Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Call of Cthulhu The Celebrated Story by HP Lovecraft|
Actors: Matt Foyer, David Mersault, Noah Wagner
Director: Andrew H. Leman
Written in 1926, just before the advent of "talking" pictures, The Call of Cthulhu is one of the most famous and influential tales of H.P. Lovecraft, the father of gothic horror. Now the story is brought richly to life in ... more »
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Darwin H. (movienut) from BLOOMINGTON, MN
Reviewed on 6/28/2012...
Well I am a week late reporting back but had to tell you guys about the Microcinema's H. P. Lovecraft double feature from last Monday night.
First up was "The Call of Cthulhu". It is a black and white silent film from the horror/fantasy genre. It's only 47 minutes long and is based on Lovecraft's most famous short story which was written in 1926. The movie was released in 2005 but was produced in the 30's style to give it the mood of a much older film. There were lines running intermittently through the film, specks, etc which was very effective in giving it that old style feel.
Brief no spoiler plot summary: When a man agrees to settle the affairs of a recently deceased great uncle he discovers a bunch of old manuscripts and begins to realize his great uncle had put a lot of time and research into tracking some very strange events that were occurring all over the world. Bizarre statuettes, ritual sacrifices, and strange cults all become intertwined as he slowly unravels the mysteries of his great uncle's research. I wont say any more in case you are interested in checking it out. Word of warning...this was shot on a shoestring budget (approximately $50,000) and it shows in the very limited special effects. Still, the amount of dread and tension that is built throughout it's very short runtime was quite impressive given both it's extreme monetary constraints and the fact that it is a silent film. Well worth checking out.
Next up was the main feature "The Whisperer in Darkness" which was more of a horror/sci-fi blend. (See separate review under this title).
This has been a Movienut "no spoilers" quick review.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
This is why indie horror films are better than studio ones.
Cubist | United States | 10/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the past, adaptations of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft's short stories have been downright awful (The Dunwich Horror) or faithful in spirit only (Dagon). Some of the best efforts (In the Mouth of Madness) have been more homages to his fiction than actual adaptations. The clever folks at the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society have filmed their own adaptation of one of Lovecraft's most famous stories, "The Call of Cthulhu" and done it as a silent movie that looks and feels like it was made in the 1920s - the time period in which Lovecraft lived and set most of his stories in.
The Call of Cthulhu faithfully recreates the look of 1920s silent films complete with a slightly scratchy, artifact-laden print. The rich, black and white cinematography (filmed in Mythoscope no less) of David Robertson is fantastic. It has a texture to it that looks just as good as Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow's retro-sepia tone look but for a fraction of the budget and with no CGI anywhere to be found. The cinematography also gives the movie the atmosphere and mood of a classic horror film and creates believable and very authentic feelings of dread.
The special visual effects by Dan Novy - especially the dream sequences - are well done and totally believable within the context of the movie. A trip to a foreboding, unearthly land is something right out of Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari with a dash of Ray Harryhausen for good measure. There are a few moments where the effects take on a slightly fake quality but it only adds to the charm of the movie. In this day and age it is so refreshing to see a film that does not rely on CGI but opts for real, tangible effects that are still as effective as ever.
The film's trailer, presented in "Mythoscope" sound, effectively conveys the look of the movie without giving away too much.
"Hearing `The Call'" is a 28-minute making of featurette. One gets the impression that this was a labour of love done by a group of friends who got together and made this wonderful film. The cast and crew talk about their experiences with good humour for this highly enjoyable extra.
"Photographs From the Set" is a three minute montage of behind the scenes pictures.
There are "Production Stills" from the final film.
Finally, there are eight minutes of deleted footage, including several takes of the stop motion Cthulhu doing its thing and some amusing improvisations by the actors because they didn't have to memorize dialogue."
"What Has Risen May Sink And What Has Sunk May Rise"
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 03/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How or why is it that the most revered horror novelist of the twentieth century is unable to get any of his work translated correctly onto film? Oh yes, there have been some feeble attempts that credit his work but really don't truthfully follow his story line, or others that liberally borrow from this writings without really connecting with the true and horrible terror behind his work.
In 'The Call of Cthulhu' we finally have an honest and trustworthy attempt to capture the true indescrible horror and nature of Lovecraft's work. Leave it to his true fans, the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society to do what the large Hollywood studios have refused, or been afraid to do. It is filmed in old-fashioned silent movie fashion, which is not only perfect for the time period being depicted, but also perfectly done. There is a haunting, dream-like quality to this film that is absolutely mesmerizing. One is ultimately left to ponder whether the images being viewed are on the television screen or within the inner recesses of your mind. Truly a one-of-a-kind production!
Let's be honest, the horrific images and happenings that Lovecraft's writings inspire could never be matched on film. The human imagination will always be far superior to the images that can be provided on celloid. This film made in old fashioned silent film format comes as close as anything I have seen so far. I still hold out the hope that sometime in the near future a large studio with a big budget and an inspired director will do justice to this tale like Peter Jackson did with 'Lord of the Rings.' But until then, this is the consumate work!
My Highest Recommendation!"
They've Filmed the Unfilmable!
Prof. JiBbLe, Dr. of Thinkology | HUGHESTON, WV USA | 12/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a fan of Lovecraft, of the Val Lewton school of film-making, of the black and white version of The Outer Limits... essentially THE CALL OF CTHULHU would have had to be abysmal to not get at least a star and a half out of me. However, it is absolutely astonishing what the HPLHS crew has done with it!
A story that could well have been stodgy and static (I've often thought it could best be realized as a one-man presentation, sans sfx!) was instead fluid, suspenseful, eerie; undoubtedly the best Lovecraft adaptation I have ever seen, far superior to all the "professional" productions of the Old Gent's work.
I have very little complaint with the acting; some reviews have mentioned wooden performers, but I could not disagree more with that assessment. The scriptwriter has brilliantly solved the problems in bringing this story to the screen, beginning with the decision to make it a silent film! I recall Dan O'Bannon once stating that he couldn't get beyond Cthulhu's appearance, but Branney's framing story and finale brings the tale to a satisfying, frisson-inducing end. The Lovecraft quotes at the finish have a delightfully chilling resonance, exactly what Lovecraft himself would have hoped for, I'm sure.
Cthulhu, seen only in brief glimpses and largely manifested through shadow and the reactions of the actors faced with the horror, could not have been more alien. The animation process itself makes the entity bizarre and anomalous (see Outer Limits' "Zanti Misfits" or "It Crawled Out of the Woodwork" for other examples).
Only the fight scenes in the swamp seemed a bit ridiculous, quite stiff, underchoreographed, perhaps... but the slow crescendo of atmosphere during Castro's grim interrogation makes up for that in spades.
The Lewtonian shadows, the Ditko-esque sets, the Expressionist direction: A work of art! A must-own for any Lovecraftian or fan of the bizarre.