Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Strange Case of Howard Phillips Lovecraft|
Director: Patrick Mario Bernard
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary
CASE OF HOWARD PHILLIPS,THE - LOVECRAFT
Gary Morris | Portland, OR USA | 12/09/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone who knows much about Lovecraft will instantly recognize the foolishness of this "documentary" about his life. The filmmakers apparently have confused Lovecraft with the unhinged characters in his stories. In addition to his amazing, funny, and wonderful letters, there are numerous biographies of HPL (Joshi's is the standard one these days) that all paint a far different portrait of him than the one found in this overcooked, pretentious, uninformed mess. The real Lovecraft was by all accounts a highly social, gregarious man who -- despite his professed "mechanistic materialist" (aka nihilistic) worldview -- was extremely engaged with life and with his creativity and that of his friends. He was beloved by just about everyone who knew him, and there were many. Of course he had quirks and neuroses -- but there's no evidence that he was anything like the miserable, mentally ill, haunted wretch portrayed here. The visuals show an imaginative flair, but the picture of HPL is so infuriatingly wrong-headed that it ruins the film. Avoid."
Interesting Avantgarde Documentary
JP Ward | AZ, USA | 09/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm surprised to see the vociferous hatred this has received, but we have yet another film whose merits appear sharply divided by Lovecraft fans. I found this to be an interesting "avantgarde documentary" whose artsy qualities achieved a haunting atmosphere rather than simply being pretentious. It relays details of Lovecraft's life & writings narrated as if a dead spectre was reviewing Lovecraft's life as some sort of afterlife court case (hence, 'The Strange CASE of Howard Philips Lovecraft'). The narration overlays an almost amorphous stream of visuals corresponding directly or indirectly with what's being spoken, best described as a sort of astral slideshow. This isn't your usual mish-mash of talking heads & re-enactments.
Naturally, the span of 45 minutes can't express everything written in the voluminous collection of biographies & Lovecraft's own letters & essays. Anyone expecting a "straight" treatise on the life & works of Lovecraft will be disappointed (not to mention sadly misguided).
The only thing I didn't like about this documentary is that the narration at times seemed a bit too "opiniated", especially when it gets into the issue of Lovecraft's racism. For its place in a 45-minute short documentary, the amount of time spent on it comes off as preachy & too politically correct for an unidentified spectral narrator (human morality dies with death). The way his negative traits are emphasized makes the filmmakers seem as though they dislike Lovecraft, and I don't know if this is intentional (I hope not). But we must remember that this documentary was originally produced for television, and this could have played a factor in the portrayal of sensitive issues.
Regardless, I found this to be a refreshingly original & highly imaginative watch."
Aaron Vanek | Los Angeles, CA | 07/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this picture at the HP Lovecraft Film Festival in the late 90's.
It is not only my favorite documentary on Lovecraft (I've seen several), it is one of my favorite documentaries PERIOD.
The problem with doing a movie about Lovecraft is that there isn't much visual material of him: few photos, but no film or audio clips. However, there are thousands of letters and stories.
The filmmakers here have taken that challenge and crafted a film using period archival footage as well as an experimental re-creation of Lovecraft using a wooden silhouette of the man on a set (miniature or scale size, I can't recall). I think the result is brilliant.
Not only do we get a nice overview of Lovecraft's life, but we also explore the moods and feelings of his stories. By the end of the picture, I felt I could almost see the world through Lovecraft's eyes. I think that's a rare accomplishment for a biography.
But, as the other reviewers indicate, this isn't your usual History Channel-style picture. Yet I think it's a remarkable portrait of a remarkable man.
Full disclosure: I had nothing to do with this movie, but I am a Lovecraft filmmaker and aficionado. If you want a more "normal" movie about Lovecraft, try THE H.P. LOVECRAFT COLLECTION VOLUME 3 - OUT OF MIND (my first two Lovecraft movies are on that DVD)."