“He who has wisdom wonders not of the beast“
An antediluvian tome of philosophical verses describing the nature of evil and the beast form it can take, The Curses of the Ancient Dead acts as a magical doorway through which a half-vampire, half-werewolf, full-demon can be conjured in Empire Picture’s quirky 1988 horror flick, Cellar Dweller.
Littered with thinly veiled passages hinting at the tomes ability to call forth a devious creature to the detriment of its owner, two of the film’s artists, one played by the legendary Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator), nevertheless reads text from the tome aloud, summoning the beastly executioner and ultimately sealing their doom. Once conjured, the fiend kills whatever hapless individual the artist draws, rending its victims apart and munching on their limbs with sadistic glee. The more detailed the illustration, the more specific the events leading up to their demise.
By no means a classic, yet far from ordinary, Cellar Dweller has some memorable moments. And the titular tome of the film, The Curses of the Ancient Dead, is woven nicely into the script, allowing the story to unfold with plenty of on-screen shots of nicely drawn comic book pages reminiscent of the golden era of EC-horror’s finest days.