In 1988, Empire Pictures sought to create an anthology of films that would act as sequels to their big hits. There was a planned “Trancers 1.5,” a sequel to “The Dungeonmaster,” and the HP Lovecraft short film “The Evil Clergyman.” Re-uniting the legendary Jeffery Combs, and the gorgeous Barbara Crampton, the film was never released, and for many years it was thought to have been lost. After being discovered on a low quality VHS, the print of “The Evil Clergyman” was restored as best as possible by Full Moon and given a new opening title and brand new music to accompany a fairly twisted story.
“The Evil Clergyman” is on par with anything HP Lovecraft has ever done, and Combs and Crampton are up to the task to take on the twisted material of the famous author. Soon to become available to Full Moon fans, “The Evil Clergyman” has all the trademarks of the Lovecraft lore including twisted corridors, the evil undead, and body parts that can take on lives of their own. When a woman goes to visit a castle in the countryside, she’s greeted by the spirit of her dead lover who has the ability to still entice her with his sexual prowess. Giving in to his temptation, she’s warned by the spirit of her lover’s past victim (played by the late great David Gale) that she will be bound to the house if she doesn’t leave. Unfortunately for her it may be too late. “The Evil Clergyman” has a wonderful amount of dread and Gothic atmosphere that painted the film cells of “Re-Animator” and will surely please fans of the film.
The gorgeous Crampton and incomparable Combs are fantastic together, and their sexual chemistry really adds an allure of the taboo romance that often peppers many Lovecraftian tales. Director Band provides a very hyper sexual twist on the tale with an added urgency to the short segment. While ultimately very bleak, it’s perfectly suited for Lovecraft fanatics who will revel in a reunion with Crampton and Combs. The rare eighties horror segment is restored as best as possible and thankfully holds up as a short but sweet Lovecraft tale for the author’s fans while also giving an unofficial reunion of the stars of “Re-Animator.” It’s a very eerie and morbid tale and one that should be seen.