SUITABLE FLESH is a new horror movie based on a H. P. Lovecraft story and starring Heather Graham, Barbara Crampton, and Judah Lewis. It’s wild, kitsch, campy, bloody, and very steamy as well. Find it in theaters first and on Shudder in early 2024. Read our full Suitable Flesh movie review here!
SUITABLE FLESH is a new horror movie that should please many horror fans. Well, certainly those who loved Stuart Gordon’s movies from the 1980s that were based on H. P. Lovecraft stories. This new movie is also based on a Lovecraft story and stars Heather Graham. Something that can only be described as a match made in horror heaven.
Also playing big roles in the movie are Barbara Crampton and Judah Lewis, who get quite a bit to work with. The latter especially. Whenever a movie is based on something by H.P. Lovecraft, you should expect something pretty crazy and this is no exception. Several shocking moments along the way and a story that feels both classic and fresh.
Continue reading our Suitable Flesh movie review below. Find it in theaters from October 27, 2023. It will also be streaming on Shudder later (probably in January 2024).
A classic Lovecraftian starting point
While Suitable Flesh is based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft, it takes the plot in a horror direction more than a sci-fi direction. I mean, sure, the Lovecraftian starting point of the movie is very much science fiction. However, the actual story focuses on the horror of it all.
We meet psychiatrist Elizabeth Derby (Heather Graham) who seems a tad bored with her patients’ mundane problems. Maybe that’s why she becomes quite obsessed with helping a young patient (Judah Lewis). Upon meeting him, he changes personalities before her very eyes and she is intrigued.
Dr. Derby literally wrote the book on personality disorder, and this young man is clearly suffering from extreme personality disorder. Or is he?
As she finds herself wanting to understand and help him, she’s also trapped in a living nightmare. It leads her into dark occult danger, which lands her directly in a padded cell. It’s from there she tells the story of how she ended up in this predicament. All in a last-ditch effort to escape a horrific fate.
The perfect cast for this vibe
Heather Graham (Boogie Nights) is the absolute star of Suitable Flesh and she’s perfect. Not everyone is ready for the very steamy (and undressed) scenes. Especially as humor also ends up playing a part. Plus, with Barbara Crampton (Jakob’s Wife) playing her colleague and best friend, we get another bonus. The two always go all-in on these roles and movies, which is exactly what is needed.
Sure, this story has a lot of steamy scenes and gets very kitsch and campy. However, this is clearly done with intent. Even the poster for this movie is made in a style that makes it look like something made decades ago. Also, to me, this Joe Lynch movie has everything that many indie and low-budget movies attempt to make, but they chicken out.
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Often, they hold back and make it too serious, which is the death of many horror movies where a campy vibe could’ve saved it. Another recent movie that succeeded at this was Appendage which also used practical effects rather than CGI. And yes, sure, the blood “looks fake”. But hey, newsflash, the blood is always fake.
It’s just that when you want to get wild and go over the top, you have to make it obvious.
Also, I should mention that Judah Lewis is all kinds of awesome here. The teenager from The Babysitter is very much a young man, and he essentially plays two characters in one here. It’s shocking in all the right ways!
Finally, Bruce Davison (Creepshow, Along Came the Devil) and Johnathon Schaech (The Night Clerk) play two key supporting characters that also deliver exactly what’s needed. A key detail in this story is how everyone seems to have two personalities. Not just those inflicted by the Lovecraftian curse.
Watch Suitable Flesh in theaters now and on Shudder later
The director of Suitable Flesh is Joe Lynch who has directed several (often quite memorable) genre productions. From the 2017 feature film Mayhem to episodes of Creepshow in seasons 2 and 3. The style and vibe of this latest horror thriller is extremely well-defined which is something I both love, respect, and often enjoy.
This new horror movie is based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft titled “The Thing on the Doorstep“. While the story has been brought up to the present and gotten a kitsch horror overhaul, it’s still recognizable. Also, the screenplay comes from Dennis Paoli, who co-wrote the screenplay for the iconic H.P. Lovecraft-based movies Re-Animator (1985) and From Beyond (1986).
The style of those two movies does also come across in Suitable Flesh so it should give you an idea of what to expect. It doesn’t get anywhere as wild in terms of creatures, however.
The runtime is 99 minutes and it never felt too long. This alone is a great accomplishment in my book, where even an episode of a series can feel too long.
Suitable Flesh is out in theaters and On Demand from October 27, 2023. It is currently expected to begin streaming on Shudder in January 2024.
Director: Joe Lynch
Screenplay: Dennis Paoli
Cast: Heather Graham , Judah Lewis, Bruce Davison, Johnathon Schaech, Barbara Crampton
Psychiatrist Elizabeth Derby becomes obsessed with helping a young patient suffering from extreme personality disorder. But it leads her into dark occult danger as she tries to escape a horrific fate.