Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Call of Cthulhu the Silent Movie
Two years ago at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival there was a lot of buzz in the air about a new independent film titled The Call of Cthulhu based on the original 1926 Lovecraft story. This weird horror tale has often been called unfilmable. Usually, the alien god’s name, Cthulhu, gets sprinkled into crappy to mediocre films for flavor but any serious depiction of him or the story he exists in was notably absent. Fans of Lovecraft’s style of horror have lamented the lack of good adaptations of his work and have had settle for merely Lovecraft inspired shows. Well, with the release of The Call of Cthulhu Film in 2005 a tipping point was reached and a threshold passed. The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society (HPLHS), a media company dedicated adapting his works, presented their two-year effort. I found the project both entertaining and faithful.
What made the unfilmable story filmable was the HPLHS’s conceit of making a silent picture. Here the cast and crew would recreate The Call of Cthulhu as if it had been produced when the original story came out in the 1920s. This was a masterstroke of inspiration in my opinion. The black and white film approach solved many technical problems while evoking the time and space of the short story. Also, Lovecraft’s words didn’t become underwhelming with the delivery by actors but are enhanced with the use of text on the screen. Many places and effects needed in The Call of Cthulhu are created using models and film trickery of the silent era which makes the viewing much more authentic. A few folks have expressed disappointment with the monster Cthulhu in the film but I rather liked his depiction. To me, he looked like a representation of what makes him so awful, plus some bloated CG effect wouldn’t have worked either. In this case representational is better than realistic… how could somebody make Cthulhu, look realistic anyway.
At that film fest in October 2005, I vowed to pick up a copy of the film someday. Well, at the Emerald City Comic Con I did. I watched it again with much joy (and fright). If you are a Lovecraft fan this is the real deal. The Call of Chtulhu finally achieves the desire for a good movie adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s work.
Here’s the Trailer: