The Call of Cthulhu


The Call of Cthulhu is a 2005 release that was shot in the style of a silent film from the 20's. It may be the most faithful adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft work ever conceived. The story is relayed through several flashbacks. An archeologist reads the horrifying studies that his dead uncle bequeathed to him. The tall tales tell of voodoo cults and a fabled monster known as Cthulhu. The scratchy B&W cinematography gives the short film a spathe of authenticity, though the modern camera angles and the smooth scene transitions killed the retro vibe. Maybe they were supposed to. It's hard to tell. The acting is exaggerated and each cast member is layered with showy make-up. If the filmmakers were going for true authenticity, they only succeeded halfway.

It may sound like I was disappointed by
Cthulhu, but I actually liked it a lot. I adored the use of stop-motion animation to bring the titular creature to life. It was just glorious. At 45 minutes, this mute movie is never boring. The exposition is engrossing and the payoff is well worth the abbreviated wait. The sets are slightly expressionistic, an obvious homage to Faust and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. The shadow play also brings Nosferatu to mind. Lovecraft lovers will be thrilled to finally have a real adaptation at their disposal. I'm not as familiar with the man's curriculum vitae as other genre goons (shameful, I know), but I know a good Lovecraft flick when I see one. You can put this sucker on the same plateau as Re-Animator, Castle Freak (yeah, I dug it) and From Beyond.

1 comment:

  1. As a major H.P.L. fan, I was thrilled with this adaptation. 'Call' is one of my favorite stories of his, and this film version does a great job of visualizing something that many thought was unfilmable. It's not perfect, but given the budget, what these folks achieved is nothing short of amazing. Now if we could just get a good version of 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth'.