My idea for a Lovecraft movie would be simple and concise. Spielburg, Stephen King or some equally notable author/director of classic horror/sci-fi would make a realistic portrayal of one of Lovecraft's better stories ("The Call of Cthulhu"/"The Dunwich Horror"/"The Shadow over Innsmouth" would be excellent choices) in a big-budget horror thriller. The trailers would be colossal and heart-pounding, magnifying Lovecraft's creations coming to the screen with simple "Cthulhu" buzz words while not actually showing the beasties (ala Godzilla). Now, I'm not talking about Jurassic Park-Cthulhu or (god help us) Godzilla-Cthulhu (the last thing we need is a big CGI Cthulhu destroying the world -- though it would make sense to have him in the Call of Cthulhu movie in a short attack on the ship Emma), but a faithful short story-to-movie make-up of one (only one) of Lovecraft's stories. Not a compilation affair with a bunch of haplessly thrown together plots into a mini-tv movie (ala The Necronomicon *Yech*) or a "sequel" type movie to one of Lovecraft's stories in the form of a cheap-o, low-budget, canned film festival movie set in the 1990's because budget problems restrict them from making it in the 1920's realistically where Lovecraft's stories (and movies) belong! Let's speculate on one story shall we, "The Call of Cthulhu."
The beginning message, "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents," etc., forward flashes on the screen in white letters against black.
The title "The Call of Cthulhu" is shown "From the Master of Horror H.P. Lovecraft"
|Professor George Angell ...................||Sean Connery|
|Angell's Great Nephew .....................||Sam Neil or Pierce Brosnin (maybe Tom Cruise)|
|Inspector Legrasse ............................||David Suchet (of Agatha Christie's "Poirot" fame)||H.A. Wilcox ....................................||Cristopher Walken or Gary Oldman (maybe Dennis Hopper)|
|Professor William Webb ..................||Sir Anthony Hopkins|
|Old Castro .......................................||Frank Angella|
|First Mate Johansen ........................
||Arnold Schwarzenegger (who actually gets killed in|
And I'm sure that the likes of David Warner (an avid Lovecraft fan) and the likes of David Hyde Pierce, Jeffery Combs and countless others could add to the list of possible actors.
Stephen King or Steven Spielburg or as a possible Spielburg/Lucas co-project.
The plot would be as close to the short story as possible with a great deal of add-ons to make it more seemly and easier to make into a movie (narration wise that is). Needless to say, the end attack on the ship Emma by Cthulhu and a wondrous vista showing the whole of R'lyeh and its exploration would make for a marvelous ending (ILM will jump at this stuff in a heart beat). Also the scenes with Johansen and Angell getting accosted by some "nautical types" is just asking for a fight scene (though actually Johansen was "helped up" by them after being knocked down). Essentially the whole story would be done in a grandiose-like way (ala JFK) with big stars and excellent writing. The name "Cthulhu" would become a household name.
A great deal of Spielburg-esque study and research must be done for this (not like he did in The Lost World -- Jurassic Park II, but more like he did in the original Jurassic Park) to be made into a monumental piece. Special emphasis must be made in its Indiana Jones-ish quality in the presentation of the Necronomicon (much like Harrison Ford describes obscure archeological items in an interesting and informed way) and the whole story of the Cthulhu Cult and other mythos historical facts related in the short story in an appropriately skeptical way equaling with a counter believer's point of view (much like Mulder and Scully in The X-Files).
Speaking of The X-files, why hasn't there been an HPL-related/based episode in that series? God, I don't even need to tell you what could be done with that premise. Is the creator of the series unaware of Lovecraft's writings? Or is he just afraid to use another author's story lines and creations in his created X-Files mythos? Or am I the only one who thinks the black oil from the series has an uncanny resemblance to the Spawn of Tsathoggua? He uses werewolves and vampires, why not dimensional shamblers and deep ones? Besides, Mulder could easily describe his knowledge of the evils of Lovecraft's stories (even though the story is set in the 90's which wouldn't sit well with me, maybe they could set it in the 20's as a flash back like they did with Mulder's father) and Scully would surely recant his evidence as superstitions and psychosis. And has anybody noticed the settings in the series? Massachusetts and Providence are used again and again as well as the Antarctic in the X-Files movie (which reminded me a lot of the story "At the Mountains of Madness," by the way).
Now previous movies, such as In the Mouth of Madness and Cast a Deadly Spell (followed closely by a sequel Witch Hunt set in the 50's) have shown some merit but failed to really get the public's attention either on the big screen or in television by either one. Personally I think that its not the subject matter (add enough special effects and bang-bangs to most movies dated for a summer release and you have a hit on your hands, just see Independence Day whose ending in my opinion reeked of Star Wars; They practically stole the ending scene!), but it's a state of mind. If enough people make a good final product people will go to see the movie.
The world has yet to see a truly brilliant Lovecraft movie. Perhaps someone reading this will relate and go through with my above suggestions. But be warned, do it properly, we do not need another Bride of the Reanimator or The Unnamable. See these movies at your peril! Learn that content does count in the long run.
Created: March 12, 1999; Updated: August 9, 2004