I wrote about the late, whatzit auteur Dan O’Bannon in 2011 for a Brooklyn Academy of Music series in his honor (and in association with a book, Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror, by New York Times writer Jason Zinoman). Preparation for the piece was pure pleasure, since my obligations included watching O’Bannon’s full directorial filmography, which consists of two films: his seminal 1985 comedy-horror masterpiece, The Return of the Living Dead, and his 1992 follow-up, the botched H.P. Lovecraft adaptation, The Resurrected.
As the story goes, O’Bannon and the post-production/editing of The Resurrected were put asunder by meddling front office types, and, since the maestro left us in 2009, there’s no director’s cut in the offing, except perhaps in an alternate dimension. The resulting picture, a noirish take on Lovecraft’s 1927 story, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, has plenty of visual panache, and a dry-martini-Poltergeist atmosphere, but it is, at long last, bereft of that certain something.
On the other tentacle, it’s well worth your while for said visuals and atmosphere, some terrific chewing of scenery by Chris Sarandon, and at least one truly outstanding sequence, worthy of both Lewton and the yuckies of a real O’Bannonese nightmare. Let’s just say it takes place in the dark.
The Resurrected was just added to Netflix Instant. It streams in HD. Check it out.