H.P. Lovecraft’s writing has been adapted by many throughout the years but the one that stands out is Stuart Gordon. With films like From Beyond and Re-Animator he was able to take the hellish landscapes of Lovecraftian lore and give them a playful edge, opening it up to a wider audience. Director Joe Lynch (Mayhem) looks to continue with that spirit taking his adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft 1933 short story The Thing on the Doorstep and giving it a touch of eroticism and camp.
Suitable Flesh tells the story of psychiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Derby (Heather Graham) as she encounters an attractive and mysterious new patient played by Judah Lewis (The Babysitter), claiming that someone is attempting to steal his body. Initially chalking it up to multiple personality disorder she becomes obsessed with the young man. After making a string of bad decisions that threaten to end her marriage, she ends up entangled in a battle with a body-snatching entity hellbent on taking her over too.
Heather Graham, Barbara Crampton and Bruce Davison all delivered exceptional performances but the surprise for me was Judah Lewis. Still a relative newcomer in the genre, this was a big change from the roles he had in Summer of ‘84 and The Babysitter series of films. I was actually pretty impressed with his ability to shapeshift with ease, embodying the essence of multiple characters as well as multiple genders without relying on the stereotypical cliches you often see.
Suitable Flesh is one of those films that’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but it will have its audience. Fans of Stuart Gordon will appreciate Joe Lynch’s nostalgic approach to Lovecraft, injecting a little absurdity and sex appeal into the ancient cosmic horrors. This film felt like Lynch’s homage to Stuart Gordon in a way. Taking a somewhat monotonous science fiction story and breathing some life into it. This retelling had the campiness of a Creepshow episode mixed with the sexiness of Cinemax After Dark. It’s a combination most won’t fully understand but at its heart, this was ultimately a horror film that genre fans will enjoy. It’s a throwback type of film with practical effects, a handful of gore, and unique camera angles/transitions that just ooze sexiness. It’s an adaptation made with love that harkens back to the trashy horror of the 80’s and I loved every minute of it!
Suitable Flesh is available now in theaters and VOD.