DIRECTOR: John Carl Buechler
SCREENPLAY: Don Mancini
STARRING: Yvonne De Carlo, Debrah Farentino, Brian Robbins, Pamela Bellwood, Jeffrey Coombs
RUNNING TIME: 77 Mins
Reviewed by Guy Adams
What do you call those artist communes you see in films? You know, where one artist is doing weird things with video, another’s writing a crime novel, a third is painting like a child, a fourth indulging in performance art and a fifth drawing horror comics? Ah yes, ‘fictional’. That’s what you call them. Which is a shame as I’d love to go and write my next novel in one because they’re run by Yvonne De Carlo and they look fun, even if the comic artist has brought a powerful demon to life and it’s bumping the talentless residents off one by one.
Naturally, CELLAR DWELLAR is a load of old tosh. But it’s fun tosh and that makes all the difference. A 70 minute and loose change (the opening titles go on forever) example of Empire Pictures output, the forerunner to Charles Band’s Full Moon Entertainment. It’s a cheap bit of VHS fodder that is never going to find itself lauded but will at least pass the brief time its with you in an amusing fashion. This DVD is clearly taken from a VHS transfer actually, there’s a flicker of horizontal tape damage at the start that made me smile with nostalgia (perhaps I should have been grumpy about it but I wasn’t, I was pleased, the movie looks fine and I’m an old fool).
Don’t get your hopes up with regards the presence of Charle Band regular, Jeffery Coombs, he’s only playing a cameo at the start of the movie. He’s the comic artist who inspires our lead, Farentino, and first unleashes the demon into our world with his naughty stories (a side note, Coombs is actually pretending to draw black and white art by Frank Brunner, who started his career as an artist on magazines like Creepy and Eerie before working with Steve Engelhart on Marvel’s Doctor Strange).
CELLAR DWELLER is disposable fun but, as always, give me eighties jolly nonsense any day over a modern piece of rubbish that’s just as rough but takes itself twice as seriously.