Monday, January 03, 2005


H.P. Lovecraft Goodness.

More good news from Ain't It Cool: not only did someone find extra minutes to the classic horror flick From Beyond, there are plans to re-release on DVD with the footage.

For those readers who've never been blessed with seeing this gem of a film, let me just tell you that you'll never look at a woman in leather and chains quite the same way again.

From Beyond was the sibling to the Re-Animator films, also by the same director, Stuart Gordon. Gordon also directed 2001's Dagon, based on my favorite Lovecraft story, The Shadow Over Innsmouth. To date, these are still the best films ever made based from H.P. Lovecraft tales (albeit very loosely based).

Sadly, there have only been a handful of even decent films based on Lovecraft's work. In addition to Gordon's work, there's the classic AIP movie The Dunwich Horror, and John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness, which was a disappointment.

Interestingly enough, to date, the best Lovecraft movies aren't even based on Lovecraft stories. Meaning, some movies feel like they're based on H.P. Lovecraft stories even if they're not. A lot of Stephen King and Clive Barker feel similar, but my vote goes to Carpenter's The Thing, which featured not only a very typical Lovecraftian monster, but also emphasized the psychological paranoia aspects of his writing. Ditto the original Alien, and the designs of H.R. Giger.

To be honest, examined from an academic perspective Lovecraft wasn't all that great. Don't get me wrong, he's one of my favorite writers; in fact, probably my *favorite* fiction writer. Still, I recognize the pulpy-- not to mention repetitive-- aspects of Lovecraft's writing. A lot of what he wrote is pure cheese. But it's damn good cheese, using incredible amounts of detail and imagination.

BTW, if you want to read his stories online, here's a great H.P. Lovecraft archive to get your fill.

Anyways, until the truly great Lovecraft adaptation comes along (AICN keeps talking about a Guillermo Del Toro version of At The Mountains Of Madness), I'll stick to enjoying the fun movies that are out there.

For now, all hail the Great Cthulhu, the destroyer of worlds.

More Cthulhu Legos here.

UPDATE: D'oh! I can't believe I didn't mention the Evil Dead films, starring Lovecraft's most famous McGuffin, the Necronomicon. Although, to be fair, Lovecraft probably never thought to make it funny.

I am always surprised to find another HP Lovecraft fan. His stuff was bizarrely spooky way before the King era. Not sure I would call him my favorite fiction writer though, since some of his stuff--the weird outerspace goat thing for example--made my head hurt worse than a bad acid trip. If I had ever had one of course.

Don't forget "Die Monster Die" with Boris Karloff, a loose - but awesome - adaption of the Colour from Space.
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