THE RESURRECTED (1991) Reviews and overview

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‘Death used to be the end. Now it is only the beginning’

The Resurrected is a 1991 American supernatural horror film directed by Dan O’Bannon (director of The Return of the Living Dead; writer of Invaders from Mars; Lifeforce; Dead & BuriedAlien) from a screenplay by Brent V. Friedman (SyngenorTicksNecronomicon). It is an adaptation of the H. P. Lovecraft novella The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and stars John Terry, Jane Sibbett, and Chris Sarandon.

Director O’Bannon and screenwriter Brent V. Friedman had apparently developed the Lovecraft property independently of each other. Friedman’s version of the script was titled Shatterbrain. While Friedman receives sole writing credit, O’Bannon incorporated some of his own ideas into the project. O’Bannon’s title for the film was The Ancestor, which was later changed by the producers.

Claire Ward employs John March, a private detective, to investigate what her husband Charles Dexter Ward is doing in a remote cabin owned by his family for centuries.

Charles is a chemical engineer, and the smells emanating his experiments (and the delivery of what appear to be human remains at all hours) are arousing the attention of neighbours and local law enforcement officials.

When John March and Claire discover the diary of the husband’s ancestor Joseph Curwen from 1771, and reports of gruesome murders in the area begin to surface, they suspect that unnatural experiments are being conducted in the old house…

Buy Blu-ray:

  • 2K transfer from the film’s vaulted interpositive film element
  • Claire’s Conundrum – an interview with actress Jane Sibbett
  • The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward – an interview with S.T. Joshi, author of I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft
  • Audio Commentary with producers Mark Borde and Kenneth Raich, screenwriter Brent V. Friedman, actor Richard Romanus and make-up effects artist Todd Masters
  • The Resurrected Man – an interview with Chris Sarandon
  • Abominations & Adaptations – an interview with screenwriter Brent Friedman
  • Grotesque Melodies – an interview with composer Richard Band
  • Lovecraftian Landscapes – an interview with production designer Brent Thomas
  • Human Experiments – an interview with special effects artist Todd Masters
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes from the workprint
  • Home Video Trailer & Japanese Trailer
  • Photo Gallery


“This one manages to do it right by sticking to the pulpy, grotesque tone of Lovecraft’s prose, and while some of the pacing and acting are highly erratic in the first third or so, the film really works its  magic once the story picks up a full head of steam. It also wisely sticks closely to the source, wisely retaining the central twist ignored completely in the earlier Vincent Price version…” Mondo Digital

“Lovecraft lunatics may be able to appreciate the studied, respectful, and somewhat deliberate way in which O’Bannon approaches the master’s material, but the simple truth is that The Resurrected looks, sounds, and feels a whole lot like a late-70s made-for-TV flick. The production was clearly a low-budget one, and most of the actors deliver their work in dry and dusty monotones.” DVD Talk

“This terrifying and spellbinding feature starts out deliberately slow, drawing the viewer deeper and deeper into the unknown. The flashback device is never obtrusive. It instead allows the viewer to pick up clues along the way. There are some truly masterful sequences in this film…” Critical Condition

The Resurrected is the best serious Lovecraftian screen adaptation to date, with a solid cast, decent script, inventive direction, and excellent special effects that do justice to one of [Lovecraft’s] darker tales.” Andrew Migliore and John Strysik, Lurker in the Lobby: A Guide to the Cinema of H. P. Lovecraft

Buy: |

” …Dan O’Bannon conjures something of the mood of Lovecraft and his sense of abominable experiments, unspeakable monstrosities and forbidden knowledge. This makes The Resurrected one of the few post-Re-Animator films that successfully captures the mood of H.P. Lovecraft.” Moria

Choice dialogue:

John March: “There are enough explosives in there to give Mount Rushmore a headache.”

Cast and characters:

  • John Terry as John March (Nine Dead; Zodiac)
  • Jane Sibbett as Claire Ward (Fear, 1990)
  • Chris Sarandon as Charles Dexter Ward/Joseph Curwen (Bordello of Blood; Child’s Play; Fright Night; The Sentinel)
  • Robert Romanus as Lonnie Peck (Pulse; Tales from the Darkside TV series)
  • Laurie Briscoe as Holly Tender
  • Ken Camroux-Taylor as Captain Ben Szandor
  • Patrick P. Pon as Raymond
  • Bernard Cuffling as Doctor Waite

Filming locations:

British Columbia, Canada


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