Lurking Fear (1994)
By: J.R. McNamara on October 29, 2010  |  Comments ()  |  Bookmark and Share
Big Sky Video | All Regions, PAL | 4:3 | English DD 2.0 | 77 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: C. Courtney Joyner
Starring: Blake Bailey, Ashley Laurence, Jeffrey Combs, Allison Mackie, Jon Finch
Screenplay: C. Courtney Joyner
Country: USA
External Links
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Ever since I first saw Re-Animator in the mid-eighties and discovered it had been adapted from a series of his short stories, I have been a fan of H.P. Lovecraft. Re-Animator was probably the first VHS I ever bought, and it was among the last I ever let go when I got it on DVD. My love of Lovecraft has remained strong, and I have spent countless hours and dollars on Cthulhu and Unnameable model kits, comics, DVDs, various editions of books and so on, and so on.

It is this affection for the works of Lovecraft that led me here, dear reader, to review the DVD release of Lurking Fear.

Lurking Fear tells of newly released gaolbird John Martense (Blake Bailey) who visits undertaker Skaggs (Vincent Schiavelli) to retrieve part of a map telling of where a fortune in stolen money is hidden: inside the body of a corpse buried in the graveyard of his hometown, Leffert's Corner.

Martense heads to Leffert's Corner to retrieve the money, but is unaware of two things: he is being pursued by three criminals (Played by Jon Finch, Allison Mackie and Joseph Leavengood) who claim the hidden fortune is theirs, and the graveyard and its church are under siege by something that lives beneath it, while a small group of locals (amongst them Ashley Lawrence, Jeffrey Combs and Paul Mantee) are ready to blow up the entire grounds to destroy whatever it is.

I admit I was quite interested to see this film. As I stated before, my enjoyment of Lovecraft made it immediately attractive, but the addition of Jeffrey Combs, a stalwart of Stuart Gordon's Lovecraftian flicks, and Ashley Lawrence from Hellraiser made it even more so. As a matter of fact, Lawrence has probably never looked so good! On the other hand though, Combs feels like he may have just been there for the pay cheque.

Tragically Combs' lack of interest isn't the only problem. The script plods and meanders and is barely enjoyable, and while the direction is sufficient, the poor quality of the disc presentation makes for a wholly unpleasant viewing experience.

The only real salvation for this film, other than Lawrence's sexiness, comes from Alchemy FX and their excellent creature make-up: a high level of creepiness drips from this particular beastie, and Michael Todd's performance in the suit adds to its eerie effect.
Lurking Fear has been given a crappy 4:3 transfer. The colors are mostly dull and the whole film looked somewhat foggy and washed out.
This film is presented in Dolby 2.0, and it is a fairly average example as well. One amusing thing about the audio on this is the amount of cartoon audio effects used: completely inappropriate!
Extra Features
The only extras this disc has are a trailer (the German one for some reason) and a brief 'making of'.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Lurking Fear is one of those films that reeks of unfulfilled potential. Originally set to be directed by Re-animator and From Beyond's Stuart Gordon before the collapse of Charles Band's Empire Pictures, it instead became a fairly low-rent version of what could have been the final part of a grand Lovecraft/Gordon trilogy, and while watching it all I could imagine was how good it would have been if Stuart Gordon had gotten his bloody mitts on it. Simply, it is quite terrible, with a few cast choice high points. The appaling disc doesn't provide any salvation either.

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