Cellar Dweller (1988 film)

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Cellar Dweller (1988), AKA Underground Werewolf, Ork


"The shape of nightmares to come!" A comic book artist is doomed to repeat history in a most grotesque way when she unleashes a demon after drawing it. (Effectively an uncredited re-interpretation of "Pickman's Model (fiction)" by H.P. Lovecraft.)


the Cellar Dweller ghoul
  • Release Date: 1988
  • Country/Language: USA, English
  • Genres/Technical: Horror, Fantasy
  • Setting: 1980s Lovecraft Country (possibly Rhode Island or a neighboring state?)
  • Runtime: 1 hr 17 min
  • Starring: Yvonne De Carlo, Debrah Farentino, Brian Robbins, Jeffrey Combs
  • Director: John Carl Buechler
  • Writer: Don Mancini (as Kit Dubois)
  • Producer/Production Co: Empire Pictures,Dove Corporation Ltd., Charles Band, Bob Wynn
  • View Trailer: (link)
  • Wikipedia: (link)
  • IMDB Page: (link)


MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: R (mild Violence, Profanity, and Nudity)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • SS___ (Two Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian; vaguely similar in tone, could be a very loose adaptation)

The cellar-dwelling Ghoul-thing and Curses of the Ancient Dead tome are Lovecraftian, after a fashion, and the movie also deliberately references the infamous Re-Animator feature film adaptation of a Lovecraft story. One might suggest that Cellar Dweller is a very loose and uncredited re-interpretation of "Pickman's Model (fiction)", updated from a realist painter of the gaslight era, to horror comic artists of the 1950s and their imitators in the 1980s (the horror comics of the 1950s could be thought of as a revival of the old horror pulps like Weird Tales).

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.


Review Links:

  • Review by Keith Bailey at The Unknown Movies (link) - "Though the running time of Cellar Dweller is a brief 78 minutes (including closing credits), imagine one of those EC stories stretched out to fill an entire comic, and you'll have a good idea on how watching this movie feels like."
  • Review by Burl Cummings at Ha Ha It's Burl! (link) - "...Cellar Dweller appears to be spending most of its energies on not being scary! The monster is shown in all his glory right off the bat, and shot very unimaginatively! But the director, John Buechler, who is also the trick effects man – that’s his day job – has made the monster look a little bit like himself, which he often seems to do with his creatures, and so maybe he didn’t want it to ever be too horrific lest he be thought horrific himself! Anyway, it’s got its moments..."
  • Review by Andrew Pragsam at The Spinning Image (4/10 Stars) (link) - "...the film gets off to a lively start and has a likeable heroine in Deborah Farentino ... but clearly has no idea what to do with its premise."
  • Review by J. P. Roscoe at Basement Rejects (3/10) (link) - "Cellar Dweller is pretty bad. The movie is a B-Movie and it shows it. The movie has a certain level of cheapness to it that it doesn’t get past. The story, the look, and the acting all combine in a bad way to make a true B-Movie quality film."

Synopsis (SPOILERS)

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

A highly successful comic book artist gains inspiration from a mystical book of horrific drawings, and inadvertently summons an evil spirit into his basement studio. Decades later, his house has become a small art institute where a student goes rooting around the sealed boxes in the cellar and releases the supernatural forces trapped there.


Comments, Trivia, Dedication

  • In a scene where the character Whitney Taylor is in a room you can see a Reanimator movie poster behind her. Jeffrey Combs, who plays Colin Childress in this movie, stared in Re-Animator (1985 film).
  • All comic art done in this film was drawn by Jack Kirby (uncredited).

Associated Mythos Elements

Keeper Notes