10 Essential Movies Based on HP Lovecraft Works



Dozens of films have been screened throughout the 21 years of the HP Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon. Here are 10 remarkable selections, portals, if you will, into the cinematic universe inspired by the works of the event’s namesake. If you find yourself infected with the Lovecraft virus, a number of movies can be purchased at Arkham Bizarre.

Director: Shawn linden
Year: 2006


This neo noir thriller features a black grease paint killer accused of botching the job by the mafia boss who hired him. Soon after, the anonymous killer is tracked down and shot by another dark figure. Things get really weird when the killer meets an old witch with a penchant for singing worms and a locked walkway to which he does not have the key. Whenever he wakes up after passing out, he finds himself following his own footsteps minutes before his previous actions. Something a Memento backwards, Anybody will infuriate you with its impenetrability or intrigue you with its puzzles regarding the nature of identity.

Director: Dan Gildark
Year: 2007


This wacky contemporary take on Lovecraft’s novel “Shadow Over Innsmouth” reimagines the main character as a gay history teacher, Russell, who reluctantly returns to his hometown of Astoria, Oregon, for his mother’s funeral. . The cult leader father estranged from Russell enlists his sister and various cult members to persuade him to return to the fold, renounce his sexuality and ultimately claim his fate in a sinister aquatic family heirloom. Scenes of apocalyptic and environmental havoc, surreal imagery, and a surprising appearance by Tori Spelling as a member of the horny cult determined to carry Russell’s love child make it a provocative and very pleasurable experience.

Director: Ricardo harrington
Year: 2000


Gilberto Villarroel, the BBC’s Chilean correspondent, won a scriptwriting competition, and with him, reels of 16mm film. From those humble beginnings, Villarroel and his friend, director Ricardo Harrington, have created a masterful cover of one of Lovecraft’s short stories, “Pickman’s Model”. A journalist on the verge of madness investigates the brutal murder of one of his colleagues. His only lead is that his friend was working on a profile of transgressive American artist Richard Upton Pickman, referred to as a “smelly wizard”. Rich in atmosphere and sticking to the saying “suggest, don’t show” as his MO, Chilean Gothic revel in the power of art, illustrating that there are consequences in looking too long into the abyss.

Director: Bryan moore
Year: 1999

Winner of the best film in 1999 at the festival, Fresh air is a real labor of love. Director Brian Moore has found the perfect building for the film, an old brownstone in Los Angeles. The owner ultimately refused to let him approach the property. Like a determined filmmaker, he burst into space every weekend for a month, hauled all his gear, and let his cast and crew in. Actor Jack Donner (Star Trek, Buffy the vampire slayer) brings an air of dignified elegance to his performance as Dr Muñoz, a specialist in unconventional methods used to prolong life. The sophisticated doctor suffers from a strange illness which forces him to keep his room at freezing temperatures. When the Doctor’s strange air conditioning unit breaks down, young neighbor Randolph Carter (Moore himself) discovers the disturbing reason why the good doctor has to keep his apartment so cold.

Director: Stuart gordon
Year: 2005


Director Stuart Gordon is a longtime friend of the festival, appearing as a special guest, even showcasing a few treasures seen nowhere else, like a video of the actors reading the table Re-host: The Musical. In 2005, Gordon created his surprisingly literal interpretation of Dreams in the witch’s house, an episode of the Showtime series Masters of Horror. Physics student Walter Gilman (Ezra Godden) rents a cheap room in a boarding house to discover that the unusual angles and planes of the walls create a mathematical configuration that allows 17th-century witch Keziah Mason (Susanna Uchatius) and his demonic service animal, the rat Brown Jenkin (Yevgen Voronin), to bypass the laws of space and time so they can wreak havoc in the contemporary world of Arkham.

Director: John strysik
Year: 1980


The film that kicked off the HP Lovecraft Film Festival, director John Strysik’s loving homage to classic history is a moody symphonic poem about the power of art to literally open doors – or in this case, windows – to other worlds. The most striking sequence is a low budget special effects extravaganza at the end of the film that gives more than a nod to astronaut David Bowman’s cosmic journey at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Director: Huan Vu
Year: 2010


German-born son of Vietnamese emigrants, director Huan Vu devised a moody reinterpretation of “The Color Out of Space”, winning awards at several international film festivals after the fact. A young American follows the trail of his missing father in a small town in Germany. There, a resident tells him a disturbing story about a crashed meteor whose radioactive fumes devastated the countryside and drove a farming family mad. Filmed entirely in black and white, with the exception of “Color”, Die Farbe is a captivating work reminiscent of German expressionist cinema. Renowned Lovecraft scholar ST Joshi touted the entry as “the best film adaptation of Lovecraft ever made.”

Directors: Andrew Leman and Sean Branney
Year: 2005/2011

Call of Cthulhu.jpg

The HP Lovecraft Historical Society, an organization based in Glendale, Calif., Produces films, radio series, music, replica props, and a live role-playing game called Cthulhu lives. They imagine a world where Lovecraft was extremely famous during his lifetime and publish works created in the style of the 1920s and 1930s. As an example, their production of Call of Cthulhu uses a blend of modern technology and ancient cinematic techniques to authentically bring the story to the screen like a lost 1920s silent film. The Whisper in Darkness is reminiscent of classic 1930s monster movies. Both are masterful independent productions, staying true to the source material while delivering original and entertaining interpretations that seem like true relics of a past that might have been.

Director: Raymond Saint-Jean
Year: 1998


Originally developed for Canadian television, this short, part documentary and part modernized replay of several short stories, is one of the best introductions to the fictional world of HP Lovecraft. Always impressive, Christopher Heyerdahl (Real blood, Hell on wheels) is quite impressive as an old gentleman from Providence. His performance is so fair that some viewers first wondered where the old news footage of Lovecraft discussing his work had been unearthed.

Director: David Prieur
Year: 2008


One of the most impressive debuts of the festival, that of David Prior AM 1200 is a truly disturbing story about the dangers of taking the wrong path in life. On the run after successfully putting an end to an embezzlement scheme, former executive Sam Larson (Eric Lange) gets lost on California country roads. He hears a call for help from a host on a religious radio station, which he chooses to ignore. When his car eventually breaks down outside the same station, Larson discovers bloody acts in which the mystery of which god the broadcasters really serve is revealed. It’s a shame that Prior didn’t have the chance to follow this elegant, at times downright confusing and masterful film, despite the praise of fellow director David Fincher. An incredible tracking shot that follows a road on a map, dissolves into an aerial shot of the actual road with a car rolling over it, and zooms in on the car’s sunroof to end up with a photo of Larson driving you explode disturbs.

Joe Pettit Jr. is a writer based in Eugene, Oregon. He wrote reviews for the All Music Guide to Soul: The Definitive Guide to R&B and Soul. He has also written for print and online publications including Scope of the video, Ugly things, Pictures and the All the online music guide.

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