Courtney Joyner’s “Lurking Fear” is classic Full Moon Entertainment from the nineties. It has a modicum of a budget, some great production value and a solid horror story. Thought it’s a loose adaptation of the HP Lovecraft tale, it does take the elements and combine them to form a classic folklore horror tale about greed and criminals getting their comeuppance. John Martenses is an ex convict who has just been released from prison and is seeking a new start. As well as the fortune apparently left behind by his family.
After meeting with an old friend who has the map to the fortune, a local criminal and his two cronies seek out the map and do everything in their power to get to the fortune before John. Assembling at a haunted church, a group accidentally assembles for various motives. John is taken hostage and forced to help find the fortune, he’s joined by a young woman anxious for revenge against the nocturnal monsters underneath the church after they killed her sister. There’s also her friend, a local town doctor who wants to study the monsters, and a pregnant young girl who has an odd instinct to when the monsters are near.
Finally, there’s a drunken priest convinced they’ve all met their doom. The personalities all mix and eventually begin wreaking havoc on one another, all the while the ghoulish beasts are hiding underneath the church waiting to pick off the victims one by one. The monsters themselves are very well designed, garnering bulging blank eyes, and large gaping teeth that make them look very similar to cenobites. What they are is left up for debate and kept in a healthy shade of ambiguity I appreciated.
I like to think they’re the product of centuries of inbreeding, thus allowing our hero John to live with the notion of being a product of incest, and potentially breeding his own monsters. That said “Lurking Fear” has a great cast of horror regulars including Jeffrey Combs and Ashley Laurence, as well as some top notch direction by Joyner whose film garners almost the same tone as Carpenter’s “Prince of Darkness,” quite often. It’s a simplistic and creepy little Gothic horror thriller, and one I’m glad it getting some fine treatment after over twenty years. It’s indicative of a time where Full Moon were ambitious and despite some misfires, at least tried to deliver quality horror content.
Available for the first time on Blu-ray June 15th, with exclusive special features; It’ll also be available from Full Moon Direct and Amazon.com.