THE CALL OF CTHULHU (2005)
-Reviewed by Nic Brown-
Few authors have left such a strong and lasting impression on the genre of horror as H.P. Lovecraft. His macabre visions of dark and ancient beings waiting to rise and consume our world have haunted fans for generations. His stories have been used as the basis for innumerable films, including the cult classic RE-ANIMATOR. However, few adaptations of Lovecraft’s work have followed the author’s original story like THE CALL OF CTHULHU. This is not surprising considering the film was made by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society.
Based upon Lovecraft’s story of the same name, THE CALL OF CTHULHU tells the story of a dying professor who leaves his nephew with a file on the mysterious Cthulhu Cult. The professor had become obsessed with researching the strange occurrences associate with the Cthulhu Cult. The young man takes up his uncle’s quest and he too is drawn like a moth to the flame to pursue the truth of the cult. The story moves back and forth from its setting in 1925 to events in the 1870’s and 1908 as the mystery is revealed.
Not only is THE CALL OF CTHULHU an excellent adaption of Lovecraft’s work, the film is also unique because of its style. Shot as a silent, black and white film, THE CALL OF CTHULHU pays tribute to the early days of cinema. In the best tradition of silent film music and exaggerated gestures play an important part in the story telling. The movie avoids obviously sophisticated special effects and uses more traditional techniques including stop-motion animation and perspective shots to add to its nostalgic feel. THE CALL OF CTHULHU, unlike many horror films, also foregoes graphic violence and imagery, relying instead on the story itself to create fear and tension in the viewer.
In this age of digital special effects and home theatre surround sound, it may be difficult for audiences to except a silent film done in this retro style. This is unfortunate since THE CALL OF CTHULHU is a well made film that tells a good, scary story and does so in a unique way. So if you are in the mood for a different kind of horror, check out director Andrew Leman’s THE CALL OF CTHULHU, but be warned, once you’ve heard the call it may be too late!