The Lurking Fear (1994, directed by C. Courtney Joyner)


For years, the town of Leffert’s Corners has lived in fear of the criminal Martense family.  The family’s youngest son, John (Blake Bailey), has just been released from prison and now he’s returning home.  He knows that, before he died, his father arranged for a thousand dollars to be buried in the cemetery.  After the town mortician (Vincent Schiavelli, in a too brief cameo) tells him where it is, John heads to the cemetery.  Unfortunately, he’s followed by crime boss Bennett (Jon Finch) and his thugs.

Cathryn (Ashley Laurence) and Dr. Haggis (Jeffrey Combs) are already at the cemetery, though not for the money.  It turns out that subterranean monsters (all of whom are descended from one John’s relatives) are living underneath the cemetery grounds and terrorizing the town.  Cathryn and Haggis are planning on blowing up the graveyard but that plan is put on hold when John and Bennett arrive.  Underground monsters or not, Bennett is planning on getting that money and if that means holding everyone hostage in a church while the monsters prepare to attack, that is exactly what he is going to do.

As is evident by the welcome presence of Jeffrey Combs, The Lurking Fear is another Full Moon production that was loosely adapted from a H.P. Lovecraft short story.  The premise has promise and the cast is full of talent but the film’s direction is flat, the script is shallow, and the monsters themselves look good but there’s nothing that set them apart from a dozen other monsters that have appeared in Full Moon productions.  (The monsters resemble the dungeon dweller from Castle Freak but they are never as scary.)  It’s too bad because The Lurking Fear is one of Lovecraft’s best short stories and it seems like one that would make a great movie.  But, as a movie, The Lurking Fear, like so many other Full Moon productions, doesn’t seem to know what to do with itself whenever the monsters aren’t around.  Hopefully, someday, Lovecraft’s The Lurking Fear will get the film adaptation that it deserves.

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