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The Call of Cthulhu is a 2005 independent silent film adaptation of the H. P. Lovecraft short story "The Call of Cthulhu", produced by Sean Branney and Andrew Leman and distributed by the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society. It is the first film adaptation of the famous Lovecraft story, and uses Mythoscope, a blend of vintage and modern filming techniques intended to produce the look of a 1920s-era film. The film is the length of a featurette.
|The Call of Cthulhu|
|Directed by||Andrew Leman|
|Screenplay by||Sean Branney|
|Based on||"The Call of Cthulhu"|
by H. P. Lovecraft
|Produced by||Sean Branney|
D. Grigsby Poland
|Narrated by||Matt Foyer|
|Edited by||David Robertson|
|Music by||Troy Sterling Nies|
|Distributed by||H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society|
The original story had long been considered unfilmable, but the conceit of making it a silent film and the enthusiasm that the creators had for their project earned it good reviews and several awards.
The film begins with a dying professor who leaves his great-nephew a collection of documents pertaining to the Cthulhu Cult. The nephew (Matt Foyer) begins to learn why the study of the cult so fascinated his grandfather. Bit-by-bit he begins piecing together the dread implications of his grandfather's inquiries, and soon he takes on investigating the Cthulhu cult as a crusade of his own. Sailors aboard the Emma encounter the Alert abandoned at sea. The nephew notes that Inspector Legrasse, who had directed the raid on cultists in backwoods Louisiana, died before the nephew's investigation began. As he pieces together the dreadful and disturbing reality of the situation, his own sanity begins to crumble. In the end, he passes the torch to his psychiatrist, who in turn hears Cthulhu's call.
- Matt Foyer as Francis Wayland Thurston
- John Bolen as The Listener
- Ralph Lucas as Professor Angell
- Chad Fifer as Henry Wilcox
- David Mersault as Inspector Legrasse
- Barry Lynch as Professor Webb
The Call of Cthulhu was selected to appear at numerous film festivals, including the 2006 Slamdance Film Festival and North America's largest, the 2006 Seattle International Film Festival, where it sold out both screenings thanks in part to a glowing review from The Stranger, a local paper.
Despite the long-standing conventional wisdom that the story was inherently "unfilmable", The Call of Cthulhu garnered mostly positive reception from critics. It holds 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 7.1/10 based on 6 reviews.
Dennis Schwartz from Ozus' World Movie Reviews rated the film a grade B, writing, "[a] haunting labor of love tribute", praising the film's style, and score. Paul di Filippo of Science Fiction Weekly called it "the best HPL adaptation to date", labeling the decision to adapt it as a silent film "a brilliant conceit". Daniel Siwek from DVD Talk gave the film 4.5 out of 5 stars, calling it "very eerie and enjoyable", and A true testament to what can be accomplished with a lot of work and passion, but with limited funds." DW Bostaph Jr from Dread Central awarded the film a score of 4/5, writing, "Ambitious in its own right, The Call of Cthulhu is indeed a step forward for the world of H. P. Lovecraft cinema. It is one of a handful of new films made by fans of the late great authors work, who not only see the prospect in the mines, but are able to understand the rock they are hidden within". David Cornelius from eFilmCritic gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, praising the film's soundtrack, writing, "What's truly great about Cthulhu is that it not only sets out to impress the hardcore Lovecraft fanatic, but fans of classic and/or experimental independent film as well. While it stumbles in places, both in terms of storytelling and presentation of its gimmick, it's such a unique project, and the love for the project by all involved is so contagious, that it becomes one of those special hidden secrets that you can't wait to introduce to your friends."
In their book Lurker in the Lobby: The Guide to the Cinema of H. P. Lovecraft, Andrew Migliore and John Strysik write: "The Call of Cthulhu is a landmark adaptation that calls out to all Lovecraftian film fanatics — from its silent film form, its excellent cast, its direction, and its wonderful musical score... this is Cthulhuian cinema that Howard would have loved."
The Call of Cthulhu received various awards, including:
- "The Call of Cthulhu - an HPLHS Motion Picture". cthulhulives.org. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- Steinbacher, Bradley (June 5, 2006). "'The Call of Cthulhu'". The Stranger. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
- Sundance: The Good, Bad and Ugly
- "The Call of Cthulhu (1969)- Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes.com. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Schwartz, Dennis. "callofthecthulhu". Sover.net. Dennis Schwartz. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
- "Syfy". Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- Sinnott, John. "The Call of Cthulhu : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". DVD Talk.com. John Sinnott. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
- Bostaph, D. "Call of Cthulhu, The (2005) - Dread Central". Dread Central.com. DW Bostaph Jr. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
- Cornelius, David. "Movie Review - Call of Cthulhu, The - eFilmCritic". eFilmCritic.com. David Cornelius. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
- Migliore, Andrew; Strysik, John (February 1, 2006). Lurker in the Lobby: A Guide to the Cinema of H. P. Lovecraft. Night Shade Books. ISBN 978-1892389350.
- "Event Report: Eerie Horror Fest 2006!". Dread Central. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- "23rd Avignon Film Festival awards". fest21.com. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- "Another Hole in the Head". sfindie.com. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- Cinequest film festival Archived 2012-07-29 at archive.today