Sunday, February 20, 2011

Call of Cthulhu: One Really Worth Watching

                             The Call of Cthulhu: One Really Worth Watching


                                                                 Jay Agan

      Never before have I seen a more complete & faithful rendition of a Lovecraft story to film. After literally decades of crappy, altered, & sexploited knock offs (Some really only using H. P. Lovecrafts' name for publicity.), a 100% "true to the word" movie actually hit the theaters a few short years ago. Because of its' limited "arthouse" run, few people got to see it. (I don't remember it being shown in central Ohio.) I would have loved to have seen it on the big screen. As it is, I've had to settle on getting the disc & "that ain't bad".

      The original story is the "flaghip" of H.P. Loverafts' "Cthulhu Mythos" set of tales: In the deep dark past of pre-prehistory, non-human beings worshipped a pantheon of less than ethical, trans cosmic "gods". These ethereal beings, indifferent or hostile, manipulated/consumed various sentient species from all over the universe including mankind. Over the eons they fell out of power & the knowledge of man. Wether they were "driven away" or left for their own capricious reasons is unclear. But ..... when the stars are "right" ..... they will return.

      One of these entities is Cthulhu: A behemoth lying "not dead but dreaming" in the sunken city of R'Lyeh somewhere in the southwest Pacific (Anywhere near Kong Island?).

      An investigator, picking up where an uncle left off, tries to find a correlation between various natural catastorphies & mysterious events & succeeds. The story relates three of the incidents: A professors' research in Greenland. A police inspectors' encounter with members of a fantastic cult. And a ship crews' battle with the ultimate horror.

Got this at

      Then there's the other kool part: This is a silent movie.

      Call of Cthulhu was published in Wierd Tales in 1928. Members of the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society (HPLHS) decided to make the film as if it was made the same year, pre-talkies (Talkin' pitchers r' only a fad. It ain't gonna last!). Except for a music score, it's silent with title cards, & in glorious black & white. The actors have the silent movies "histrionics" down right & the atmosphere really has the look & feel of an old flick (Without all the burns, streaks, spots, splices & background hiss.).

      The film is literally a "back yard" production (The R'Lyeh scenes were done in someones' back yard!). Costing about a quarter million to make with the sets cobbled together with plywood, glue, & nailgun. In spite of its ultra low production values, the result looks like a multi-million endeavor. Looking at the accompanying documentary on the disc, I marvelled at what one can do with very little money.

      Lovecraft fans owe it to themselves to get the disc. I got mine a few years back at Barnes & Noble for about 20 bucks. Info can be obtained from the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society.

      By the way. The HPLHS is in the process of finishing another film: The Whisperer In Darkness. As this story was published in 1931, it's a talkie. Black & white with minimal music (Musical scores weren't a big thing til about the mid 1930s.).

Trailers for The Call of Cthulhu here.

HPLHS ad for The Call of Cthulhu here.

Trailers for The Whisperer In Darkness here.

Previous article to a Loveraft film (Dark Heritage/The Lurking Fear) here.

                                    Article copyright © 2-19-2011 Jay Agan

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  1. I own "The Whisperer in the Darkness." You should definately check it out at the HPLHS website.

    1. Thanks for the "heads up". I was going to pre-order Whisperer through Amazon. Have to check this out as I haven't looked at that site for a looong time.

      Thanks again sir.