Monday, October 31, 2016
The Evil Clergyman (1987)/(2012)
Years later, a VHS print of the final cut was found and Band utilized his company Full Moon Pictures to partially resurrect the film in 2012, beginning with a restoration of the Lovecraft segment. Barbara Crampton plays a young woman who ventures to an old castle where she and her lover, a priest played by Jeffrey Combs stayed for a period before he hung himself. After a confrontation with the rude landlady, she locks herself in the room and is confronted by not only the ghost of her lover, but also that of a bishop he murdered (David Warner) and a horrific rat creature with a human face, played by David Gale who Combs created and uses as a familiar. There is a nice twist at the end that I will not reveal, it's good though.
The story plays out rather lyrically in a dreamlike fashion (the story itself is expanded slightly from a brief letter Lovecraft wrote to a friend about a dream he had) has the not entirely good effect of making the 28 minute segment feel longer than it really is. Performances are good, though with Crampton doing some nice work and Warner doing what English actors do best in horror films: deliver exposition in a way that sells it regardless of the quality of the writing (though Dennis Paoli's script is good). David Gale is also typically the show stealer (it helps that John Buechler made a wonderfully hideous design for the rat creature) and Jeffrey Combs is his usual quality self, even with the rather odd choice of making him a virtual sex god. Don't get me wrong, it's not like he's Elephant Man ugly, but he's also not exactly Brad Pitt. It's rather funny to me that between Combs and Crampton, it's Combs who gets the topless scene in the film.
That aside, the segment is pretty solid though the pacing is a bit off. I guess that's what happens when Charles Band is directing these guys instead of Stuart Gordon.