This article was originally published on Ferretbrain. I’ve backdated it to its original Ferretbrain publication date but it may have been edited and amended since its original appearance.
For a space in the 1980s and 1990s, most cinematic adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft’s work were produced (and occasionally directed) by Brian Yuzna, or were highly stylistically influenced by Yuzna’s Lovecraft adaptaitons. In the long run this has become a somewhat contentious topic; for starters, the films in question were utterly unafraid to take radical liberties with the original source material, which is the sort of thing which is bound to annoy purist fans.
But even if you don’t feel particularly precious about your Lovecraftian canon, the Yuzna Lovecraft adaptations have a very particular attitude and aesthetic which can be off-putting – as well as going all out on the monster makeup effects, Yuzna had no qualms about taking the low road and getting exploitative. The end result are films which were often fun, but also often strikingly flawed; the first two such productions showcase this strikingly.