Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Coolest Thing(s) I've Seen This Week - Movie Edition

Nobody knows better than my marvelous wife what a Lovecraft fanboy I am, but long-time readers here will have noticed. One of my favorite sources for Mythos material is the HP Lovecraft Historical Society. They seem to have began as a LARPing crew, but a few years ago they graduated to real movie making with their silent film feature of the Call of Cthulhu, which has gotten wide distribution, right up to Netflix. They must have made a couple of bucks on it, bless 'em, because they've just made available their first talkie, a full-length feature making of The Whisperer in Darkness. In Call of Cthulhu they attempted to make a movie from 1927, the year the story was published. Whispere hit the pages of Weird Tales in 1931, and so we reach the sound era.

Fellow kids, this is the best depiction of a mythos story yet to be filmed. The team understands the feel of Lovecraft's work, the paranoia and claustrophobia, the combination of wonder and danger and fear that HPL's best work produces. Set in a rainy autumn in Vermont, a skeptical folklorist becomes drawn into strange doings in a backwoods cult, in a tale that moves from intimations of demons to interstellar conspiracy.

The original story is told nicely, with just enough expansion to make it more cinematic. These guys can build some props, and the spooky devices and manuscripts of questionable lore are excellent. None of this is exactly high-budget, but, like CoC, the film is in black-and-white, which forgives many sins. In general the film looks great. It also features the single best depiction of a Cthulhu Mythos ritual to date. Just buy it.

Making a movie is on my bucket list. If I made a movie, it would surely have to be some occult adventure or vignette, with ritual and FX. However, my old friend Taliesin Govannon aspires to be Kevin Smith, not Dennis Wheatley. Taliesin has succeeded in making a full-length feature film called Dark of Moon. (See trailers and lots more here) This is a Pagan movie but... it's a romantic comedy. It tells the story of a post-college Coven as the reality of adulthood meets the expectations of youth. The cast goes on a little tour of the alternative community, from Witches to Druids to ghost-hunters, providing some great material for Taliesin's observant wit. So, it's a realistic depiction of modern Paganism - no amped-up magic, no FX, just real people doing what we really do.

Incidentally, I'm in it, for a limited number of seconds, along with many others from our local Grove. We did a shoot in our little festival space, Tredara, and our barn and Nemeton look pretty good. Utterly worth a look!

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