Cellar Dweller


JEFFREY COMBS (don’t get too excited he’s only in the prologue) is Colin Childress, a comic book illustrator responsible for an EC-like series entitled CELLAR DWELLER. Unwisely, he decides to crib some text from some ancient old necronomicon-y type book he has lying around and POOF! A giant monster appears and kills him and some anonymous lady to boot. Thirty years later, loyal fan Whitney (DEBRAH FARENTINO) shows up at his previous home that is now an exclusive (there’s four students) artist colony. She unearths the work he left behind and consequently conjures the beast from hell as well, who wastes no time laying waste to the entire group. What’s fun here is Whitney’s ability to alter events with her artwork; making a banana peel appear by drawing it, just in time for rival Lisa (a post-DYNASTY PAMELA BELLWOOD) to slip on it, thus sealing her fate, etc. Sadly this idea is not exploited further as it could have injected a lot more life into the movie. (It kinda reminded me of the rewindy remote control utilized in FUNNY GAMES, if not my favorite A-HA video.) There are many more missed opportunities to be found here, but none are so bad as to outweigh the presence of YVONNE DE CARLO (AMERICAN GOTHIC) who I’d pay to see tie her shoe. The real problem besides just how stagnant the proceedings are, is that the title monster is the cutest thing I’ve ever laid my eyes on, and pentagram-embedded chest or not, I just wanted to fix him a sandwich and knit him a scarf. Written by CHILD’S PLAY scribe DON MANCINI and directed by (not to mention special effects by) FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 7: THE NEW BLOOD’s  JOHN CARL BUECHLER, CELLAR DWELLER may not always work, but there’s never any mistake that creative minds are at play.  indelible scenes INDELIBLE SCENE(S):

  • Whitney’s not-so-great comic book art
  • Philip’s (future NORBIT director and HEAD OF THE CLASS alum BRIAN ROBBINS) not-so-great abstract art
  • Amanda’s (MIRANDA WILSON) not-so-great performance art
  • Norman’s (BEN CASEY star and Noir legend VINCE EDWARDS) not-so-great desire to act out scenes from his forthcoming detective novel by shooting at vases and pointing a gun at a woman’s head
  • Lisa’s pretty great death by banana peel
  • Norman’s very great decapitation
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