I know I’m a little late with H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday having already passed, but it’s better late than never, right? Besides, Lovecraft should be celebrated every day – the guy deserves it as he should have received much more recognition in his life. With that said, let’s take a look at number 5:
5. The Dunwich Horror
What a fabulous 1970 horror film. Although most Lovecraft fans would likely consider it “dated”, and not at all like its source material, I think the late 1960s/early 1970s style strengthens it. It gives the movie a certain psychedelic quality that creates the sensation of being otherworldly; just like the original story. I must also commend the film at being the first to tackle many of Lovecraft’s more supernatural elements, like the Necronomicon and the inter-dimensional monsters it summons.
4. From Beyond
This has to contain my favorite visuals from any Lovecraft film. The screen is awash with pinks, purples, and reds which gives this film a lot of its style. There’s also a great use of monsters in the movie, all done with practical effects, and it creates a sort of reality where you feel these could actually exist. Thinking about it, I wouldn’t be surprised if this served as one of the inspirations for the Netflix series Stranger Things. Both include a device that accidentally summons creatures from a parallel dimension. But I’d argue this film portrays the concept with so much more intensity – whenever you see the device (called the Resonator) turn on, you know something big is about to happen.
I know a lot of fans are going to argue that this deserves to be in the top spot, and I absolutely see why. The film is made by Jeffrey Combs’ portrayal of Herbert West, a medical student who creates the cure for death. Unfortunately the cure doesn’t work quite right and brings the dead back to life rather violently. The movie uses humor, violence, and horror to convey all of the themes Lovecraft wrote about. The pacing is perfect and never lets up, and even the final shot is as dark and haunting as the ending for any Lovecraft story. A perfect film, and if I could tie it with the next two for first place, I would.
I’d say this is one of the most creative Lovecraft films. The movie takes different stories of his and expands upon them as individual segments. Some are adapted rather closely, and others are changed radically. But they all stay thematically conjoined by the styles and contents that Lovecraft commonly used in his work. There are awesome monsters, mostly all done with incredible practical effects like From Beyond, and there’s an immensely entertaining cast. Especially notable is Jeffrey Combs. Yes, the same actor from Re-Animator, who returns in this film as the fictional version of H.P. Lovecraft. He stars in the film’s wraparound which connects the different segments, and Lovecraft is portrayed as a sort of Indiana Jones character who uses the real Necronomicon’s written texts as the basis for his own stories. Each story he writes from the book is played out in the film in a rather violent and horrific fashion. It’s very fun and very creepy, with a great score by Dexter composer Daniel Licht.
Here we are – my number one H.P. Lovecraft adaptation. Dagon is such an incredible film from top to bottom. Out of most if not all Lovecraft adaptations, it has the deepest look at the Cthulhu Mythos. It features both Dagon and the Deep Ones, which are major parts of the Cthulhu Mythos that rarely get used in film otherwise. The soundtrack is enchanting, the visuals are both cold and alluring, and you quickly fall into the world alongside the main characters. I really feel the developments, transformations, and transitions that these characters feel because of how easy it is to relate to them. It’s a great movie, with an ending that’s as inspirational as it is haunting. It’s also worth noting that this is actually an adaptation of The Shadow Over Innsmouth, not Dagon, as the title would suggest.
With Dagon being my number one Lovecraft film, would you agree or disagree? And are there any choices that weren’t included that should’ve been? List your thoughts and opinions below, I’d love to hear them!