Friday, February 03, 2006

Guest Blog: Lovecraft in the Movies

By J.T. O'Connor

Hollywood has not been good to HP Lovecraft. The first movie, "The
Dunwich Horror", starred Sandra Dee, and had Dean Stockwell as
the "monster" Wilbur Whately. An attempt to make a Derleth/Lovecraft
movie, "The Shuttered Room", starred Carol Lynley and Gig Young. Then
there were the horrible attempts, such as the "Unnameable" series, or
the "Cthulhu Mansion" movies. In fact, there has never been a movie
made by a major studio and based on Lovecraft that was any good at
all. Why should this be?

Hollywood seems most impressed with blood, gore, spewing entrails,
heads lopped off and horrible ugly monsters. That wasn't Lovecraft's
idea of horror. Oh, Lovecraft did have his gory scenes, but they were
just that, scenes, and not necessarily the main point of the story.
The main point of Lovecraft was the cosmic horror of the Great Old
Ones breaking through again and clearing the Earth. Hollywood screen
writers are just too stupid and uncreative to make anything out of

Having said that, there is one major studio release that is worth
seeing. "The Resurrected" is a rather nice make of "The Case of
Charles Dexter Ward". The movie replaces Dr Willett with Ward's wife
and a private detective, but the rest of the story is pretty much the
same as the original. It's a rather understated, subtle telling of
the story, and fairly well done. It stars Chris Sarrandon as Ward and
Curwen, Jane Sibbett as Mrs Ward and John Terry as the private
detective. It's available on Amazon, and if you haven't seen it, give
it a try.

The most wonderful movie based on Lovecraft, though, is "The Call of
Cthulhu" made by the HP Lovecraft Historical Society. It's black and
white, and silent, but it is true to what is in my opinion the finest
of Lovecraft's tales. This movie is developed as the story was, and
even the appearance of a stop action puppet Cthulhu doesn't
disappoint. The movie makers use shadow and brief glimpses to hide
the toy quality, and it works. This movie is available at, which is the website of the HP Lovecraft Historical
. They also have a full page of some rather neat, if somewhat
pricey, Lovecraft shirts, statues and toys.

Until major studios learn that blood, gore and horrible monsters are
not the most important parts of a horror movie, though, there will
probably never be a REALLY good Lovecraft movie made by a major
studio. That is unfortunate.


Thanks, J.T.

Don't foget to check out J.T.'s and James Layne's book, The Coming of T'loal

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