Monday, May 23, 2011

Call of Cthulhu - The Movie!

HP Lovecraft was an innovative, creative writer, capable of crafting true horror masterpieces that resonate with fans to this day. But jeezum-crow, why hasn't anyone been able to make a decent movie out of Lovecraft's work? Or at least follow the plot of one of his stories? Most horror movies that claim to be Lovecraftian are really pastiches, using some of the Cthulhu mythos and ideas to create their own, usually terrible, stories.

But, finally, a few dedicated people from the HP Lovecraft Historical Society have taken Lovecraft's most famous story, "The Call of Cthulhu," and made it into a movie that actually follows the storyline! Who'd've thunk it? And it's good (with the exception of one notably bad scene, which made me laugh).

The movie is done as a silent film to appear contemporary to when the story was first published in 1927. This film style works incredibly well for the story, and it's obvious the movie creators have a real understanding both of Lovecraft and of the expressionist horror style, popular in the 1920s with such works as "Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" and "Nosferatu". The only time the film doesn't work is the one notable scene I mentioned earlier and which I will spoil now SPOILER ALERT! They show Cthulhu coming out of the see and it is one of the cheesiest special effects puppets I have ever seen! They should have rethought that whole scene because it was truly ridiculous. I'm warning you about this in advance because I thought the rest of the movie was so good and true to the original work. Check this movie out! It originally was released in 2005 but is currently available on Netflix for instant viewing.

BTW, the HP Lovecraft Historical Society is set to release their next film adaptation, "The Whisperer in Darkness," some time this year. This time the film is a talkie, to coincide with the original publishing date of the story (1931). I can't wait to see this!

1 comment:

  1. Well, I have to agree with you on all points. the movie is fantastic, though I have not seen many other Lovecraftian horror movies. A theme that always gets down played in the movies adaptations seems to be the constant dreaming, the uncertainty, and the running away in horror.

    I have recently been reading and audio booking many of Lovecraft's works, and I notice 2 main things, there is a lot of uncertainty and allot of running. strangely many of the main characters are men of learning all doing detective work.

    As for movie adaptations here is a list: The Haunted Palace (1963) · Die, Monster, Die! (1965) · The Dunwich Horror (1970) · Re-Animator (1985) · From Beyond (1986) · The Unnamable (1988) · Cast A Deadly Spell (1991) · The Resurrected (1992) · In the Mouth of Madness (1994) · Necronomicon (1994) · Witch Hunt (1994) · Bleeders (1997) · Cthulhu (2000) · Dagon (2001) · Beyond Re-Animator (2003) · The Call of Cthulhu (2005) · H. P. Lovecraft's Dreams in the Witch-House (2005) · Cthulhu (2007).

    Sadly I have only seen two of these films and bits and pieces of another. there are actually better adaptations on YouTube, not very visually pleasing at times but closer to the stories.

    I think the hardest theme to be portrayed on the big screen is the uncertainty. even in the movie Call of Cthulhu the Architecture of R'lyeh cant really be distinguished as laying flat or upright as well as the many indistinguishable horrors from within.

    I actually like the idea of have more silent films, talking can screw things up, I listened to one horrible audio book were he speaking was speaking like it was an opera and the sound effects way off. I think a key to many of Lovecrafts works is the silence, like the Whisper in the Darkness which the main means of communication was through letters, and at the end it even mentions the silence beeing unnerving.


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