Best. Lovecraft. Movie. Ever.

From the yeah, that was pretty cool — wish I’d written about it then department:

Horror writers H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King share a similar problem: their authorial voices are almost impossible to transfer to the medium of film. Particulars of their stories aside, what we love about these authors’ work is their expository language — their storytelling style and descriptive powers. That’s why, I think, that with a couple of notable exceptions aside, most cinematic adaptations of their works are disappointing.

The 2005 film THE CALL OF CTHULHU , produced by The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, is one of those exceptions, and it’s an absolutely spectacular one!

Ironically, that may be because of the severe budgetary limitations the production was working under. Making a virtue out of necessity, director Andrew Leman and writer-producer Sean Branney hit on the brilliant (but not so obvious) idea of filming Lovecraft’s classic tale as a black-and-white silent film, as it might have been done in the 1920s. Instead of worrying about realistic special effects (or, God forbid, CGI) they were instead able to utilize a little Georges Méliès-style magic in their home-built practical effects.These two elements of the film complement each other beautifully, and, combined with the (really terrific!) original symphonic music score, add up to a hugely pleasurable viewing experience.

Especially for Lovecraft fans! Because this movie, this no-budget little labor-of-love fan film, is probably the best cinematic adaptation of an HPL story ever made. All the elements of the original story are there; and the story is very well told by the actor’s facial expressions and body language, plus the occasional well-placed title card (the text of which, as far as I can tell, are taken directly from the published story). The mood and atmosphere of the film are note-perfect, and stands in perfectly for Lovecraft’s ever-anxious authorial voice. A sense of of spooky mystery is evoked in the first act, set in the fabled Massachusetts city of Arkham. Real horror accompanies the second, at the pagan goings-on in swamps of Louisiana. And in the ocean-going third, when the titular Mr. C. makes his dread appearance, the terror of the characters is palpable.

Check out the trailer for yourself —

— and then immediately go to the HPLHS website, or to Amazon.com, and buy it. You’ll be happy that you did! And I’ll be too, because of these cats make enough money, they’re going to go on to film Lovecraft’s The Whisperer in Darkness. Woo hoo!

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