The Call of Cthulhu review by The Grim Ringler

The Call of Cthulhu

The Call of Cthulhu

Wow. That’s what I have to say – wow. It is rare to find an indie film that tackles a literary project, and rarer still that you find people with the guts to tackle such hard material as the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Here you have a low-budget adaptation of one of Lovecraft’s most famous short stories, and one that has influenced some of modern horrors biggest names, so, in the world of horror, this is a pretty gutsy undertaking. And Lovecraft isn’t an author people seem to have the easiest of times adapting. Far from it. In fact, the most successful adaptations have been more interpretations or homage than straight adaptation. So, having said all this, maybe you can see why this film excited me so much. It’s not just a good adaptation; it’s a great one.

Set in the 1920s (and filmed like a silent film, with title cards for dialogue and filmed in black and white), this is a tale of horror to come. A story about uncovering truth so horrible that its very existence changes the very future of Mankind. A young archeologist is going through his uncle’s things after the man’s death and the nephew happens upon a curious box with a strange lock. Finding the key, the nephew begins sorting through the papers and comes across a strange case the uncle had been working on called the Cthulhu Cult. Pushing deeper into the notes the man learns that his uncle believed there was a secret cult in existence who practiced human sacrifice and evil rituals in the name of heretofore undiscovered gods and monsters. Gods and monsters that were said to be waiting for the stars to align so they might rise and rule again. Shaken but nonplussed the man puts the research away and turns his mind back to his own work. It’s sheer coincidence that leads him to come across an old news article detailing the strange occurrences upon a ship that had lost all its crew but one man that was said to have gone mad after the ship came across an uncharted island. Obsessed with this new clue and with the mystery of this cult and what that island – an island that had been discussed in sessions between his uncle and an artist haunted by frightening dreams – the young scientist crosses the globe in search of answers. What he finds though are more mysteries and an answer that is more frightening than anything he could have imagined. That perhaps it’s all true, perhaps there are great, hideous things that are older than Time itself and have been waiting for the right time to reclaim the earth.

I can’t sing enough praises about the production of this film. Shooting in black and white (for reasons of style as well as budget) and without spoken dialogue brings so much more style and mystery to the story, and it perfectly nails the feeling of dread that hangs over all of Lovecraft’s works. I was even astounded that there was stop motion in the film. The film is a short, clocking in at less than fifty minutes, but, again, that works here as there is no filler or needless additions to the story. They took what was written and went with that. And with as minimal as the budget must have been, this is an ambitious film.

And yes, some of the effects show that it was a low budget film, and some may call the ideas in the film hokey, but I think that any fan of Lovecraft and of minimalist horror in the vein of Curse of the Demon will love this film. I know I do.


9 out of 10 Jackasses
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