Wilbur Whateley, an odd, creepy young man, shows up at Arkham Miskatonic University to borrow the legendary Necronomicon from Dr. Armitage. Wilbur believes the book provides the key to open a doorway to another dimension but Dr. Armitage refuses his request. This leads Wilbur to hypnotize Nancy, one of Dr. Armitage's assistants, and bring her back to his home to begin the preparations. Wilbur intends on sacrificing Nancy to these unspeakable creatures from the other realm known as "the old ones', with Dr. Armitage being the only man standing between Wilbur and unspeakable evil. Daniel Haller's The Dunwich Horror is a film that's very much a bi-product of the time it was created. The Dunwich Horror plays like a very loose commentary on the battle between the establishment and counter-culture but what I found way more interesting is the creative style the film exudes. I have no idea whether The Dunwich Horror was considered a low-budget effort but it certainly feels that way. While that certainly isn't praise, the The Dunwich Horror consists of quite a few inventive tactics to relay the horror and dread. The film is loaded with style, from a rich, albeit slighly overbearing score, to some stylish camera work, the film creates an eery, effective atmosphere. This certainly fits in with the overly stylish horror films of the late 60s/early 70s which relied on lots of editing and visual trickery to relay horror. Of everything The Dunwich Horror has to offer, I would actually argue that the cinematography is the films best attribute, with an abundance of voyeuristic angles and camera movements to really set the tone and elicit emotion, giving the film almost an hypnotic effect. Dean Stockwell is absolutely fantastic, giving one of the best creepy guy performances I've seen in awhile. His portrayal of Wilbur is restrained yet terrifying and a lot of the horror works because of his brooding performance. Make no mistake, The Dunwich Horror is a cheesy horror film by today's standards but it's without question worth watching, especially for filmmakers looking for creative ideas when it comes to extreme low-budget features.
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