When I think of Charles Band’s Full Moon Features production company, my brain automatically goes to their direct-to-video cult gems Puppet Master and Subspecies. While those may be beloved films in the horror community, we all know the myriad of other films that have come out under the Full Moon name and we know just as well the “quality” of said films; they’re mostly low-budget, but fun! As would be expected from a company that churns them out as much as Full Moon did, you can expect some duds. Well, up until a few weeks ago I had never heard of one of their releases which was loosely (and I mean LOOSELY) based on an H.P. Lovecraft short story, Lurking Fear, and unfortunately, it fell right into the “dud” category for me.
Originally released in 1994, Lurking Fear follows ex-con John Martense (Blake Bailey) as he heads back to his childhood home of Lefferts Corner to retrieve a sum of money his deceased father (also a con) left from his last heist. Also after the money is a trio of bad guys who John’s father stole the money from. Eventually they all end up in an abandoned church where a young woman, Cathryn (Ashley Laurence), whose sister was murdered and the town doctor, Dr. Haggis (Jeffrey Combs), are hiding out and have the place rigged to blow to get rid of whatever is lurking beneath the grounds and killing all the townsfolk.
I love a good, low-budget cheesefest just as much as the next person, but C. Courtney Joyner’s Lurking Fear was lacking in many departments, with the acting being the number one complaint. It wasn’t for lack of trying on the casts part, it’s because they just weren’t good. With the exception of Combs, who was really the only saving grace of the film, it was hard to find much of a redeeming quality about this one. The dialogue was cringe-worthy more often than not and the story as a whole felt too messy for my liking.
Part heist film, part horror, the movie traveled well over the “so bad, it’s good” line straight into “so bad” territory. Which is a shame because I actually enjoyed the creature design and the practical effects (as cheap as they looked), but it seemed the story was much more focused on the crime aspect of the story than giving us something spooky.Oh, and the action scenes..ouch.
There was word that Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator, From Beyond) was originally slated to be the director, which makes me wonder if maybe the movie could have turned out for the better. At the end of the day, Lurking Fear took itself far too seriously than it should have for the quality of film that was produced for us.
LURKING FEAR restored version is directed by C. Courtney Joyner and stars Blake Bailey, Ashley Laurence and Jeffrey Combs.