Friday, August 21, 2009

Likecraft: The Call of Cthulhu (2005) + Something I missed

Before I step away completely from the debacle that was the 2007 film Cthulhu, I need to add something that I forgot in my haste to get the review up. According to the Wikipedia page on the film, they made some rather curious promotional material. The strangest is a fake interview with H.P. Lovecraft himself done in an old newsreel style. See it here if you would like. While I will give them a point for creativity and a point for style, I will also deduct 6,000,000,000 for any implied consent/interest by the long-dead author. If you are not even going to attempt to do his stories right, do not pretend that he would endorse them!
Today's film stands in stark contrast to the previous one due to two things: creativity and love of the source material. What a concept! It is a low-budget film that has made its way onto DVD somehow. I don't know the means, but I'm glad that it happened. This is the concept behind it in a nutshell: Lovecraft lived during the Silent Era (he died in 1937), so they made a film in the style that would have been made during his lifetime. It is like how a lot of Stephen King's first films are very '80s or Michael Crichton's works are very '70s. Without further ado, I bring you...
The Call of Cthulhu
Our story begins with a group of sailors discovering a mysterious ship in the ocean after a storm. It is abandoned, save for one dying man. They help him and hear a tale about some treasure on a nearby island. The narrative jumps to a professor who gets a letter about his great-uncle's death. He shows up and hears a strange tale of ancient power and a mysterious book. He is warned not to investigate, but, like every literary protagonist, he ignores the warning. The ensuing night he is haunted by bad dreams- maybe he should have listened.
This is a short film (47 minutes), so I'm going to be a bit more brief here than usual. The sailors end up on the island and investigate it. After a little while, they are alerted by a thunderous sound. A dark shadow emerges and they all flee down the giant rocks. The beast reveals itself as...Cthulhu. The Deep Old One is angry and hungry, neither of which proves too good for our heroes. One of them makes it back to land, but is not entirely sane anymore. Can you blame him?
There is a bit more to the film, but I won't spoil it for you. The key to the review is to state that the film is a loving rendition of the story with only a few changes here and there. Plus, Cthulhu himself makes an appearance, which is impressive even in stop-motion form. A true Cthulhu done by someone like Guillermo Del Toro still eludes us...for now. You have to be in a weird state of mind for films like this and the remake of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, another film that blends updated effects with love for the source material. If you can accept that the filmmakers intentionally made a silent film in sepia, you can have a good time. Hell, web icon The Spoony One does- the poster makes an appearance on his wall in nearly all of his older videos (he recently moved and redecorated). Rent and enjoy.
Up next, a bad action film from the 1970s that pretends to be a sequel. This should be interesting. Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. Ive been wanting to see this one for years, Ive read nothing but rave reviews about it so Ill be sure to track it down, thanks for reminding me!