H.P. Lovecraft’s “Call of Cthulhu” is one of the best horror stories ever written. It has an excellent plot and is quite innovative. Unfortunately, people just cannot seem to avoid desecrating his works.
I was recently looking at the Rotten Tomato site and saw that Cthulhu is a forthcoming movie. The blurb is this: “Adapted from a story by H.P. Lovecraft. A Seattle history professor, drawn back to his estranged family on the Oregon coast to execute his late mother’s estate, is reaquainted with his best friend from childhood, with whom he has a long-awaited tryst. Caught in an accelerating series of events, he discovers aspects of his father’s New Age cult which take on a dangerous and apocalyptic significance.”
In this case, I must take “adapted” to mean “changed and desecrated in ways that would appall even a Great Old One.”
I can understand changing the time period to make it more appealing to modern audiences, but key elements of the story have been changed. First, the setting is different. This is important because the New England setting is actually a vital part of Lovecraft’s style of fiction. Read the stories and you’ll see why. Second, in the actual story, there is no estranged family plot. The work is a horror story. Throwing in the estranged family story serves to detract from the excellent plot of the real story. Third, the original story contains no tryst. From the photos, I gather that his friend is male and a gay love story has been added. I’m not opposed to gay love stories in movies that are supposed to about such things, but this is not in the original story at all. I cannot even imagine how adding a homosexual element to the story would improve it in anyway. Of course, I don’t like to mix sex/romance and horror, so I like the fact that Lovecraft keeps his focus on horror and doesn’t taint it with cheap sexuality. I suspect that inferior writers need to throw in sex in order to get attention. Lovecraft doesn’t need to do that-the quality of his writings stand quite well and do not need to be “tarted up.”
I fear that Cthulhu will be a horrid mess. When it comes to great stories, directors should just follow Peter Jackson’s approach in the Lord of the Rings: move the story to the screen without butchering it in the process.
Mainly, I’m just pissed that a great story is being dumped into the sewers.
Oh, Tori Spelling is in the movie. That speaks volumes.
Can you say “Direct to DVD release”?. We (the proposed audience) should be so lucky.
Michael LaBossiere says
Ah, but released direct to DVD is still released. Some things should not be permitted to roam the earth freely. I suspect this is one of them.
There are other versions of this movie well worth checking out (ie without tori spelling.) Go to microcinema.com and watch the clips- very dark and true to Lovecraft’s style.