The Movie Waffler Blu-ray Review - LURKING FEAR (1994) | The Movie Waffler

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Blu-ray Review - LURKING FEAR (1994)

A disparate group of characters defend themselves from subterranean creatures.





Review by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)

Directed by: C. Courtney Joyner

Starring: Jon Finch, Blake Adams, Ashley Laurence, Jeffrey Combs, Allison Mackie, Vincent Schiavelli, Paul Mantee



There's an impressive cast here, with Combs at his hammy best as the sozzled quack, Finch genuinely menacing as a Cockney gangster and Laurence convincing as a Lara Croft type Amazon. Unfortunately the script doesn't give them anything more than generic dialogue, and that adjective sums up the film as a whole.



Long before the days of cheap 'n nasty shot-on-digital fare like the Evil Bong series became the stock in trade of Charles Band's Full Moon Pictures, the company was known for above average B-movie fare, including several loose adaptations of the works of writer HP Lovecraft. 1994's Lurking Fear, available for the first time on Blu-ray now, is one such example, based on Lovecraft's 1922 story The Lurking Fear, but owing as much to siege horrors like Night of the Living Dead and Night of the Demons as to 20th century American gothic literature.


Released from prison, John Martense (Blake Adams; a classic '90s idea of a hunk, all white vest and plaid shirt) returns to his home town of Lefferts Corner, intent on retrieving money from a graveyard, buried there by his criminal father following a heist. When he arrives at the site, he discovers a group of people hiding out in the adjoining church - among them the local priest (Paul Mantee), a pregnant girl, an alcoholic doctor (it wouldn't be a '90s Full Moon production without the great Jeffrey Combs), and a woman out to avenge the death of her sister (Hellraiser's Ashley Laurence). Quickly arriving on John's tail is a trio of criminals (led by Frenzy's Jon Finch), seemingly modelled on General Zod and pals from Superman II. As if that wasn't trouble enough, the bowels of the graveyard are home to a family of humanoid creatures, intent on dragging every member of this group down to their subterranean hell.


Around this time, Full Moon were shooting most of their productions in Romania, and while the motivation was chiefly financial, it also gave the company access to stunning Eastern European locations, ideal for gothic horror, and vastly talented European crew members. As such, the FM productions of this era are quite visually spectacular, especially when compared to the standards of this sort of low budget genre filmmaking. Regular FM cinematographer Adolfi Bartoli does some great work here, adding a real sense of depth to lovingly designed rustic interiors and creating some impressive outdoor tableaux; he really should have gone on to larger budget productions.

There's an equally impressive cast here, with Combs at his hammy best as the sozzled quack, Finch genuinely menacing as a Cockney gangster and Laurence convincing as a Lara Croft type Amazon. Unfortunately the script doesn't give them anything more than generic dialogue, and that adjective sums up the film as a whole.


While the creatures have an interesting design, though wisely kept hidden for most of the running time, they're not utilised in any particularly interesting manner. They pick off the characters one by one, but the kills lack invention, save for a pre-credits prologue in which a girl is snapped in half and dragged through a hole in a wall.

Full Moon completists will no doubt wish to get their hands on this impressive hi-def transfer, but anyone looking for a genuinely thrilling slice of '90s siege horror should look instead to the under-rated Tales from the Crypt 1995 big screen venture Demon Knight.

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