Search - The H.P. Lovecraft Collection, Vol. 1: Cool Air on DVD

The H.P. Lovecraft Collection, Vol. 1: Cool Air
The HP Lovecraft Collection Vol 1 Cool Air
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
UR     2008     2hr 20min


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Movie Details

Creator: H.P. Lovecraft
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Microcinema
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 05/27/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 2hr 20min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 18
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Why am I Afraid of a Draught of Cool Air?
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 12/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The works of venerable horror writer H.P. Lovecraft have, in many ways, become the backbone of the genre, especially cinematic horror. An astonishing number of relatively contemporary horror flicks and genre TV shows--everything from 1965's DIE, MONSTER, DIE through Rod Serling's series THE NIGHT GALLERY (1970s) to Sam Raimi's THE EVIL DEAD (1981)--have either borrowed elements from Lovecraft's literary mythos or attempted to adapt one of his stories. But in spite of the writer's influence on horror cinema, few filmmakers have been able to accurately or faithfully translate Lovecraft's works to either the small or large screen. At best, most attempts to adapt Lovecraft either vaguely evoke the nihilistic subtext of the author's work (e.g., Stuart Gordon's 1985 classic RE-ANIMATOR) or pay simple homage by making a reference or two (as Raimi does by building his EVIL DEAD stories around Lovecraft's ubiquitous fictional book of the occult, the Necronomicon). Bryan Moore's COOL AIR is a standout exception to this rule.

Set sometime around the 1920s, COOL AIR tells the story of a young writer who befriends a mysterious and reclusive physician, Dr. Muñoz, who resides in his same tenement house. Though Muñoz has a medical condition that requires him to remain in his constantly frigid apartment, the two men visit together often and become very close. But when something happens to the cooling unit that controls the temperature in good doctor's apartment, the writer learns more about his friend's condition than perhaps he ever wanted to know.

Although the original story is devoid of any real dialogue--indeed, the Lovecraft's narrator recounts his experience in what is very nearly a straight soliloquy--the filmmakers, out of dramatic necessity, use dialogue to reinterpret portions of Lovecraft's written word. Still, the film is not dialogue heavy. The filmmakers also skillfully employ unusual camera angles, light and shadow, sound design, and music to skillfully recreate all of the subtle, almost intangible uneasiness--and, ultimately, the horrible denouement--of the Lovecraft work.

Of course, the actors also aid immensely in conveying both the art and horror of the original story. Vera Lockwood is delightful as the curmudgeonly landlady of the tenement house. And as the young writer who befriends the mysterious Dr. Muñoz, Bryan Moore--who also wrote the script and directed--creates a thoroughly convincing sense of credulity and naiveté. But it is the venerable Jack Donner, portraying Dr. Muñoz, who steals the show. Donner has created numerous characters over the years on everything from classic STAR TREK to BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER to a recurring role on the soap GENERAL HOSPITAL, and here he uses those skills to adeptly convey the grandfatherly and cultured facets of Muñoz while simultaneously maintaining the sense that something horrifying lurks just beneath the facade.

The DVD edition of Moore's COOL AIR is well worth the price of admission. It features a pristine copy of the film--be aware that the film as shot in black-and white, and faux scratches and grain were deliberately added to give the sense that the film was actually shot in the era in which the story is set--in its original Academy aspect ratio (essentially 1.33:1), and the soundtrack (in Pro Logic two-channel surround) is very crisp and clear. The disc is also chock-full of extras, including four other short films inspired by Lovecraft works, a making-of featurette entitled BEHIND THE MACHINE, an interview with Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi, and more. A must-have for Lovecraft fans and those who appreciate well-crafted, "old-school" horror cinema."
Great adaptation
C. S. Nelson | Midwest, U.S.A. | 03/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When I first recieved this video I have to admit that it took me almost a week to watch it. After having read the original story by author H. P. Lovecraft and after hearing so many terrible things about other movies based off of his work, I was reluctant to even open the plastic wrapping. I was afraid that watching Cool Air would in the end be a waste of time.

Was I ever wrong.

At the end of the movie I was in a state of near shock. I do not know how else to put it, really. There are only really three roles that get any real screen time in the movie - The Landlady, The Renter and Dr. Munoz - but each of the actors brings a wonderful feeling of being present in the film. In addition the way that this film was made helps to surrender your sense of disbelief - the scratchy film amd the odd noises heard in the sound track all help the viewer to surrender to the idea that this is in actuality a much older film than it really is.

I cannot recommend this film highly enough. If you are a fan of Lovecraft, then you should see this film as soon as you can. If you enjoy horror movies and can see horror beyond bucket fulls of gore, then this is a movie for you. On the other hand if you think "Friday the Thirteenth" or "Nightmare on Elm Street" are great horror movies, well, this may not be for you."
A Wonderful and Faithful Adaptation
W. H. Pugmire | Sesqua Valley | 09/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of the finest Lovecraftian cinematic adaptations I have ever seen, beautifully photographed, superbly written, magnificently performed. Jack Donner, who portrays Doctor Munoz, gives an exceptionally poignant performance, one that deeply touches the heart and soul. The handsome Brian Moore, who directed the film, also co-stars, and does a very good job indeed. The film comes with a very amusing bonus interview with the film's cast and crew. Also included in this DVD is an interview with the world's leading Lovecraft scholar, S. T. Joshi, plus bonus short film's including Christian Matzke's haunting rendition of H. P. Lovecraft's NYARLATHOTEP. Brilliant and utterly Lovecraftian to the core! Yog-Sothoth!"
H.P. No-Craft
Louis Barbarelli | San Francisco, CA USA | 06/06/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I rented this because I'm a big fan of H.P. Lovecraft's, but, even though most screen adaptions of his work are disappointing, this one was unexpectedly bad. It's a very low-budget effort with some of the worst acting I've ever seen on film. I'm thinking particularly of the actress who plays the landlady; she doesn't merely chew the scenery, she swallows it whole. And her Italian accent is the worse I've ever heard. The guy who plays Dr. Munoz is only slightly better. Writer/director/actor Bryan Moore, who reminds me a lot of Night Court's Harry Anderson, fares best as the guy who lives in the room beneath the doctor's.

The adaptation is very wordy: the characters recite the things that happened to them, so there's very little physical action. No character in the film ever acts anything out if they can talk or write a letter about it instead. That works on the printed page, but generates boredom in a visual medium.

It also seemed that very effort was made to spare expense, including the complete avoidance of special effects, even in places where they were essential. I realize Moore probably was trying to use restraint, as well as save bucks, by suggesting the horror rather than showing it. But that approach was taken too far. If I wanted to visualize all the horror in my mind, I'd read the short story and not bother with the film (which is actually a pretty good idea.)