Synopsis by Cavett Binion
A quaint, stagebound little horror film from Charles Band's Empire Pictures, Cellar Dweller stars Jeffrey Combs (fresh off his glorious turn as Herbert West in the Empire-produced Re-Animator) as a '50s horror-comic artist who falls prey to one of his own creations -- a ferocious demon he based on a drawing from an arcane book of spells and curses. The story picks up again in the 1980's, where the late artist's palatial home has been converted into a combination boarding house and art academy led by Yvonne De Carlo. One of the students pursues her obsession with reviving the "Cellar Dweller" comic series herself, delving into Combs' old studio for inspiration, and eventually discovers the same occult manuscript secreted in the basement. History repeats itself (naturally) and the creature emerges to stalk and maul anew. This admittedly cool concept and the rather effective monster are dampened a bit by a flippant, tongue-in-cheek attitude (a more ominous, Lovecraftian tone would have been more effective), but makeup-man-turned-director John Buechler shows a definite flair for imbuing his beast with a suitably sinister personality. Observant fans of Charles Band's body of work (yes, they do exist) should spot the numerous visual references to other Band films.
artist, demon, manuscript, occult, studio