The Resurrected is adapted from an H.P. Lovecraft story The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (1941). [The same story had previously been adapted as Roger Cormans The Haunted Palace (1963)]. Here Dan OBannon is directing another writers script in this case, Brent V. Friedman, a genre writer who has written screenplays for the likes of Syngenor (1990), Ticks (1993), American Cyborg: Steel Warrior (1992), the Prehysteria! sequels and produced genre tv series such as Dark Skies (1996-7), Secret Agent Man (1999-2000) and Woke Up Dead (2008-9), as well as delivering the script for the H.P. Lovecraft portmanteau film Necronomicon (1993).
H.P. Lovecrafts The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is a relatively straightforward piece about a man being possessed by the spirit of his ancestor that emerges from a portrait. The Resurrected came about as part of a vogue for H.P. Lovecraft that had been created by the success of Stuart Gordons Re-Animator (1985). Re-Animator identified Lovecraft with a campy splatter-heavy approach, one that has been taken as lead by the various Lovecraft adaptations ever since. The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is not on the face of it a Lovecraft story that is geared toward such a splattery approach. Brent V. Friedman ingeniously solves the problem with a series of twists about Curwen not being a disembodied spirit so much as an evil ancestor raised from the dead through black sorcery, thus allowing the insertion of various Hellraiser (1987)-styled bodily reconstitution scenes. [In an interesting trivia note, this is the only H.P. Lovecraft adaptation to use Lovecrafts home turf (and the storys setting) Providence, Rhode Island as a location (even if the Providence scenes were all shot in Vancouver)].
The Resurrected lacks the energy and vigour that Dan OBannon displayed with Return of the Living Dead. Nearly half the film is on the story-heavy exposition side wherein nothing much happens, although OBannon and Brent V. Friedman do create a good mystery and some effective images such as the overacting Chris Sarandon suddenly talking in 18th Century tongue. In the latter half, OBannon eventually delivers the goods in a sequence where John Terry, Jane Sibbett and Richard Romanus venture by torchlight down into the catacombs beneath the Curwen home finding arcane diaries, partially raising something from the dead with a serum, encountering half-seen monstrosities in the dark and then the torch going out at the crucial moment and they having to make their way back in the dark by matchlight as the mutations close in. The twist ending and revelations about who is impersonating whom and John Terrys means of dealing with this are also well done. It is during these sequences that Dan OBannon conjures something of the mood of Lovecraft and his sense of abominable experiments, unspeakable monstrosities and forbidden knowledge. This makes The Resurrected one of the few post-Re-Animator films that successfully captures the mood of H.P. Lovecraft.
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 (1966) and The Dunwich Horror (1969). The big success in the modern era was Stuart Gordons 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 Gordons subsequent From Beyond (1986), The Curse (1987), The Unnameable (1988), Necronomicon (1993), The Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter (1993), Lurking Fear (1994), Gordons Dagon (2001), and other works such as The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (2003), Beyond the Wall of Sleep (2006), Cool Air (2006), Chill (2007), Cthulu (2007), The Tomb (2007), Colour from the Dark (2008), The Dunwich Horror (2009), Pickmans Muse (2010), The Whisperer in Darkness (2011) and The Haunter of the Dark (2015). 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 Simons cheap and loosely inspired Cthulu Mansion (1992); John Carpenters Lovecraft homage In the Mouth of Madness (1995); the fan parodies The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulu (2009) and Call Girl of Cthulu (2014); even an animated childrens film Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom (2016) 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). Lovecrafts 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 Francos surreal and otherwise unrelated Succubus/Necronomicon (1969) about a BDSM dancer.