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The Runestone (1990)

  Tags: 90's, cheesy, creature, monster, The Runestone, Willard Carroll

Your rating: None Average: 7 (4 votes)
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Willard Carroll
105 minutes
Peter Riegert, Joan Severance, William Hickey, Tim Ryan, Mitchell Laurance, Lawrence Tierney, Dawan Scott, Chris Young, Erika Schickel, Bill Kalmenson, Arthur Malet, John Hobson, Anthony Cistaro

Ah the early 90' when you could still go into small local video stores and browse numerous titles you had never heard of before. It was always a gamble when you reached for an unknown horror film, but every so often you came across something you liked. That is the story with this one, after sifting through all the other movies I'd already seen, I came across The Runestone. I remember liking it back then, but my memory was a little hazy, and it doesn't seem like many other people have even seen it. So I decided it was time to seek it out again and see what the deal was.

The film revolves around an old Norse legend of a cursed runestone and its captive Fenrir. The runestone is accidentally discovered by a group of miners somewhere in western Pennsylvania and gets sent to a large corporation. The possessed piece of rock is left in the charge of businessman Martin Almquist and he is immediately bewitched by it. He gets a stern warning about its evil powers from a crazy old man but of course that gets ignored. It doesn't take long before the artifact has taken complete control of poor Martin and turns him into the bloodthirsty demon beast Fenrir. The transformation from man to beast isn't shown, but Fenrir still tears threw several security guards making a break for the city.

Once on the loose in the city, Martin chases down and hunts his ex-girlfriend Marla and her husband Sam. The two manage to survive their first encounter and then quickly discover they are the main targets of the demon. Following this, there is the introduction of a secret society called 'The Watchmen' who know all and have been preparing for the return of the beast. Things start to become unintentionally funny from this point on and it's a mixed bag. Some of it is enjoyable and fun to watch, while other things such as bad dialogue and paper thin acting drag the film down some. Keeping the monster in the shadows for the first half of the film was a plus though, helping to hold my interest through the uninteresting character development and campy segments. When the monster is finally shown onscreen it's effective, despite the obviously dated effects.

There is a lot of killing in this movie and a fair amount of it occurs onscreen, sadly a sizable number aren't shown. The body count is so high they probably didn't have the budget to show all deaths they would have liked too. On the flip side the kills we do see have some blood, and a nice fun factor when the monster strangles, shreds, or bitch slaps random people to death. Fenrir himself has a great look, lending some extra substance to the countless murders. He looks pretty bad-ass in all the bloody battles between the cops and 'The Watchmen'. Unfortunately when the creature is on screen for more than a few minutes you start to notice the cheap-ness of it, reducing the scare factor. This is especially problematic during the films uninspired and overly-long climax.

A hefty kill count and a cool creature highlight this little known 1990's monster movie. The acting, plot, and effects are not the greatest, but the camp, action, and quick pace help balance it out. If you like creature features and haven't seen this one yet give it a chance, you might like it.

Posted on June 5, 2010 - 7:46pm | steelba