The Dunwich Horror (1970)


Directed by: Daniel Haller

Written by: Curtis Hanson, Henry Rosenbaum & Ronald Silkosky
H.P. Lovecraft (Short Story)


.... Nancy Wagner
.... Wilbur Whateley
.... Dr. Henry Armitage
.... Dr. Cory
Sam Jaffe .... Old Whateley
.... Lavinia Whateley

Release Dates: Theatrical: January 14, 1970; Night Visions Film Festival: April 11, 2004 (Finland)



Wilbur Whateley (Dean Stockwell) pops over to the Arkham Miskatonic University to borrow the legendary Necronomicon and Nancy Wagner (Sandra Dee). But little does anyone know, Whateley isn't quite human...
He drugs Nancy to use for his spells to revive a demonic force plus there's a certain door in his room that no one's allowed to open.
Also she spots crazy Old Whateley (Sam Jaffe) who doesn't want anyone around his property and is paranoid over everything as a relative Lavinia Whateley (Joanne Moore Jordan) tries to find out information on Wilbur and tries to go to the aid of Dr. Henry Armitage (Ed Begley), Dr. Cory (Lloyd Bochner) and Elizabeth Hamilton (Donna Baccala) for hidden information but realises that she's in for something much more dangerous as well as the locals there.


There's a very strange brief beginning with a woman going into labour as it sounds like her groans were overly dubbed as this piece looked rather lacking and then an animated opening sequence which later on is the shape of a demon. Artsy and impressive I must say.
We do have many nice strongly lit discussions between Nancy Wagner and Wilbur Whateley as it was perfect focused on what they were saying to one another and almost makes you go into a trance as well as when she is getting drugged too which also gives a good mysterious vibe of fantasy and weirdness too.
Nice shot on her going near a door and then a creepy approach by Old Whateley and acting paranoid as this was supposed to make you jump but misses by a longshot. Yet this moment still looked effective regardless.
Also we spot effective shots and moment on a door with something pushing it as well as Wilbur warning on the object notto be opened as this works perfectly well into the storyline. Definetely has a perfect creepy and mysterious feel to everything.
Some perfect dream sequences involving Nancy where she's in with a bunch of chanting type of lusting women in make up doing crazy things which had an artsy feel to everything and nicely haunting like as well as bizarre plus great halluicnation sequences with interesting effects on objects near a cliff and an oceanside.
Also a good moment with Wilbur carrying Nancy up near a cliff to do one of his spells as the surroundings looked perfect as well as to what was going on which looked terrific.
Perfect brief setting when we spot an institution and a patient being out of it and crazy which was a perfect add on to the story and to what is happening to everything around the moment.
Plus good sharp discussions with Lavinia Whateley towards Elizabeth Hamilton on her family members and what's happening as this adds a nice tense feel to everything. Also we spot serious discussions on the topic between Dr. Henry Armitage and Dr. Cory as the timing took great on this as well.
Perfect moment on Lavinia entering the home as well as Old Whateley trying to chase her out and she struggles against him as this was well set along with a perfect moment on her entering the door no one was supposed to open along with interesting moments on what we spot later on as it looks mysterious and not a good idea as to what was behind that door.
Nice dysfuntional moments during a funeral ceremony involving Wilbur and some people not making things easy for him near the coffin that he is standing at. This makes you wonder as to why these people are acting cold towards him as well as bullying too.
Perfect dazzling moments with Wilbur springing into action and struggling against a police officer while trying to do a deed in an area as there's nice moments on the suspense that's surrounding everything. Also great moments with the camera rolling in with the mysterious figure ready to take on a victim in which there's a perfect feel on something monstrous that's happening when we spot it on the loose in a country area.
Things look great and colourful when Wilbur uses his spells with his final ceremony involving Nancy as we spot smoke and other surroundings such as this which can entertain horror fans a great deal on this type of genre too involving the supernatural evil events.
Bottom line is that the film doesn't seem to make sense at first as well as things being rushed along with the story being slow at the same time but the effective moments as well as the mystery behind the strqange events make up for it. It was a very unique story I must say and the home of Wilbur certainly looked dark and spooky in a haunted house type of fashion. I'd call this flick a cult classic for sure.

The acting is at an even pace in which lead actress (Nancy Wagner) seemed to pull her role off quite nicely as one of those helpful and nice types and having a charming girl next door type of appeal. She has a good mellow and sweet type of speaking as it draws you in while she does all of this. Plus does an okay job while acting tired or drugged as well as going into a trance which she brings a nice focus to all of this. Also does a nice job with her freaked out attitude too showing some nice energy within all of this.
(Wilbur Whateley) seemed a bit stiff in his role as he was a bit of a line reader but however seemed to grab your attention a great deal acting disturbed on things as well as going into a trance. Plus seemed to know his craft while doing a spell of some sort. Also got into it greatly when he does his final magical spell which looked quite powerful and dran in when he acts a bit possessed doing all of this but in a good serious manner.
(Dr. Henry Armitage) drew in a perfect seriousness and a great sharp attitude as one of those intelligent types and was clear with his speaking as well as his personality and motive. Shows a great no nonsense type of personality as well as getting fairly stern in a certain situation as this looked quite strong to watch as well. Had the right looks for his role too.
Sam Jaffe (Old Whateley) had the most effective role that stood out the most compared to anyone else as he was perfect with his paranoid like features and expressions. Plus brought his energy to a total hype when he freaks out or acting creepy on stuff. Certainly knew on what to do to portray a mysterious horror type of character in the film.
(Lavinia Whateley) was another fine sharp character actress showing a nice timid type of appeal during the suspense surrounding her as well as showing a good seriouenss while getting into a conversation when trying to find out information on someone as this looked good and strong. Plus tries to show a good calm attitude when trying to force her way through someone else as her performance looked just as powerful like in the rest of her performance.

Various women are topless with paint around them during a dream sequence.

The music really sounds catchy and very well composed as we hear many flute composing especially for when the movie starts and in other aspects too sounds very soothing as well as hearing the theme song played in many spots with different types of music playing too. At times though it's a little much. There's is some nice quiverring keyboard music giving the picture a haunting feel which was impressively done too. Plus we have some strong tormbone playing and drum boomings adding a perfect classical unique feel to the suspense unravelling. Also there's nice heavy heartbeats and windy sounds as well. All of this was marvellously put together by Les Baxter.