Director: Dan O’Bannon
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105242/
Note: Also known as “Shatterbrain”
Known as both “The Resurrected” and “Shatterbrain”, the true title of this movie should have been “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” as that is the H.P. Lovecraft story it is taken from. The movie stars John Terry, Jane Sibbett and Chris Sarandon (yes, Prince Humperdink himself) in a modern retelling of Lovecraft’s tale of a man who becomes obsessed with resurrecting his ancient ancestor.
The movie is not particularly faithful to the original story, but the spirit of the original is not lost. The introduction of a wife for Dr. Ward and the private investigator she hires to determine what he’s up to actually helps the story fit better into a modern setting. The Curwen house and the dark catacombs beneath it are perfectly rendered here, with the abominations that Ward created through his experiments being extremely gruesome and frightening.
To summarize the story, Mrs. Ward (Sibbett) hires detective John Marsh (Terry) to investigate her husband, Dr. Charles Ward (Sarandon) after he moves his laboratory to an old country house with the help of the mysterious Dr. Ash. Marsh soon discovers that strange things have been happening around Ward’s new lair, and several murders point to Ward. Eventually, the detective discovers that Ward has managed to resurrect his ancient ancestor, Joseph Curwen, using a magic alchemical formula, but Curwen, who is physically identical to Ward, kills his descendant and takes his place.
Marsh learns about Curwen’s past and the evil things that escaped his catacombs. He, Mrs. Ward and his assistant find the tunnels and proceed to set explosives to destroy the place. They are attacked by the ghoulish experiments still kept in the dark dungeon, but Marsh and Mrs. Ward manage to escape just as the secret laboratory and the house above explode. Marsh later brings Ward’s bones to the sanitarium where Curwen had been confined and the skeleton reforms and begins to suck the flesh from Curwen until both are destroyed in a pillar of flame. The movie ends where it began, with Marsh leaving the fate of Curwen/Ward to the imagination of Mrs. Ward.
This is one of the better Lovecraft adaptations, and though the story does not follow his to the letter, it does, as I mentioned above, capture the spirit. The movie is half horror film, half mystery, and the twist of Curwen replacing Ward is nicely handled by Saradon.
The movie is definitely worth a watching, especially right after reading the original story.