Thursday, March 15, 2007

Lovecraftian movies

I'm very excited about Guillermo Del Toros planned adaptation
of the Mountains of Madness (now if only he'd stop letting
other projects jump the queue - I'm looking at you Tarzan and
Hellboy 2).

I was thinking how there hasn't been a worthy adaptation of
any of lovecrafts material as yet.

There are a couple of contenders though:
The Re-animator was reasonably successful,
but to my mind it was never one of the definitive lovecraft
stories and I believe liberties were taken with the story and
tone of the piece. I'm not really in a position to judge it
as I've never actually seen it.

HP Lovecrafts Dagon was a DTV release,
and the cover does not instill confidence again I haven't seen
it but I think with bad movies at least you can generally judge
them by their cover. leastways I can't think of any good movies
with bad covers?

Call of Cthulhu by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical
Society is probably the closest direct adaption of Lovecrafts
material cleverly put together as a black and white silent movie.
Still waiting on my copy so I can't confirm this.

The Mouth Of Madness directed by John Carpenter,
starring Sam Neill looks like it should be the winner here
even though not directly adapted from a lovecraft story. And its
pretty good but its kind of heavy handed and knowing in its
Lovecraft referencing and is more Carpenter than Lovecraft,
no bad thing but not the best lovecraftian movie.

Here are a couple of movies I think are more lovecraftian even
though they don't advertise it.

Alien/Aliens - Think about it, unspeakable relentless alien
horror jarring humanity from its view as the center of the
universe.Add in a healthy does of absolute hoplessness and thats
pretty close to what we're looking for. You could even say that
Ripleyis something like the Randolph Carter character, her
encounters resulting in her ending up alien herself, or you might

Pans Labyrinth I think what really grabs me about
this movie is the fact that the 'real world' part is so real.
It's a case of the dragon in the woods, the more real the woods,
the more real the dragon. The time period (1930s) is not so far
from the period of lovecrafts stories either. This movie is
the one that convinces me of Guillermos ability to successfully
make "The Mountains of Madness".

Also an honorable mention for Hellboy with is "Ogdru Jahad" in
their crystal prison.

But back to "Mountains", to my mind the important thing to
get right is the scale of the thing. It has to be Epic (note capital E) .
The most important shot of the film? That tiny little plane slipping
through the gap in the mountains to reveal the dead alien city.

The Elder things will be tricky, Fungi-Plant-animals don't exactly
inspire terror.

But If anyone can do it Mr. del Toro can.


jonnie said...

i came across this from a goggle search, and being a big Lovecraft fan. i had to stop and read it.

now i agree if anyone can make The mountains of madness worthwhile and creepy without diverging from eh story TOO much. it's Del Toro.

unfortunately i will never expect any Lovecraft story to be faithful to the writings. Hollywood doesn't allow faithful adaptations. now i think it will be nice to see Lovecraft rise from B movie hell and get A list exposure.

Tyg said...

Hi Jonnie, thanks for stoppin by.
Hollywood has a habit of spinning things alright. Then again there are exceptions Peter Jacksons Lord of The Rings, some of the comic book adaptatations ( thinking first spider-man here).

One of the problems with adapting lovecraft is that the stories are very short(my copy of mountains is a mere 100 pages) and there is not a lot of 'action', most of the terror is in the minds of his protagonists, so a lot of filling in has to be done by the director.

which is why I put a lot of hope in this Del Toro adaptation, he's a big Lovecraft fan and he puts things together in a very similar way, starkly contrasting the fantastic with the ordinary. particularily Guillermos Spanish Civil war (cronos/pans labyrinth) and the Faerie Kingdom compared to Lovecrafts Scientific expedition and the City of the Elder things.

In truth I've sat through very few of the existing Lovecraft adaptations ( as I say couldn't bring myself to watch Dagon based on the DVD cover alone). So perhaps my optimism is misplaced.

Anyways thanks again for the comments, this is one of my favorite topics! Have to read mountains again now!

Anonymous said...

DAGON is actually one of the better Lovecraft adaptations. More "Shadow Over Innsmouth" than anything, but the extra elements add to the realism (yuppie start-up boy with friends stranded in a creepy village where the folk have sold their souls to Dagon).

Try it!

Tyg said...

Hi Anon, Thanks for posting, maybe I have been judging Dagon unfairly.
A quick check on rotten tomatoes tells me it got 60% which is pretty respectable. Maybe I'll dig it up and have a look.

Thanks again.

Asgardfury said...

Definately check out Dagon. It isnt fantastic, and it is a modernized version of "Innsmouth", (set in a spanish settlement instead of New England, called InBoca? which means in mouth) and follows the general storyline. Zadok Allen, the frantic escape from the hotel, the back story about the Marsh family, etc... More gore than creep factor, but it works pretty good.

angrytortoise said...

Hey, i didn't read the whole page, and not sure if anyone said it yet, but "The Thing" by John Carpenter imo is the most lovecraftian movie made that i've seen. It even seems like it was inspired by the mountains of madness.

Joseph said...

Hmph... First off, Dagon was a great movie. But the best Lovecraft/Lovecraftian movie would DEFINITELY be one starring Jeffrey Combs. Like come on the guy is the greatest lovecraftian actor. Lurking Fear was kind of cheesy, but a great one which was later remade dubbed Hemoglobin aka Bleeders with a different spin. -Then there's "From Beyond." Enough said.

Anonymous said...

just passing. Deep Rising is a low budget action kinda movie and the further in the film gets, the more lovecraftion it becomes with a wonderfull ending. as long as your not expecting the best film on the planet it is really a damn fun film