Sure, eleven years is a long time on the Internet… but when our readers began referring to us as “Great Old Ones”, we really weren’t sure how to take it. Then the chanting began, and we realized they weren’t talking about us at all: they were summoning something terrible from the depths of the cosmos.
A quick look at the prophecies on page 22 of the Classic Comics edition of the Necronomicon shewed — excuse me; showed us what we could expect: when the stars were right, it said, it was just remotely possible that a movie could be made from the writings of H.P. Lovecraft that didn’t stink with the noisome foetor of shoggoth poop.
Could such things be? It had happened so few times through the aeons that the very idea strained the bounds of credulity. Yet before long we received an urgent message from Sandy Petersen, master of eldritch lore and legendary creator of the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game. From beyond time, the Elder Gods had sent forth a new message: The Whisperer in Darkness was about to be released to the theaters and video screens of an unsuspecting world…
Would this new movie haunt the dreams of mankind, inspiring people all over the world to cast off their slumber and throng in the streets, crying, “Iä! Iä!” Or would it be so bad it cleared the earth of the mass of humanity, paving the way for the return of the Old Ones? And where did it fit among the arcana of Lovecraft adaptations?
Read on, o wanderer in the aetherial darkness, and find out…
|Site||Movie||Glimpse of the Unmentionable|
|And You Call Yourself A Scientist!||The Haunted Palace (1963)||Now, obviously, there are certainly difficulties attached to making a film about things that can’t be imagined, which probably explains why it was more than a quarter of a century after Lovecraft’s death before anyone attempted to adapt any of his stories for the screen. And even when Howard Phillips did finally make it into cinemas, he had to suffer the indignity of being disguised as someone else.|
|And You Call Yourself A Scientist!||Die, Monster, Die! (1965)||The main trouble with Die, Monster, Die! is that it just can’t make up its mind what kind of movie it is: whether it is an eek!-radiation! movie, or a horrors-from-beyond movie. It doesn’t even seem internally sure; that is, whether first Letitia, and then Nahum, are in fact right when they blame their woes upon Corbin Witley’s curse, or whether they are simply imposing their guilt and fear upon a natural, albeit disastrous, phenomenon. Mysteriousness is fine, and so is misdirection; but you like to feel confident that at least the director and the writer were clear on what was going on, and here you never are.|
|Badmovies.org||Dagon||In addition to being spooky in the conversation department, the people of Imboca have pale, clammy-looking skin, bizarre webbing between their fingers, and they never blink. Weirdo freakos, man. Them not blinking is a rather nice touch, even if it looks like the effect was accomplished by the actors wearing uncomfortable contact inserts. The villagers also tend to wander around with rusty knives and farming implements. The only place I have ever been that is scarier than Imboca is West Virginia.
Ah, West Virginia, where the people outnumber the teeth.
|Braineater||Cthulhu (2000)||Coming straight from her father’s death-bed, Asenath finds Edward, who approaches her car with a warm smile. But Asenath merely opens the front door of the car, gestures coldly for him to retrieve her bag, and stalks away without a word. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is our first and only indication that Asenath Waite has transformed into a hard-hearted monster. That’s it. That’s half of chapter two and all of chapter three of Lovecraft’s five-chapter story, condensed into a single wordless gesture.|
|Cold Fusion Video Reviews||Colour From the Dark (2008)||Eventually, the strange glow in the well migrates around, cloaking the area around the house with pulsing mists at night and assaulting Lucia, possessing her. “It’s not me!” Lucia claims after she hurts someone. “It was it!” (Because why hire Debbie Rochon for a role if you’re not going to have her be seductive and/or batshit insane?)|
|The Unknown Movies||The Curse (1987)||You might think that having a bunch of Italians in the credits, including Lucio Fulci (billed here as “Louis Fulci”) acting as an associate producer, that were would be plenty of bloody guts and other good gross stuff. But the few times that the movie bothers to try and deliver us some of the goods, it screws this up as well. The movie’s idea of what should be a big horrifying moment is when Wheaton’s sister goes to feed the chickens and she is knocked down and pecked by the chickens.|
|1000 Misspent Hours and Counting||The Shuttered Room (1967)||“The Shuttered Room” was the headlining story in the first Arkham House book to feature Derleth’s team-ups from beyond the grave, and maybe more than any other such tale, it demonstrates the dreary folly of the entire enterprise. Simply put, it’s a limp sequel to both “The Dunwich Horror” and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” which brings a collateral descendant of the former tale’s Whately clan back to the old homestead to face an “ancestral horror in the attic” situation rehashed from “The Lurking Fear,” with one of Innsmouth’s frog-like human-merman hybrids now residing in the locked room formerly occupied by the less human of the original Whately brothers. It bears an embarrassing resemblance to Maurice Sandoz’s gonzo gothic, The Maze, and fans who wish for some reason to see a faithful film version of “The Shuttered Room” would be much better served by the 1953 Allied Artists adaptation of that novel than by the official Shuttered Room movie shot in Britain for Warner Brothers/Seven Arts a decade and a half later.|
|Jabootu’s Bad Movie Dimension||Lurking Fear (1994)||In the end I wasn’t even sure there were going to be any other creatures than the one, but there prove to be maybe half a dozen, far short of the teeming hordes Lovecraft described. And they don’t really do much of anything, just sitting around (probably because their make-up jobs wouldn’t hold up to much jostling) in the basement and letting the one guy with the better make-up job do all the work.|