THE CALL OF CTHULHUMOVIE REVIEW
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Don't you hate when your parents both die in an asylum and you spend your life unappreciated and near poverty and die of cancer in your forties and only then, after you’re dead, do people recognize what a friggin' genius you were? Don't you hate that?
H.P. Lovecraft (what a cool name!), eloquently wrote about many horrible, ugly things. This guy knew more synonyms for "dank" than I thought existed. He did the bulk of his writing in the 1920's and that's when he wrote one of his most famous stories: "The Call of Cthulhu". Among the modern fans of Lovecraft's writing, this story is especially memorable because it provides us with our rallying cry: "Cthulhu ftagn!" (Cthulhu sleeps).
Some especially ambitious modern fans decided to make a movie from this great story. But they did it in a very interesting way: as a silent film. The movie is made as if a silent film was made in 1925, just after the story was published.
THE CALL OF CTHULHU was directed by Andrew Leman and was based on a screenplay written by Sean Branney. It doesn't completely look like a silent film from the twenties – many images are just too crisp – but you get over that pretty quick and accept it for what it is.
The story opens with a sad man (Matt Foyer) in what we gradually find out is an asylum. We never learn his name (he's referred to in the credits as "The Man"). He's speaking to his attorney (I think – that's not made clear either), asking him to burn some files relating to the Cthulu Cult. In a series of flashbacks we learn how this man got involved and eventually obsessed with this strange cult.
The files were started by his great uncle who died a few years before. He told the man about them on his death bed and that's where the obsession began. What follows are several stories about the cult, sometimes involving his great uncle and sometimes involving himself. The flashbacks get a little tricky to follow at times because often during a story characters within it recount things through flashbacks of their own, so we're often two or three flashbacks deep.
The stories take us from the swamps outside New Orleans to the cliffs of Greenland to a remote island in the South Pacific. The atmosphere is grim and menacing in each, just as it should be. And at the end you actually get to see…
But that's enough. I enjoyed the short movie (47 minutes) very much, but if you're not a Lovecraft fan and you have trouble getting into the silent movie format then your mileage may vary. The special effects are pretty cheesy in places but keep in mind that they were trying to duplicate what effects would have been possible in 1925.
The extras on the DVD, especially the "making of" featurette, are worth your time because you really get a feel for the respect the filmmakers have for Lovecraft. They are dedicated fans and they're also pretty funny horror geeks. The story of what they were able to accomplish for virtually no money is fascinating.
I give THE CALL OF CTHULHU a four on the shriek girl scale.
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