Lurking Fear (1994) – By Kirsten Laha-Walsh

 

“The town of Leffert’s Corners has been plagued by unearthly beings for decades, and now there is only a few people left, including the local priest and a woman traumatized by the death of her sister. But when John Martense turns up to claim his illicit family fortune, with bad guys in pursuit, the last stand had become a lot more complicated.”

Oh Full Moon. You fill my horror nightmares with….good movie trailers, but that’s about it. The 1994 not-so-much-a-classic “Lurking Fear” has resurfaced and has been re-released on Blu-Ray. This is one of those fun movies to enjoy with the sound off in the background of an awesome Halloween party, but that is about it. However, it is fun to throw back to the early 1990s, when special effects lived in the practical world. Movies like “Castle Freak” and many of the other films that Jeffrey Combs (“House on Haunted Hill”, “Re-Animator”) starred in were showcase pieces for many of the special effects creators. “Lurking Fear”, while having a great setup, was lackluster past the trailer.

The film spends more time and more effort (musically speaking) on the credit sequence- seriously, just white text over black- than on the acting in the film. While I will say that I enjoyed the acting in “Lurking Fear” more than I did the acting in most modern day independent films, it was laughably bad. There are some familiar faces in the film aside from Combs, including Vincent Shiavelli (“Batman Returns”, “Amadeus”), but most of the actors that are featured are Full Moon specific. The storyline is bland and not really the main point of the film, in my opinion. Fifteen minutes into the film, and the scene has shifted at least four times, each time introducing at least one new character. With Jeffrey Combs leading the way as a grumpy doctor with a penchant for the booze, he steals the film away from the supposed and assumed lead- John Martense (played by full moon featured player Blake Adams).

The creatures are shown sporadically through the movie. The film doesn’t really kick off until almost half an hour into the storyline, with Combs charging into a cemetery to blow up some creatures with the female lead- and maybe love interest (?)- Cathryn (Ashley Laurence). But then it drags again, taking advantage of the false hope. The film carries on with the meager storyline until all of the characters are in the same room with the creatures, who of course want to feed on them. The film gives the hero- John- a reason to rip his shirt off and all of the women rejoice- not really. The film surprisingly lacks good gore effects, and rather just winds down rather than ends with a bang. The situations that the characters encounter seem absolutely unreasonable, and the film is just absolutely absurd at the end.

It is a fun ride, but it just lacks everything that horror films from the 90’s had going for them. Among the weird things about the film- it was cited to be based on a H.P. Lovecraft short story by the same title. Upon further research, the storyline of the actual story is only similar in title. The characters are different, the creatures are different, and even the town name are different! If you want to watch a film based around Lovecraft’s “Lurking Fear”, check out the 1997 Rutger Hauer film “Bleeders”, which received primarily negative reviews as well. Perhaps this Lovecraft story is just one that should stay in the books.

Would I watch this film again? Only with the sound off, and if I could cut the middle section out of it!