
All the Money in the World
Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, The
Black Panther
Children's Hour, The
Mayhem
Sphere
Guyver, The
Night School
Loveless
Ragtime
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
Murders in the Rue Morgue
Wound, The
Scalawag
Let's Get Harry
Girl with Green Eyes
Sunchaser, The
Tom Jones
Downsizing
Defiant Ones, The
Centerfold Girls, The
Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The
120 BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Police Academy 3: Back in Training
Safe Place, A
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Cargo
Entertainer, The
   
 
Newest Articles
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
   
 
  Cellar Dweller don't go in the basementBuy this film here.
Year: 1988
Director: John Carl Buechler
Stars: Deborah Farentino, Brian Robbins, Yvonne De Carlo, Pamela Bellwood, Miranda Wilson, Vince Edwards, Jeffrey Combs, Floyd Levine, Michael Deak
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: In 1958, comic book artist Colin Childress (a cameo from Jeffrey Combs) reads aloud from a mystic tome and inadvertently brings his drawing of a hideous beast (Michael Deak) and its screaming victim to life! Burning his artwork, Childress kills the monster, but also dies in the fire.

Thirty years later, cartoonist Whitney Taylor (Deborah Farentino) arrives at the same woodland retreat. Now a commune for artists, avant-garde painter Philip Lemley (Brian Robbins), bubbly performance artist Lisa (Miranda Wilson), private detective-turned-Raymond Chandler wannabe Norman Meshelski (Vince Edwards), and bitchy video artist Amanda (Pamela Bellwood) hone their skills under the watchful eye of tetchy Mrs. Briggs (Yvonne De Carlo - Lily Munster herself!), who doesn’t care for Whitney’s ambition to revive Childress’ horror comic “Cellar Dweller.” Setting up her studio in the cellar where the artist met his death, Whitney discovers the same magic book and, sure enough, accidentally draws the hairy, slobbering beastie into the real world.

At the dawn of the 1980s, advances in special effects led to host of scarily inventive and smartly scripted horror movies, but towards the decade’s end became too dominant even in mid-budget quickies like Cellar Dweller, which was produced by Charles Band’s Empire Films. Along with an emphasis on humour came a dishearteningly conservative streak, that here manifests via the mystic tome’s inscription: “To contemplate evil is to ask evil home.” Which suggests only sick people are preoccupied with horror. Hardly the message we want to hear from a goofy slice of schlock horror.

Scripted by Don Mancini, creator of Child’s Play (1988), under the pseudonym Kit Du Bois, the film gets off to a lively start and has a likeable heroine in Deborah Farentino (whose love of creepy comics leads her to daydream about axe-wielding zombies and a virgin sacrifice), but clearly has no idea what to do with its premise. When the first victim is someone who wronged Whitney years ago, it looks like the id-monster will be her instrument of revenge, but then friends and foes are despatched arbitrarily. Special effects artist-turned-director John Carl Buechler reveals his animatronics monster early on, ditching any pretence at suspense for haphazard gore.

The movie has a perhaps appropriately silly, comic book tone with a monster who guffaws whilst chewing entrails or ripping heads off, sub-Evil Dead roving camerawork, cartoon sound effects and a naked victim’s dismemberment shown in comic form. Aside from Whitney, characters exist solely to vamp it up and spoof avant-garde art trends (lookout for Lisa’s skit on death, which involves burst balloons and dismembered dolls), with none of the satirical bite Roger Corman brought to A Bucket of Blood (1959). The one funny twist involving Mrs. Briggs is clumsily done and doesn’t make much sense if you think about it. Although Farentino’s gutsy turn holds the interest, the ending is particularly grating given that - spoiler warning! - it basically replays the prologue and worse, is capped by the stinger “where there is imagination I will dwell.” So using your imagination spawns untold evil? Give me a freaking break.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2362 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
   

 

Last Updated: