Tuesday, October 14, 2014

#1,520. The Call of Cthulhu (2005)

Directed By: Andrew Leman

Starring: Matt Foyer, John Bolen, Ralph Lucas

Tag Line: "This Spring, the Stars Will at Last Be Right"

Trivia: Named an official selection of the feature competition at the 2006 Slamdance Film Festival

Based on the H.P. Lovecraft story of the same name, The Call of Cthulhu is an oddity in that it is a black and white silent film produced in 2005, yet designed to look as if it was released in the 1920’s. More than a novelty, this approach also proves the most effective way to relate its unusual story.

While browsing through the papers of his recently deceased great-uncle (Ralph Lucas), a man (Matt Foyer), whose name is never revealed, stumbles upon information about a strange cult centering on a mythical creature named Cthulhu. The deeper he delves into the cult, the more confused he becomes, realizing all the while that his attempts to piece this mystery together could cost him his sanity.

Stylistically, The Call of Cthulhu is an impressive film, successfully capturing the look and feel of a silent-era motion picture. With a bombastic score composed by, among others, Chad Fifer and Ben Holbrook, the movie pays homage to (among others) The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, notably in the scenes that recreate the disturbing nightmares of Henry Wilcox (Chad Fifer), a man the lead’s great uncle had interviewed years earlier. With their sharp angles and surreal atmosphere, these dream sequences are among the movie's most creative. Yet as strong as these moments are, it’s the grand finale, in which sailors are attacked by Cthulhu himself, that will stay with you.

To be honest, I have very little experience with the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, and never read the short story on which The Call of Cthulhu was based. Being a horror fan, I know at some point I'll check out his work, and if it’s anywhere near as intriguing as this movie, I’m now looking forward to it!


David said...

Doc, I am definitely going to have to check this one out, it is right up my street. I have no idea how it's passed me by and I'm very grateful to you for bringing it to my attention!

I've read a fair bit of Lovecraft and I definitely recommend checking some of his stuff out. Dialogue and character development wise he's somewhat lacking and his prose has a tendency towards stiffness and verbosity but the conceptual scope and imagination of his stories is almost unequalled. My favourite of his is actually "Dagon". It's very short but simultaneously vivid and nightmarish. It also bares little resemblance to the Stuart Gordon film which is actually based on "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" I believe.

Jennifer Garlen said...

This is a great picture and a real tribute to both Lovecraft and silent horror. So glad to see another blogger giving it some much deserved attention!

Peter Nielsen said...

This looks and sounds like a must-see! Thanks for the heads up, Dave!

James Robert Smith said...

This film is absolutely amazing. Everyone who likes horror films and who enjoy Lovecraftian stuff should see it! It borders on brilliance. There's also a very funny making-of addition on the DVD that I watched for this film.