Cellar Dweller (1988)

directed by john carl buechler
empire pictures/dove corporation ltd.

Short and inconsequential, this straight-to-video (and laserdisc!) offering is also kind of derivative, although there we go again … horror film, blab blah, &c. Not obviously reprising any particular movie – faint praise, perhaps, but it’s something –  Dweller doesn’t seem sure what niche it wants to occupy. It’s not quite campy, not very funny or scary, and not nearly as outré as it seemingly wants to be. Jeffrey Combs has what amounts to a cameo setting up the action as a comic-book artist whose hideous creation comes to life, quite in keeping with his erstwhile cottage industry of acting in Lovecraftian roles. Also appearing for some reason: a cavalcade of onetime TV stars including those who played Lily Munster, Ben Casey and “Eric” from Head of the Class. One interesting thing this flick has going for it is its bummer ending, which seems especially odd in such an essentially lighthearted affair. Kinda not really worth it.

why did i watch this movie?

You’ve got me there.

should you watch this movie?

Let’s imagine people still watch cable television the old-fashioned way. Say you were channel-surfing some evening because you were mired in ennui or killing time before doing something more active or exciting, and you happened upon this little number on “USA” or … some other channel that might be showing random movies. You’d keep it on for at least a few minutes. Probably.

highlight and low point

The animation, both of the comic-book art and what appears to be a good old-fashioned stop-motion creature, is a welcome effect. The other special effects are not so impressive, and neither are the generic character types.

rating from outer space: c-

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