Cellar Dweller (1987)

cellar dweller poster 1987 movie
3.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 1/10
Visuals: 6/10

Decent monster, ok story

Porn worthy acting

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Cellar Dweller

Studio:  Empire Pictures

Genre(s): Horror/B-Movies

Release Date(s):  October 27, 1987 (MIFED)/February 15, 1988 (UK)/September 20, 1988 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

cellar dweller monster

Hi! Who wants to join me for a pot of fondu?

Colin Childress (Jeffrey Combs) revolutionized horror comics through his series Cellar Dweller…but when he went mad, the series ended.  Now, Whitney Taylor (Debrah Farentino) has decided to carry on Colin’s work by moving into the art commune run by Mrs. Briggs (Yvonne De Carlo) in Childress’s old home.  Colin had a secret, and Cellar Dweller wasn’t just a comic.  Whitney is about to uncover Colin’s monster inspiration and the blood will flow.

Directed by John Carl Buechler, Cellar Dweller is a low-budget horror monster movie.  The film premiered at the MIFED in 1987 and was released straight to video in 1988.

The 1980s were filled with straight-to-video horror.  The VHS market exploded and movies that never could have been made (and possibly never should have been made) were able to be made to fill up the shelves.  Cellar Dweller is one of those movies, but it does have some positive aspects.

cellar dweller monster eats lisa

Can’t a hellspawn monster eat people in peace?

The story is an homage to EC Comics.  At the time Cellar Dweller was made a lot of the old horror nostalgia hadn’t quite peaked.  Shows like Tales from the Crypt (which didn’t show up until 1989) relished in stories like the plot of Cellar Dweller and that is what Cellar Dweller feels like.  It is like a thirty minute Tales from the Crypt (or even Monsters or Tales from the Darkside) stretched into an hour and a half.  The basic story has been done before (an artist’s creation coming to life), but the movie would have been served better as part of anthology.

Horror star Jeffrey Combs has a small role in the movie (which of course was boosted due to his genre popularity), but the “stars are Debrah Farentino and Brian Robbins.  Both Robbins and Farentino aren’t leading actors…but it really doesn’t matter much in a movie like Cellar Dweller.  Former silver screen star Yvonne De Carlo plays the house keeper-program manager and it is always sad to see someone who had a lot of fame end up in something like this.

cellar dweller briggs turns into monster deborah farentino

Ms. Briggs that outfit really clashes with your Cro-Magnon forehead…

The monster isn’t that bad.  Buechler worked on Ghoulies and the creature resembles a giant ghoulie…I still sometimes prefer practical effects monsters over computer monsters and in that sense the Cellar Dweller has some old school charm.  The movie isn’t very scary however though the filmmaker tries to spice it up with typical 1980s nudity.

Cellar Dweller is a goofy, short horror movie that has gained a bit of a cult audience over the years.  The film was never going to be a big success and the best it could hope for would be this cult status.  It was rather odd due to decent sales and better than some horror film reviews that Cellar Dweller didn’t return.  In the age of remakes and “reimagining”, I could see the story format taken again…and again…and again.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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