General Question

mammal's avatar

Is it possible to make a movie that does the works of H.P Lovecraft justice?

Asked by mammal (9431points) December 6th, 2010

i’ve seen one, it was so, so, but is it possible to capture the essence of HP Lovecraft in celluloid?

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5 Answers

mrentropy's avatar

I think so, if they really try. I thought Call of Cthulhu was pretty good.

Hobbes's avatar

The problem is that most Lovecraft movies tend to be drawn to the “weird squicky monsters with lots of tentacles” side of his work, and not the dark nihilistic philosophy or cosmic terror. The other problem is that it is possible to describe a monster which is so terrifying it literally drives a character mad, but not possible to actually show that thing. So much of Lovecraft’s horror is linked to ideas about things beyond normal perception, and film is a medium very much tied to visuals, which can’t really capture the terror of Cthulhu or Yog-Sothoth or what have you. I think the only way to do it would be to never show the actual monster, or perhaps only a glimpse of it, and focus on the human side – on people going crazy or trying to hold onto hope in the face of a tide of overwhelming darkness.

Jeruba's avatar

I’d be surprised. So much of Lovecraft is the language of internal rumination. You could capture the fear and madness, though as @Hobbes says it would be hard to show the critters (just about any rubbery manifestation of them would tend toward the ridiculous; it’s the unseen that terrifies), but those would not be the essence of Lovecraft. If you want essence, it has to be deranged and full of words like “blasphemous.” But long narrative voice-overs would neither do it justice nor make use of the medium of film. The stories were meant to play out intimately, within the mind of the reader, calling up the terrors from within his or her own dark corridors, and not to be outsourced, externalized by a third party who cannot reach into our souls.

Only138's avatar

I would love to see a movie about “The Mad Arab” from the book NECRONOMICON. Its a cool story, that puts me in mind of the song “The Number of the Beast” by Iron Maiden.

mammal's avatar

@Jeruba of course, that would be my take on it :)

@Hobbes excellent assessment. But still….i’m thinking something along the lines of Blair witch, something gritty and realistic that still hints at the unnameable. :)

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