Tag Archives: movies

The Summer of Lovecraft: Cthulhu (2007)

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“Welcome home to the end of the world.”

Directed by Daniel Gildark
Starring Jason Cottle, Scott Green, Richard Garfield, Cara Buono and Tori Spelling

The Story

Written in 1931, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” is a story of a corrupted seaside town with a dark secret. The narrator visits the port of Innsmouth, where he discovers that the locals have a distinctive “look” and that strange things are afoot. When a talkative local soak tells the narrator that the townsfolk have made a pact with the “Deep Ones” — humanoid undersea creatures — the local cult, the Esoteric Order of Dagon, pursues him. Eventually he gets away, but he discovers that the heritage of the town is in his blood and that he too will begin the metamorphosis into a Deep One.

Happyfett’s Note: A particularly popular source of literary inspiration, ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth’ has produced not one, but at least three volumes of more or less faithful (often much less) tribute fiction. Reviews of the first volume, Shadows Over Innsmouth can be found on my books blog.

The Film

In the near future, the world is falling apart as a result of political strife and climate change. University professor Russel Marsh (Cottle) receives word that his mother has died. Reluctantly, he returns to his hometown of Rivermouth in coastal Washington, where he discovers that strange things are afoot. When Marsh goes against the sinister cult run by his father, the cult frames him for a crime he didn’t commit. Society begins to break down as the cult’s plan comes to fruition, and Marsh has to choose between his father’s schemes and his growing but uncertain relationship with childhood sweetheart Mike (Green). summerattemp2

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The Summer of Lovecraft: The Unnamable Returns (1992)

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AKA The Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter

Directed by Jean-Paul Ouellette
Starring Mark Kinsey Stephenson, Charles Klausmeyer, John Rhys-Davies, Julie Strain and David Warner

The Story

Well, we covered “The Unnamable” in the previous entry, but this one also claims to be based on “The Statement of Randolph Carter.” Written in 1919, but published in 1920, this story is a fictional rendering of a dream Lovecraft had in which he and his friend Samuel Loveman were exploring a mysterious underground crypt. There’s not an enormous amount to it — it’s all atmosphere and menace — but if you remember the previous film, you’ll remember that the filmmakers didn’t let the story’s brevity stop them.

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The Summer of Lovecraft: The Unnamable (1988)

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“There are things on God’s earth that we can’t explain and we can’t describe.”

Directed by Jean-Paul Ouellette
Starring Charles Klausmeyer, Mark Kinsey Stephenson and Alexandra Durrell

The Story

This 1923 short (published in 1925) is basically a brief literary joke. Randolph Carter (although he’s not actually called that in the story; he’s just “Carter”) and his friend Joel Manton are arguing about weird fiction — specifically, Manton is making fun of Carter’s habit of referring to things as “unnamable” or “indescribable.” This conversation parallels debates between Lovecraft and his friend Maurice W. Moe. But when Manton has a run-in with a real monster, the only thing he can say about it to Carter is that it was “unnamable.” Jooooookes!

The film

Back in Olden Tymes, a man in a daft hat has a monster in his house. He keeps it locked up, but when he finally lets it out, it does a predictable murder on him. Superstitious neighbours, apparently dressed up for their school’s Thanksgiving pageant, order the house sealed. They bury him in a convenient nearby buryin’-ground.

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The Summer of Lovecraft: The Resurrected (1992)

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“Death used to be the end. Now it’s only the beginning.”

Directed by Dan O’Bannon
Starring John Terry, Jane Sibbett and Chris Sarandon

The Story

Written in 1927 but not published during Lovecraft’s life, “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” is a more or less traditional horror tale that plays with a pretty typical Lovecraftian theme, that of the past coming back to haunt someone obsessed with it. It’s been adapted a few times — it has a pretty limited effects budget, and the actorly gimmick at the core of the story is popular.

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The Summer of Lovecraft: The Dunwich Horror (1970)

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Directed by Daniel Haller
Starring Dean Stockwell, Sandra Dee and Ed Begley

The Story

We’ve covered it elsewhere, so I’ll be brief: Whateley house holds invisible monster; Wilbur Whateley attempts evil plan; dog kills Wilbur; monster, unattended, goes on rampage; heroic academics banish monster; relative good triumphs; relative yay. You can read it here.

The Film

The film adaptation of “The Dunwich Horror” moves away from the background-heavy story with Henry Armitage (Begley) as the hero and focuses more on the relationship between sorcerer Wilbur Whateley (Stockwell) and a new character, Nancy Wagner (Dee). Whateley needs Wagner for his ritual because, in order to bring the Old Ones through into our world, he needs “the right girl” to lie on an altar and writhe around. The whole Dunwich cult aesthetic is blended with 60s images of witchcraft and Satanism.

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The Skull (1965)

Our Christopher Lee retrospective continues here on BMM, as we celebrate the great man’s career with a guide to all the many different times he glared intently at Peter Cushing and boomed some hard-sounding shit that, on sober reflection, didn’t necessarily make a whole lot of sense. Or perhaps I’m just referring to this film, 1965’s The Skull:

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“When the skull strikes, you’ll scream!”

Directed by Freddie Francis
Starring Peter Cushing, Patrick Wymark, Jill Bennett and Christopher Lee

Review by gonzohistory, with comments from happyfett.

Back in 18-umpty-ump, a phrenologist digs up a grave, steals the corpse’s head and defleshes the skull. But he promptly dies in a tragic but totally-foreseeable skull-defleshing accident.

Flash forward to swinging London, where Christopher Maitland and Matthew Phillips (Cushing and Lee) are collectors of occult artefacts. Shady antiquities dealer Marco (Wymark) turns up with the skull for sale; he offers it to Maitland, claiming that it’s the skull of the infamous Marquis de Sade. Maitland turns him down, but gradually he becomes fascinated, especially when it appears that the skull was actually stolen from Phillips, who is convinced that it actually contains an evil spirit.

It does. And also there’s a cult of weirdos who dress up like judges and make people play Russian roulette. Or maybe it’s just a dream. And Marco gets murdered, leaving Maitland with the skull. Eventually the skull keeps trying to get Cushing to kill his wife (Bennett) but he doesn’t, and instead he kills himself– or does he?!

He doesn’t; it was the skull.

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Ghost Shark (2013)

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“DONT. GET. WET.” (sic)

Directed by Griff Furst
Starring Mackenzie Rosman, Dave Randolph-Mayhem Davis and Richard Moll

When drunken rednecks attack and kill a shark, the fish returns in spirit form to devour them, the captain of their boat and then … well, pretty much everyone who gets in its way. A group of teens get attacked by the ghost shark and must race to discover the magical secret of the shark’s reappearance with the aid of a drunken old lighthouse keeper (Night Court‘s Richard Moll).

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Dragon Dynasty (2006)

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Directed by Matt Codd
Starring Federico Castelluccio, Stana Katic, Peter Kwong, Aaron Hendry, Dion Basco and James Hong

Marco Polo is getting ready to leave China, together with his entourage of Italian explorers. When the emperor (James Hong) gives Marco a bundle of gifts, evil priest guy Shang Sel (Peter Kwong of Big Trouble in Little China fame) smuggles some kind of mystical dragon thingummy into it so that dragons will follow Marco and kill him? He doesn’t like westerners or something.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

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Directed by Jonathan Liebesman
Starring Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Johnny Knoxville and Tony Shalhoub

When reporter April O’Neil (Fox) investigates crimes being carried out by the sinister Foot Clan, she catches sight of a mysterious vigilante. Her colleagues at the news refuse to believe her, but with the aid of cameraman Vern (Arnett), she continues to follow the story. Eventually, the vigilante contacts April and is revealed to be not one but four crimefighters — the titular turtles. Hearing their names, April realises that Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo (sic) and Raphael are the products of Project Renaissance, her late father’s experiment. She reaches out to dad’s former partner, Eric Sacks (Fichtner), but — surprise — he turns out to be the villain. April and the turtles race against time to foil the evil plot of Sacks and his evil ninja master, the Shredder. They succeed.

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100 Million BC (2008)

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“An elite mercenary team. Sent back in time. They will not return … Alone.”

Directed by Griff “Louie Myman” Furst
Starring Michael Gross, Christopher Atkins, Greg Evigan

An elite team of Navy SEALs (not, as the poster says, mercenaries) are sent back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth in order to rescue another team of Navy personnel who were sent back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Together with professor Frank Reno (Gross), they wander around the jungle, getting et one by one, until they find the stranded sailors, among them Reno’s brother Erik (Christopher Atkins) and former love interest Ruth (Marie Westbrook). The survivors return to the modern day, but a hungry T. rex follows them back to Los Angeles, where it rampages through the city until yet another version of Reno turns up, having time-travelled from the 40s, and sends it back where it came from.

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