The Resonator: Miskatonic U (2021) poster

The Resonator: Miskatonic U (2021)

Rating:


USA. 2021.

Crew

Director/Screenplay – William Butler, Created by Charles Band & William Butler, Based on the Short Story From Beyond by H.P. Lovecraft, Producer – Charles Band, Photography – Justin Jones, Music Themes – Richard Band, Visual Effects – David Matherly, Physical Effects – Michael Deak, Makeup Effects – Greg Lightner, Professor Wallace Makeup – Immortal Masks, Creatures – William Butler & Greg Lightner. Production Company – Full Moon Features/Candy Bar LLC.

Cast

Dane Oliver (Crawford Tillinghast), Michael Paré (Professor Wallace), Christine Braa (Mara Esteban), Austin Woods (Brandon), Alex Keener (Bear Johnson), Amanda Jones (Carrie Mitchel), Amanda Wyss (Professor McMichaels), Thomas Shevela (Brian Heminngway), Brynn Sicard (Kelly Krutchfield), Jeffrey Byron (Professor Tillinghast), Josh Cole (Herbert West)


Plot

At Miskatonic University, Crawford Tillinghast tells some of his fellow students about experiments he has been conducting using a resonator. They persuade Tillinghast to give a demonstration. As the resonator is activated, they see it open the way to other dimensional planes, causing them to become aroused and then for creatures to appear. The department head Professor Wallace observes this. He then blackmails Tillinghast with threat of going to the police over his use of equipment appropriated from the lab. Wallace forces Tillinghast into restarting the resonator – only to push it to a level that turns him into a monstrous mutated entity.


The Resonator: Miskatonic U is an H.P. Lovecraft adaptation from Charles Band’s Full Moon Features. It is based on the Lovecraft story From Beyond (1934). Band had previously overseen an adaptation of the story at Empire Productions with From Beyond (1986) from Stuart Gordon who had previously made Re-Animator (1985), also at Empire, which popularised H.P. Lovecraft on film. (The opening credits are dedicated to Stuart Gordon who passed away in 2020). The Resonator could be considered a remake of From Beyond, although with the introduction of a Herbert West at the very end, you get the impression that this time Band is trying to create some kind of H.P. Lovecraft shared universe. (For a more detailed listing of Lovecraftian adaptations and films see Lovecraftian Films).

The film does a passable job of adapting the Lovecraft story. The original story only really consists of a single scene where scientist Crawford Tillinghast demonstrates the resonator to the unnamed narrator who sees it open up other dimensions via stimulation of the pineal gland, causing monstrous entities to emerge. The students and the character of Professor Wallace have been created for the film.

If inflation adjustment were taken into account, The Resonator would almost certainly come out as being a much cheaper production than From Beyond was. There are one or two rubbery creations that principally Dane Oliver fights and the creature that Michael Paré mutates into at the end but nothing on the order of the full body transformations and piles of goo in the 1986 film. Often we just get swirling pink lights and people fighting animated images, which seems a woeful comedown in comparison. Nor do a few scenes where the various students get aroused under the resonator’s influence come anywhere near the image of Barbara Crampton in bondage gear in the 1986 film.

Crawford Tillinghast (Dane Oliver) meets an other-dimensional entity in The Resonator: Miskatonic U (2021)
Crawford Tillinghast (Dane Oliver) meets an other-dimensional entity

William Butler has directed a number of other genre films beginning with Madhouse (2004), followed by Furnace (2007), The Three Bears and the Perfect Gift (2019) and Dead Voices (2020). Butler made Full Moon’s Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver (2011) and Baby Oopsie (2021) and is reported to be working on an adaptation of Stuart Gordon’s long unfilmed script Gris Gris. He also wrote the scripts for Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis (2005) and Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave (2005) and Full Moon’s The Gingerdead Man (2005) and Demonic Toys: Personal Demons (2010)

Other films based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft include:- The Haunted Palace (1963), Die, Monster, Die/Monster of Terror (1965), The Shuttered Room (1967) and The Dunwich Horror (1969). The big success in the modern era was Stuart Gordon’s splattery black comedy version of Re-Animator (1985), which popularised Lovecraft on film. This led to a host of B-budget Lovecraft adaptations, including Stuart Gordon’s subsequent From Beyond (1986), The Curse (1987), The Unnameable (1988), The Resurrected (1992), Necronomicon (1993), The Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter (1993), Lurking Fear (1994), Stuart Gordon’s Dagon (2001), The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (2003), Beyond the Wall of Sleep (2006), Cool Air (2006), Chill (2007), Cthulhu (2007), The Tomb (2007), Colour from the Dark (2008), The Dunwich Horror (2009), The Color (2010), Pickman’s Muse (2010), The Whisperer in Darkness (2011), The Dark Sleep (2013), The Haunter of the Dark (2015), Herbert West: Re-Animator (2017), Color Out of Space (2019), The Deep Ones (2020), the tv series Lovecraft Country (2020) and Markham (2020). Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown (2008) is a documentary about Lovecraft. Also of interest is The Manitou (1978), which features an appearance of the Great Old One; Cast a Deadly Spell (1991) and its sequel Witch Hunt (1994), a tv movie set in an alternate world where magic works and where the central character is a detective named H.P. Lovecraft; Juan Piquer Simon’s cheap and loosely inspired Cthulhu Mansion (1992); John Carpenter’s Lovecraft homage In the Mouth of Madness (1995); the fan parody The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu (2009)) and the parody Call Girl of Cthulhu (2014); even a trilogy of animated children’s film Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom (2016), Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom (2017) and Howard Lovecraft and the Kingdom of Madness (2018) in which a young Lovecraft encounters his own creations; while the Elder Gods turn up at the end of The Cabin in the Woods (2012), Lovecraft (Paul Titley) appears as an imaginary companion in Ghostland/Incident in a Ghostland (2018) and In Search of Lovecraft (2008) features a tv news crew discovering that Lovecraft’s works are true. Lovecraft’s key work of demonic lore The Necronomicon also makes appearances in films such as Equinox (1970), The Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992), and was also borrowed as an alternate retitling for Jesus Franco’s surreal and otherwise unrelated Succubus/Necronomicon (1969) about a BDSM dancer.


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