In a vain attempt at symmetry, I originally meant to review Claudio Fargasso's 1984 flick Monster Dog, but I had to do some last-minute improvisation when I found my VHS copy had snapped. I went back to my shelf and then found J.P. Simón's 1992 effort Cthulhu Mansion. With The Void releasing in select theatres today, I guess it's a vague connection.
A gang of thugs running from the cops take refuge in a mansion occupied by an old magician (Frank Findlay) and are set upon by malevolent forces.
Yeah, this is not Simón's best work. I mean, I'm not shocked that it was terrible, but I wasn't expecting it to be so dull and lifeless. It was so unsatisfying, where was the maestro who made Pieces and Slugs? Those movies rose above their B-movie underpinnings with unbridled personality and this one just flapped around like a dying cuttlefish.
Where do I start? Well, the patchwork story did not help and neither did the characters who were likely the least likable group of punks I've ever seen -- they made the crew in Demons look like well adjusted folk. It was like they all had a secret competition going to see who could overact the most. There was a character who literally just waited outside in the car for almost the entire movie. Least offensive was Eva, played by Melanie Shatner (yes, daughter of Bill) and she just got absorbed(!) by vines when the Simón couldn't think of anything else for her to do.
|Melanie Shatner aka Nineties Cobie Smulders in Cthulhu Mansion|
Worst of all, Cthulhu Mansion didn't even deliver on its promise of Lovecraftian lore. It could've sucked at everything else and at least brought the creatures, but all that was offered up here was a pair of claws hiding behind a fridge and some pustuled face make-up. Sure, they teased me with something that was trying to bust out of the door in the basement, but even that led to absolutely nothing. It never followed through on anything!
|This is as good as it gets, folks.|
Cthulhu Mansion was a big ol' bust, and doesn't even reach good-bad territory. We all know that Lovecraft adaptations don't have the best track record, but most of them at least try and fail. I'd rather that, than whatever this was supposed to be.