Something Creepy This Way Comes (Part II)

on May 18, 2009 by Steve Simels
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CoCDVDfront.gifAnd speaking as we were the other day about interesting and obscure Lovecraftian horror films, courtesy of my new friends at Creepy Classics, I've just become aware of what may well be the best of them to date.

I refer of course to the 2005 screen adaptation of the novella that many consider Lovecraft's masterpiece, The Call of Cthulhu. Done in the style of a black-and-white silent film circa, say, 1926. Think an expressionist classic like Cabinet of Dr. Caligari with a much more fluid camera style, orCabinet of Dr. Caligari or Paul Leni's original Cat and the Canary.

Here's the trailer to give you an idea -- note the shadowy, cyclopean power-of-suggestion monster at the very end, which has something of the look of the Virgil Finlay illustrations that graced the master's stories when they were originally published in the legendary pulp magazine Weird Tales.

Lovecraft, of course, didn't live to see any of his stories adapted for the screen, and now that I think of it, despite his posthumous literary celebrity there aren't really all that many Lovecraft films worth mentioning. Up till now, at least, the best are probably Daniel Haller's The Dunwich Horror (1970), an extremely loose version of the story starring Dean Stockwell, and Stuart Gordon's entertaining Re-Animator (1985), which while superficially faithful to its source is perhaps more of a black comedy than the author intended.

The Call of Cthulhu, however, is something else, if for no other reason that it's made by genuine Lovecraft enthusiasts. And it works like gangbusters, both as shuddery horror story and as an inspired technical stunt (the silent film ambiance is more or less flawlessly evoked). Turns out -- and this probably shouldn't be a surprise -- that black-and-white is exactly the right visual equivalent for Lovecraft's claustrophobically arcane prose style.

In any case, you can -- and definitely should -- order it here to experience its pleasures for yourself. And after you do, make sure to check out the rest of the Creepy Classics catalog; trust me, you'll see something else you'll want and you'll wish your wallet was fatter.

 

Tags: Creepy Classics, The Call of Cthulhu, Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Weird Tales, Daniel Haller, The Dunwich Horror, Re-Animator
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