Dr. Henry Armitage (Ed Begley) is giving a speech at a university about local history. As part of his lecture, he uses an ancient book called the Necronomicon. After the lecture he gives the book to Nancy Wagner (Sandra Dee) and Elizabeth Hamilton (Donna Baccala) to return to the library. As they are returning the book to its glass case they are approached by Wilbur Whateley (Dean Stockwell). Wilbur asks to look at the book. Wilbur locks his gaze on Nancy. Nancy becomes hypnotized by Wilbur and allows him to view the book. Dr. Armitage enters the library and sees Wilbur reading the Necronomicon. When he finds out that Wilbur is a Whateley, he becomes interested in him. Armitage is interested in the Whateley family and has done a lot of research on them, especially Wilbur’s great-grandfather, Oliver. Wilbur joins them for dinner.
When Wilbur goes to leave, he conveniently realizes that the bus he planned on taking has already left. Nancy offers to give him a ride to his hometown, Dunwich. At the Whateley estate Nancy meets Wilbur’s grandfather, Old Whateley (Sam Jaffe). Wilbur offers to make tea. While the water is on the stove, Wilbur goes out and disables Nancy’s car and drugs her. Between the drugs and Wilbur’s hypnotic suggestions Nancy becomes mesmerized and agrees to stay for the weekend. Armitage and Elizabeth go to Dunwich to make sure Nancy is OK. Armitage and Elizabeth have no choice but to leave her there.
In researching Wilbur, Armitage finds out that Lavinia (Joanne Moore Jordan) was his mother, but his father’s name was unknown. Lavinia gave birth to twins but only Wilbur is said to have survived. Lavinia went insane after the birth. What Armitage doesn’t know is that Wilbur’s father was an entity from an ancient race called the Old Ones that came from another dimension and that his twin is a monstrous creature kept locked up in the Whateley attic. Elizabeth returns to the estate to try to get Nancy to leave but ends up releasing the twin from its locked room. The monster twin rapes and kills Elizabeth.
In the meantime, Wilbur has stolen the Necronomicon, and with his twin brother, plans to use Nancy as a sacrifice to open up the door to the other dimension and let the Old Ones return to rule over the Earth.
“The Dunwich Horror” was released in 1970 and was directed by Daniel Haller. It is an American supernatural horror movie. The film, loosely based on the H.P. Lovecraft story, was produced by Roger Corman.
The “monster” in the movie is a many tentacled thing, and Wilbur’s twin. It seems that Wilbur takes after his mother, but his twin takes after his father. Having seen a couple movies based on Lovecraft’s stories it seems that the author was quite fond of tentacled creatures. Phallic symbols are often present in his creations.
The film is decent and the acting, for the most part, is fine. I just wasn’t that impressed with movie in general. The special effects include psychedelic images and colors which would be appropriate for an early 70’s movie, but I was expecting something more. What you saw the most was the monster’ POV. The reveal of the monster itself was only for a few split seconds. Altogether it wasn’t exactly extraordinary or scary and resembled an animated drawing.