The Unnamable (1988)

the unnamable poster 1988 movie
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 3/10
Visuals: 7/10

Good creature

Weak story and cast

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Unnamable

Studio: K.P. Productions

Genre(s): Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s): June 1988

MPAA Rating: R

the unnamable monster hp lovecraft

Don’t hate me because I kill people

A monster is born to a woman and deemed “unnamable” by its parents.  For years, the monster remains trapped in abandoned home until a college student named Joel Manton (Mark Parra) accidentally unleashes it.  When fraternity brothers take their girlfriends to the home, the monster begins its killing spree.  It is up to an occult major named Randolph Carter (Mark Kinsey Stephenson) and his friend Howard Damon (Charles Klausmeyer) to stop the Unnamable and rescue any survivors before it is too late to stop the evil from escaping!

Directed by Jean-Paul Ouellette, The Unnamable was released directly to VHS by Vidmark in June of 1988.  The movie is a loose adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft story “The Unnamable” which was first published in Weird Tales (July 1925) and collected in Beyond the Wall of Sleep.  The movie was met with negative reviews.

I remember the cover of The Unnamable VHS and wanting to rent it simply because of the monster.  While the movie was kind of a dud, I still stand that the Unamable is a great looking creature design.

the unnamable charles klausmeyer mark kinsey stephenson

Yousa thinking a lotta generic characters gonna die?

The story kind of meanders along.  While it is infused with horror, the dark setting and bad lightning doesn’t allow many visuals until the final showdown with the Unnamable in last ten minutes of the film.  The movie is largely surrounded by overly dark scenes and teen running around…it kind of lets down the horror of the story.  I like that they attempt to turn the monster into a tragic character, but they don’t do it soon enough for it to be effective.

The cast is rather bland and basically a bunch of ’80s preppies.  With rather uninteresting characters, you have little interest in seeing them survive.  The Randolph Carter character (who was a Lovecraft invention) played by Mark Kinsey Stephenson is probably the most interesting of the bunch, but the script has him written out of the story for much of movie with Charles Klausmeyer as the limp lead.  Alexandra Durrell plays the “final girl” and Laura Albert is the “hot girl”…neither actress really present any palpable fear.  The best character of the movie is Katrin Alexandre who plays the Unnamable…but you barely see her.

the unnamable ending creature monster

Please…kill them all

I still contend that the visual of the creature is great.  The hooves, the hair, and the creepy walking/moving style of the monster is inspiring.  If the movie was made today, it would probably be CGI (which wouldn’t be good), but a redesigned practical effects version of this monster would be great.  The movie bogs down the great monster for a generic ghost house with hallways lit by candles and flashlights…it is too dark for a majority of the film.

The Unnamable is no great film, but it is a short film.  The movie is very dated and that is both a benefit and a negative.  You can enjoy it as an ’80s throwaway movie, but don’t expect much more from it.  The movie was followed by a sequel with Charles Klausmeyer and Mark Kinsey Stephenson returning.  The Unnamable II:  The Statement of Randolph Carter was released in 1992.

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.

2 Comments on "The Unnamable (1988)"

  1. John Matrix May 13, 2019 at 1:09 am -

    I was just thinking about this movie the other day for some reason. Saw it back when it was new, and remember enjoying parts of it. Haven’t seen it since, though.

    • JPRoscoe May 13, 2019 at 7:19 pm -

      It is available on Amazon Prime (as of 5/13/19)…unfortunately, The Unnamable II is not