Mike’s list of recommended Lovecraftian movies

There are fates worse than death

MIKE DAVIS’ LIST OF RECOMMENDED LOVECRAFTIAN MOVIES

Below is a list of Lovecraftian-themed movies that I recommend — what I consider to be the best of the best.  Note that I did not say that this is a list of movies based on Lovecraft’s stories.  Some movies on this list are adaptations of Lovecraft’s work, to be sure; but there are plenty that are not.  That’s not important.  What is important is that the movie makes good use of Lovecraftian themes, whether it’s an adaptation or not.

For example, you won’t find The Dunwich Horror on this list, but you will find Dagon (a Lovecraft adaptation) and Absentia (not a Lovecraft adaptation).  Why?  Because tentacles and adaptations don’t make movies Lovecraftian.

What does make a movie Lovecraftian, in my opinion?  Wikipedia writes that “the hallmark of Lovecraft’s work was the sense that ordinary life was a thin shell over a reality which was so alien and abstract in comparison that merely contemplating it would damage the sanity of the ordinary person.”  I agree wholeheartedly with that definition, and I put together this movie list with that in mind.

Also, this is a personal list; it’s movies that I think are very good to great and that use Lovecraftian themes.  If you disagree, fair enough; your comments are welcome.  If you think I’ve forgotten a movie that should be here, please let me know.

I’ll be adding to this list from time to time.  To stay in the loop, sign up for email notifications at the top right side of this page.

Long story short: If you enjoy reading new stories of Lovecraftian horror like the ones found in The Lovecraft eZine, then you will probably enjoy the movies below.  So grab the popcorn and turn down the lights — here’s the list!

ABSENTIA [streaming, DVD] Tricia’s husband has been missing for seven years. Her younger sister Callie comes to live with her as the pressure mounts to finally declare him ‘dead in absentia.’ As Tricia sifts through the wreckage and tries to move on with her life, Callie finds herself drawn to an ominous tunnel near the house. As she begins to link it to other mysterious disappearances, she comes to the realization that his presumed death might be anything but ‘natural.’ Soon it becomes clear that the ghostly force at work in the tunnel might have set its sights on Callie and Tricia too.

ALIEN [streaming, DVD] On their voyage home, the crew of the deepspace tug Nostromo investigate an alien distress signal, inadvertently picking up and bringing aboard an extraterrestrial life form with violent and lethal survival instincts.

AM 1200 [DVD] Haunted by recent events and on the run, a man finds himself the unwitting pawn of a possessed evangelical radio station and like his unfortunate predecessor must ask himself whether it is better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.

THE BANSHEE CHAPTER [streaming, DVD] On the trail of a missing friend who had been experimenting with mind-altering drugs, a young journalist  - aided by a rogue counter-culture writer — finds herself drawn into the dangerous world of top-secret government chemical research and the mystery of a disturbing radio signal of unknown origin. A fast-paced thriller blending fact and fiction, Banshee Chapter is based on real documents, actual test subject testimony, and uncovered secrets about covert programs run by the CIA.

THE BURROWERS [streaming, DVD] The Dakota Territories. 1879. A handful of brave pioneers maintain isolated settlements in the badlands beyond civilization. Irish immigrant Fergus Coffey is near to winning the hand of his beloved Maryanne when she is suddenly taken from him, her family brutally abducted in a nighttime attack on their homestead. Suspicion falls immediately on hostile Indians. Experienced Indian fighters Will Parcher and John Clay form a posse and set out to rescue the kidnapped settlers, taking along a naive teenager hoping to prove himself a man, an ex-slave looking for his place, and their ranch hand, Coffey. But as men vanish in the night, and horrific evidence accumulates with the dead and dying, the group discovers that their prey is far more terrifying than anything human, and their prospects are far more terrible than death.

CABIN IN THE WOODS [streaming, DVD] Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods.

THE CALL OF CTHULHU [streaming, DVD] Written in 1926, just before the advent of “talking” pictures, The Call of Cthulhu is one of the most famous and influential tales of H.P. Lovecraft, the father of gothic horror. Now the story is brought richly to life in the style of a classic 1920s silent movie, with a haunting original symphonic score. Using the “Mythoscope” process – a mix of modern and vintage techniques, the HPLHS has worked to create the most authentic and faithful screen adaptation of a Lovecraft story yet attempted. From the cultists of the Louisana bayous to the man-eating non-euclidean geometry of R’lyeh, the HPLHS brings Cthulhu to the screen as it was meant to be seen. Eighteen months of production and a cast of more than 50 actors went into making this film a period spectacle that must seen to be believed. The DVD includes The Call of Cthulhu (47 minutes, black and white), the high-fidelity and “Mythophonic” soundtracks, a 25 minute “making-of” documentary featurette, two slide shows, deleted footage, a prop PDF of the Sydney Bulletin and more.

CTHULHU [DVD] The H.P. Lovecraft story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” gets a contemporary reworking in this eerie film following a gay college professor (Jason Cottle) as he arrives at his Oregon hometown to preside over the estate of his deceased mother. Finding both his father and the community at large involved in a strange cult, the young man confronts his ultimate destiny with an icy dread.

CLOVERFIELD [streaming, DVD] Told from the vertiginous point-of-view of a camcorder-wielding group of friends, Cloverfield begins like a primetime television soap opera about young Manhattanites coping with changes in their personal lives. Rob is leaving New York to take an executive job at a company in Japan. At his goodbye party in a crowded loft, Rob’s brother Jason hands a camcorder to best friend Hud, who proceeds to tape the proceedings over old footage of Rob’s ex-girlfriend, Beth–images shot during happy times in that now-defunct relationship. Naturally, Beth shows up at the party with a new beau, bumming Rob out completely. Just before one’s eyes glaze over from all this heartbreaking stuff (captured by Hud, who’s something of a doofus, in laughably shaky camerawork), the unexpected happens: New York is suddenly under attack from a Godzilla-like monster stomping through midtown and destroying everything and everybody in sight. Rob and company hit the streets, but rather than run with other evacuees, they head toward the center of the storm so that Rob can rescue an injured Beth. There are casualties along the way, but the journey into fear is fascinating and immediate if emotionally remote–a consequence of seeing these proceedings through the singular, subjective perspective of a camcorder and of a story that intentionally leaves major questions unanswered: Who or what is this monster? Where did it come from?

THE CORRIDOR [streaming, DVD] Five friends spend a weekend in a cabin in the woods to catch up on old times.  Recently, one of them was released from a mental hospital.  Apparently, he and his mother saw and heard some strange things that started driving them crazy.  What happens in the woods that weekend is an example of a creature from another reality revealing itself to people in this one, and how it affects their mental stability.

DAGON [DVD] Based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft, the undisputed master of macabre.  Paul and his girlfriend Barbara are celebrating the success of their new company on a yacht off the coast of Spain, when a sudden storm smashes their boat on a reef.  Barbara and Paul swim to the nearest town for help.  The decrepit fishing village of Imboca at first seems to be deserted, but unblinking eyes peer out from boarded-up houses. The strange inhabitants offer little help to the stranded couple. By nightfall Barbara is missing and Paul finds himself pursued by the entire town… but a town of what?

DIE FARBE [DVD] Arkham, 1975: Jonathan Davis’ father has disappeared. His tracks lead to Germany, to the Swabian-Franconian Forest where he was stationed after the Second World War. Jonathan sets out to find him and bring him home, but deep in the woods he discovers a dark mystery from the past. Based on H.P. Lovecraft’s short novel “The Colour Out of Space”.

DIRT DAUBER [DVD] In this disturbing Lovecraftian fairytale, a man awakes naked and confused in an isolated mountainous region. He soon encounters a strange local who offers to help him. The stranger recounts local folklore that speaks of a murderous religious cult, and an insect-like fertility god that is said to dwell deep within the mountain. The two men go underground in search of the truth and soon find themselves in a stygian black temple of horror…

DREAMS IN THE WITCH HOUSE [streaming, DVD] A graduate student questions his sanity after he rents a room in an old boarding house which was the residence of a 17th Century witch, and he figures out that the evil forces still roam within the walls.

EUROPA REPORT [streaming, DVD] A unique blend of documentary, alternative history and science fiction thriller, EUROPA REPORT follows a contemporary mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa to investigate the possible existence of alien life within our solar system. When unmanned probes suggest that a hidden ocean could exist underneath Europa’s icy surface and may contain single-celled life, Europa Ventures, a privately funded space exploration company, sends six of the best astronauts from around the world to confirm the data and explore the revolutionary discoveries that may lie in the Europan ocean.

EVENT HORIZON [streaming, DVD] The year is 2047. Years earlier, the pioneering research vessel Event Horizon vanished without a trace. Now a signal from it has been detected, and the United States Aerospace Command responds. Hurtling toward the signal’s source are a fearless captain (Laurence Fishburne), his elite crew and the lost ship’s designer (Sam Neill). Their mission: find and salvage the state-of-the-art spacecraft. What they find is state-of-the-art interstellar terror.

IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS [streaming, DVD] The mind-bending worlds of author H.P. Lovecraft have long interested horror directors, but the films have rarely successfully captured his nightmarish mix of madness and mythology. John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness is not directly based on Lovecraft’s work, but screenwriter Michael De Luca draws his inspiration from Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythology and then adds his own ingenious twists. John Trent (Sam Neill), an insurance investigator recently fitted for a straightjacket, tells his story to a psychiatrist. Hired to track down the missing pop-horror phenomena Sutter Cane, a Stephen King-like author whose fans are literally made for his books, Trent finds the supposedly fictional Hobb’s End. He watches the town collapse into madness, murder, and monstrous transformations: the fantastic horrors of Cane’s novels played out in front of his eyes. “Reality isn’t what it used to be,” deadpans one zombielike townsperson. In fact, it is how Cane writes it–but is he Devil, dark oracle, or simply a preacher in the service of an evil that grows stronger with every soul his books convert? The script never quite gets a grip on the blurry relationship between fact and fiction, but those details fade in the face of Carpenter’s demented imagery, shiver-inducing twists, and dark wit. It’s more eerie mind game than straight-out horror, a portrait of a world gone mad, and Carpenter relishes every hallucinatory moment.

THE LAST WAVE [streaming, DVD] (Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi once told me that The Last Wave is his favorite Lovecraftian-themed movie.)  Richard Chamberlain stars as Australian lawyer David Burton, who takes on the defense of a group of aborigines accused of killing one of their own. He suspects the victim has been killed for violating a tribal taboo, but the defendants deny any tribal association. Burton, plagued by apocalyptic visions of water, slowly realizes his own involvement with the aborigines…and their prophecies.

THE LAST WINTER [DVD] In the Arctic region of Northern Alaska, an oil company’s advance team struggles to establish a drilling base that will forever alter the pristine land. After one team member is found dead, a disorientation slowly claims the sanity of the others as each of them succumbs to a mysterious fear…

THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN [streaming, DVD] A photographer propelled to explore his dark side begins tracking a subway serial killer whose brutal butchery makes for the most nightmarish images ever captured on camera in director Ryuhei Kitamura’s adaptation of a short story by horror heavyweight Clive Barker. Leon Kaufman (Bradley Cooper) is just another struggling photographer in search of the perfect subject. Encouraged to explore the sinister side of humanity by a prominent art gallery proprietor (Brooke Shields) who is set to display his upcoming debut, Leon goes against the wishes of his girlfriend, Maya (Leslie Bibb), and begins stalking notorious serial killer Mahogany (Vinnie Jones) — whose sadistic murder spree has been making headlines all across the country. As Leon’s fascination with Mahogany gradually grows into obsession, his descent into the killer’s putrid world of murder begins to corrupt his soul while simultaneously dragging his concerned girlfriend down a perverse path of darkness from which there is no return.

THE MIST [streaming, DVD] After a mysterious mist envelopes a small New England town, a group of locals trapped in a supermarket must battle a siege of otherworldly creatures…and the fears that threaten to tear them apart.

THE NEW DAUGHTER [streaming, DVD] Muddy footprints and straw dolls betray the presence of an ancient evil in The New Daughter. Author John James (Kevin Costner) has brought his innocent young son Sam and sullen teenage daughter Louisa  to a new home to start their lives over after James’s wife abandoned them. The house, of course, is huge and in the middle of an overgrown forest–and the discovery of a strange mound nearby doesn’t make things any less spooky. Louisa’s adolescent hormones practically beg for supernatural possession, and before long she’s covered in mud, breaking out in a prickly rash, and pushing girls down the stairway at school. There’s nothing unexpected in The New Daughter, but that doesn’t mean it’s ineffective; Spanish director Luis Berdejo makes good use of ambient sound, well-timed jolts, and Baquero’s porcelain-doll features. Costner seems a little out of his element, but when he’s faced with some horrible choices, he captures the torment of a father who fears he can’t save his children. As is often the case, the more we see, the less scary it is, so it’s good that Berdejo holds back on the creepy-crawlies for as long as he can. Horror fans will find much to enjoy in The New Daughter.

PICKMAN’S MUSE [DVD] A stellar adaption of “The Haunter of the Dark”.  An artist, Robert Pickman, becomes obsessed by visions of unworldly horror, revealed to him through an ancient artifact discovered in an abandoned church.

PONTYPOOL [streaming, DVD] In the small town of Pontypool, Ontario, former shock jock turned radio announcer Grant Mazzy drives through a blizzard on his way to work. When poor visibility forces him to stop his car, an underdressed woman appears on the road, startling him. Grant calls out to her, but she disappears into the storm, ominously repeating his words and visibly disturbing him. Grant eventually arrives at the radio station, where he works with technical assistant Laurel-Ann Drummond and station manager Sydney Briar.  As the morning proceeds, they get a report from their weather and traffic helicopter reporter Ken Loney about a possible riot at the office of Doctor Mendez in Pontypool. He describes a scene of chaos and carnage that results in numerous deaths, immediately grabbing Grant’s attention. After Ken is unexpectedly cut off, the group tries to confirm his report, but their witnesses are disconnected before they can get them on the airwaves. Ken calls back and reports that he has found the “infected” son of a well-known Pontypool citizen nearby, mumbling to himself…

PRINCE OF DARKNESS [streaming, DVD] A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world.

PROMETHEUS [streaming, DVD] A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.

THE RESURRECTED [DVD] Charles Dexter Ward’s wife enlists the help of a private detective to find out what her husband is up to in a remote cabin owned by his family for centuries. The husband is a chemical engineer, and the smells from his experiments (and the delivery of what appear to be human remains at all hours) are beginning to arouse the attention of neighbors and local law enforcement officials. When the detective and wife find a diary of the husband’s ancestor from 1771, and reports of gruesome murders in the area begin to surface, they begin to suspect that some very unnatural experiments are being conducted in the old house.

THE SHRINE [DVD] A blood-curdling tale of sacrificial cults, demonic possession and ancient evil. After a young American backpacker vanishes in Europe, three journalists trace his disappearance to a mysterious Polish village. They travel there hoping to get the story, but instead find a grotesque, fog-shrouded shrine and hostile locals hell-bent on serving up for their next ritualistic human sacrifice.

SPIDER LABYRINTH [DVD] Handsome Professor Alan Whitmore is assigned by his university to go to Budapest to seek out Professor Roth who has been investigating an ancient religion. Once there, he is met by Professor Roths’ beautiful assistant, Genevieve Weiss. But Professor Whitmore soon finds himself at the center of mysterious cult involving secrets, murder, and a monstrous mind controlling spider god . Will the professor solve this weird puzzle, or will he too be caught in the web of the Spider Labyrinth?

THE THING [streaming, DVD] Researchers in the remote Antarctic dig up the remains of a spacecraft that has long been frozen in the ice. But the alien life unthaws and infects the living (not only humans but sled dogs too), living and gestating inside them.  This Thing is chilling in every sense of the word, with plenty of terrifying, adrenaline-pumping moments that build it to a powerful and shockingly nihilistic conclusion. It’s a harsh and uncompromising movie (hewing more closely to the original 1930s story “Who Goes There?”)–so much so that it probably never would have been given a green-light by any studio in the more cautious and doggedly upbeat 1990s.

THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS [DVD] Written in 1931, H.P. Lovecraft’s iconic genre-bending tale of suspense and alien terrors is brought to life in the style of the classic horror films of the 1930s like Frankenstein, Dracula and King Kong. Using its MythoscopeTM process – a mix of vintage and modern techniques – the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society expands on Lovecraft’s original tale while still bringing you unparalleled authenticity. Horror and science fiction collide in the adventure of Albert Wilmarth, a folklore professor at Miskatonic University, as he investigates legends of strange creatures rumored to dwell in the most remote mountains of Vermont. Wilmarth’s investigation leads him to a discovery of horrors quite beyond anything he ever imagined, and ends in a desperate attempt to escape the remote New England hills with his life and sanity intact. The studio that brought you The Call of Cthulhu now presents one of Lovecraft’s weirdest tales as a feature-length talkie starring Matt Foyer as the intrepid folklorist, Albert Wilmarth. Celebrated television and stage star Barry Lynch plays Henry Akeley, supported by an ensemble of outstanding actors. Shot on location in New England and in Hollywood, The Whisperer in Darkness brings Lovecraft’s intense imagination to vivid life in the style of the 1930s.

YELLOWBRICKROAD [streaming, DVD] In the Fall of 1940, the entire population of Friar, NH abandoned their homes and walked up an ancient trail, never to be seen alive again. Their fates have remained a mystery for over 70 years, until a team of researchers discover the trailhead and attempt to track the path the doomedcitizens of Friar took. Yellowbrickroad is a return to the slow burn, character driven horror thrillers of the 1970s.

Keep checking back because I’ll be adding to this list as needed.  (Stay informed: You can subscribe via email at the top right side of this page, follow me on Twitter, and LIKE this ezine on Facebook.)  I hope you enjoy the movies.  And hey, after you watch them, please comment below.

Mike Davis
Editor, Lovecraft eZine 

120 responses to “Mike’s list of recommended Lovecraftian movies

  1. Some interesting stuff I’d never heard of (‘Die Farbe’) and some stuff I just wouldn’t include on a list of my own (‘Cabin In The Woods’, ‘Cloverfield’, ‘The Shrine’).
    Always fun to see what other people think is ‘Lovecraftian’ though.

  2. Fourth kind I felt had a sanity blasting tone. I didn’t really think Cloverfield was very Lovecraftian, to me it seems more like a pov Godzilla/ alien invasion flick. I really enjoyed The New Daughter, and thought it brought some nice ties to Lovecraft’s The Mound, and The Lurking Fear.

    I’m really excited for Prometheus and John Dies At The End. Has anyone heard how The Darkest Hour is?

  3. An excellent list, with the possible exception of In The Mouth Of Madness. Man, do I hate that movie. But that could just be me. :) Still, very comprehensive.

  4. I can’t resist mentioning a couple of Guillermo del Toro’s (my favorite movie-making Lovecraftian fanboy’s) efforts: both of his Hellboy movies are full of Lovecraftian elements and creatures. Will

    • Yeah, but the tone of them was more like something out of Alan Moore’s LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN than HPL, in my opinion.

      • Hey you guys. Actually Hell Boy was Mike Mignola, who in his acknowledgments in all his books makes it more than a point to thank Lovecraft for his inspirations. Infact Hellboy was dreamed out of Lovecraft, I would say. A must read of comic books. It’s full of Lovecraftian elements. Also ‘BPRD – Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense’, but Hellboy is the original. Anyway this was an interesting page and find. I have not seen a few movies here myself and I will check em out. Cheers

  5. The making of ‘Cloverfield’ was shrouded in so much secrecy that at one point the rumour mill suggested Abrams was filming ‘The Call of Cthulhu’. I just finished watching a film called ‘Colour from the Dark’, based on ‘The Colour out of Space’. It takes place in 1943 Italy and has a lot of the elements from Lovecraft’s story. It’s not bad.

  6. That’s what you call an exhaustive list! Thanks, Mike, for your invaluable insights into these disparate titles. My personal fav is “Cloverfield,” which succeeds on its merits even though the subject matter is somewhat hackneyed by today’s standards.

    • I have not seen PRINCE OF DARKNESS, but I am a John Carpenter fan, so thanks for reminding me. From the descriptions, I thought it was more Satanic than Lovecraftian, but I guess I’ll know for sure when I watch it. :)

  7. Lovely list, Mike. And everyone should go see The Whisperer In Darkness, because it’s the best movie ever.

    I also think that people who enjoyed these should try Marebito, a Japanese movie by Takashi Shimizu. It’s really hard to follow, as it tries to balance between is the main guy crazy or is this stuff really happening, and doesn’t do it very well, but, in a way, that does make it work better.

    And Die Farbe was lovely. I always knew the color of pure evil was pink.

    And everyone should see The Whisperer In Darkness. Seriously. Best… Movie… Ever.

  8. THE BURROWERS will be one of a must watch. I ponied up for a Roku player (I love it) and I can stream the movie (or buy) from Amazon Instant video. The rent price is $1.99. Thanks Mike great list. I have seen Alien, Cloverfield, The Thing and Into the Mouth of Madness. I enjoyed the Mouth even though it was certainly different than the story.

  9. Thanks Mike. Lots of great scary movies in the list with a few that I have not seen and will make an effort to see. One that I might suggest for the list that is one of my favorites and I think fills the bill is “Event Horizon.” They open up a gate to another realm of evil and insanity. True cosmic horror.

    • It’s been about 15 years since I’ve seen EVENT HORIZON, but from what I remember it might fit into this list. Thanks for the reminder — I will watch it again soon!

  10. Dagon, and Stuart Gordon in general, just rubs me the wrong way. Nothing against fan service but a naked, terrified woman in pain? No, just . . . no. Ugh.

  11. Ahh yes Event Horizon, which stars In the Mouth of Madness actor, Sam Neill. A great one to add I think. Anoth one would be Sphere, which shares some resemblances to The Temple.

  12. great list, though I’ve heard nothing good of ‘Cthulhu’ with the gay professor. & I didn’t like ‘Dagon’ much. You didn’t list ‘Beyond’ or ‘Cast a Deadly Spell’ with Fred Ward as the detective Lovecraft – though it’s not available on DVD. For me, it’s one of the best & tongue-in-cheek Lovecraftian films ever :-)

    • Cast a Deadly Spell is brilliant. Well written, well cast (Julian Moore, Clancy Brown, Fred Ward and David Warner). It’s one of those films you can watch again and a again because it is so damned entertaining. Almost all of the special effects are practical and it works to the film’s advantage. There is a certain tongue-in-cheek-ness to it, yes, but it is a pretty good mash-up of the hard-boiled, Raymond Chandler PI noir film and Lovecraft. This is one of my favorite movies.

      Did I mention it has Julianne Moore, Clancy Brown, Fred Ward and David Warner? That cast alone is worth tracking it down.

      • I agree completely. Cast a Deadly Spell is an incredible film. It has an amazing cast and the perfect mix of Chandleresque noir and Lovecraft mythos and clever tongue-in-cheek humor. I love it that his landlord is a New Orleans Voodoo priestess. I love it that an underworld boss has a huge black zombie for a henchman, and I love it that he’s the only one on the magical mean streets of L.A. who won’t use magic! Living gargoyles, rich virgins hunting unicorns, Gremlins, the Necronomicon, and a dame that’s as dangerous as a loaded 38. What’s not to love! I have the VHS tape, but I hope they put it out on dvd or BluRay soon.

  13. You really didn’t make it clear, but Stuart Gordon’s Dagon is really more The Shadow Over Innsmouth, not Lovecraft’s Dagon. The town in Spain is Imboca, boca is mouth in Spanish, get it?

  14. I wanted to dislike “The Last Lovecraft:Relic of Cthulhu” when I watched it on Netflix awhile back but I found myself laughing at it. It is supposed to be a campy comedy so it succeeded at that. It even had my wife laughing at parts of it and she’s not well versed in Lovecraftian lore.

    Still, a lot of the jokes will fall flat unless you are a Lovecraft fan:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1522262/

  15. I’m not recommending all of the following Lovecraftian titles, but I at least want to mention them in addition to those already discussed for the sake of inspiring more wide-spread interest in Lovecraftian films:

    The Evil Dead (1981)

    Evil Dead II (1987)

    Army of Darkness (1992)

    House of Black Wings (2010)
    After a tragic act of violence cuts short her music career, Kate Stone is returning to a city full of ex-fans and ex-friends. Taking shelter with her last friend, a struggling artist named Robyn Huck, the two women work to restore the aging courtyard apartment building Robyn has inherited. But a terrible secret infests the venerable structure, and soon Kate will be haunted by horrific dreams, sinister apparitions, and the sounds of something moving in the walls. She will be dragged into a confrontation not only with her own dark past, but the unspeakable nightmare that lurks beyond the walls!

    Re-Animator (1985)

    Kammaren (2007)
    Tore Forsman is an old man, most people would call strange or even mad. He lives in an old house on the country side. All his life he has kept something locked and sealed under his house. When he suddenly dies a relative, Adam, makes a trip to late Tores cabin. Adam has two friends with him, Björn and Jens. The spirit of Tore is somewhere to be found and that’s a good thing, ’cause something is still waiting.

    Kuro No Dansho (1999)
    aka Mystery of The Necronomicon: Book of the Dead
    Plagued by a string of gruesome occult murders, the inhabitants of an isolated resort turn to one another for comfort. But each hides a shameful past and forbidden desires. Now, a private detective must overturn every secret to fight the evil that stalks them all!

    Yôjû Toshi (1987)
    aka Supernatural Beast City (1987)
    aka Wicked City (1987)
    This is one sexy and bloody H.P. Lovecraft-esquire piece of animation from Japan not to be missed and definitely not for the kids.

    From Beyond (1986)

    L’isola degli Uomini Pesce (1979)
    aka Island of the Fishmen (1979)
    aka Screamers (1979)
    Loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth; an hysterical mix of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Island of Dr Moreau, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, H.P. Lovecraft, science fiction, Atlanian myths, and an episode of the TV show Lost.

    The Unnamable (1988)

    H.P. Lovecraft’s The Unnamable II: The Statement Of Randolph Carter (1993)
    aka The Unnamable Returns (1993)

    Pulse Pounders (1988)
    This horrror anthology includes an adaptation of Lovecraft’s The Evil Clergyman, featuring Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton.

    The Haunted Palace (1963)
    Can you say, “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward?”

    The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (2003)

    The Dunwich Horror (1970)

    The Dunwich Horror (2009)
    aka H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror

    Beyond the Dunwich Horror (2008)

    Dark Paradox (2007)
    The film follows a writer’s unwitting discovery of the history and secret efforts of a cult in Victoria, Canada that has been engaged in a 60 year effort to open a portal between our world and another, letting in a host of vicious inter-dimensional beings. The city of Victoria was rumored in the 1980′s to be the second worldwide ‘capital of Satanism’ after Geneva, Switzerland. Dark Paradox explores the idea that this myth was not only partially true but also partially inaccurate in suggesting the cult activity was ‘Satanic’ when in fact it was based on the worship of ancient extraterrestrial ‘elder gods’ in the vein of HP Lovecraft’s fiction.

    Paura Nella Città dei Morti Viventi (1980)
    aka City of the Living Dead (1980)
    Basically a zombie film which is set in the town of Dunwich, and has a strong Lovecraftian flavour.

    Quella Villa Accanto al Cimitero (1981)
    aka The House by the Cemetery (1981)
    Combines the ideas of H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth, with Henry James and Ambrose Bierce.

    Bride of Re-Animator (1990)

    Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

    Stuart Gordon’s Castle Freak (1995)
    Tense dark atmosphere, and a strong Outsider influence.

    Witch Hunt (1994)
    Dennis Hopper as Detective H. Phillip Lovecraft in a comedy version of Lovecraft’s mythos.

    Die, Monster, Die! (1965)
    A loose adaptation of Lovecraft’s, The Colour Out Of Space.

    Necronomicon: Book of Dead (1993)
    H. P. Lovecraft is looking, in the late thirties, after the ‘Necronomicon’. He finds it guarded by monks in an old library, and then copies some stories from it; which unfold for our eyes and his…

    The Subject (2006)
    A Re-Animator type film, about a woman who is reanimated after dying a horrible death; and is now Hell bent on revenge. Amelia Foxton plays the sexy yet evil “Subject” being created by “Dr. Raimi” and “Dr. Campbell.” The film is a violent and corny Lovecraft style film.

    The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu (2009)

    Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968)
    The story is apparently loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft’s “Dreams in the Witch House”.

    Equinox (1970)
    It’s vaguely Lovecraft-inspired, about four young people who go looking for an old professor (Fritz Leiber, Jr.) they know who’s living in a cabin in the woods while he studies “eldritch knowledge”. He’s missing and his scary book (the Necronomicon?) is missing too.

    Dark Heritage (1989)
    Another uncredited adaptation of Lovecraft’s “Lurking Fear.”

    Il Mistero di Lovecraft – Road to L. (2005)
    1997: A student of folklore named Andrea Roberti hypothesizes the possible link between the horror literature of H.P. Lovecraft and the dark folk tales of the Po Delta, a mysterious and remote part of northern Italy. 2002: One of the directors of the film comes across a manuscript in Montecatini (Italy) which may have belonged to the American writer. This journal, dated 1926, describes travels in Italy through the Po Delta in search of inspiration in the form of local folk stories: the Filò Tales. 2004: A
    small, tough crew of international filmmakers is put together with the help of David, a New York actor, to make a documentary on the finding of the journal and on the links between Lovecraft and the Po Delta. The crew sets up its base in the town of Loreo – referred to simply as L. in the manuscript – as the author of the journal did. During their investigations the atmosphere of animosity and foreboding rises and they soon discover that strange and disturbing things have been happening in the area. Events that the locals are eager to keep secret.

    Lurking Fear (1994)

    The Curse (1987)
    Another adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s story, “The Colour out of Space.”

    La Casa Sfuggita (2003)
    aka The Shunned House (2003)
    Based on H P Lovecraft’s tale, “The Shunned House,” presents the stories of three people who all died within the confines of the dark and isolated chateau. Each story is taken from a different period in time, yet they combine with one another to reveal the house’s dark past to a journalist specialising in the paranormal and his sceptic girlfriend.

    Closet Space (2008)
    Contains Lovecraftian Mythos elements.

    Bleeders (1997)
    An uncredited low-budget adaptation of the Lurking Fear.

    Chill (2007)
    A low-budget version of Lovecraft’s, “Cool Air.”

    Beyond the Wall of Sleep (2006)
    A very poorly made film, with a very funny commentary track.

    In Search of Lovecraft (2008)
    While shooting a Halloween news story on horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, reporter Rebecca Marsh discovers that the “fiction” Lovecraft wrote is actually true and the creatures and cults described in his writings really exist. For die-hard low-budget ‘B’ movie fans only.

    Hunters of the Dark (2011)
    Inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft. A dark Lovecraftian thriller in which a series of events building up to an invasion of the Earth by beings from another astral plane, and Earth’s reaction to it.

    I would have included The Shuttered Room (1967) on my list, but that was really based on the writings of August Derleth in one of his “posthumous collaborations” with Lovecraft.

    And Mike, I do believe that certain types of creatures and tentacles can indicate a Lovecraftian atmosphere or influence…

    Will

  16. I always thought the original The Wicker Man, from the 1970s, had a very Lovecraftian feel. It’s not about extra-terrestrials but the depiction of the cult like pagans whose intentions are only slowly revealed was quite absorbing.

    Also The Blair Witch Project is worth considering for this list, with the same eerie feel. It actually reminded me of Sticks in some ways.

    • Glad someone else noticed the similarity between “Sticks” (one of my favorite mythos stories) and Blair Witch. I think “Sticks” could be the basis for a disturbing film.

  17. There is also Out of Mind: The Stories of HP Lovecraft. It is a fairly short Canadian film that kind of mashes together “The Statement of Randolf Carter” and “Hebert West: The Reanimator”. A young record store clerk is introduced to Lovecraft and slowly starts to go mad as he experiences visions relating to the stories he is reading. There are too many clues, however, that the visions are real and terrible things are being unleashed into our world. HPL himself makes and appearance (and the actor they cast looks remarkably like Lovecraft) and there is a wonderful scene where the clerk and HPL meet and the clerk is wearing a tee-shirt with Lovecraft’s face on it.

    Low budget, but the effects are very well done and some of the scenes are quite disturbing.

    It’s hard to find, but well worth seeking out.

    • The actor from this film, Christopher Heyerdahl, will be best known to American viewers of the AMC western series “Hell on Wheels”, where he plays a character known as “The Swede”. And yes, remarkably like HPL, especially the jawline.

  18. GREAT list! I’ve seen most of these, will be watching the ones I haven’t, and am having a great time with other people’s suggestions as well. Thanks so much!!!

  19. I feel compelled to include “The Last Winter”, which, although not based on an HPL story, was obviously influenced by one of Lovecraft’s influences, Algernon Blackwood. When you find reviews of this atmospheric, slowly-building film, it always gets qualified as “ecological horror” because it deals with a warming arctic and melting permafrost, but what makes it truly Lovecraftian is what that permafrost is releasing, and it isn’t as pleasant as methane or ancient peat.

  20. Guys, you should really check “Il mistero di Lovecraft – road to L”, an italian mockumentary about an hypothetical secret trip to Italy that Lovecraft supposedly made in 1926. It’s sort of a reimagening of “The horror over Innsmouth” and I think it has the right vibe. The only problem is that it’s 60% in english, while the rest is italian, and being an indie project I don’t know if there’s an english subbed version…

  21. all pretty good films , my personal favorites being the thing and in the mouth of madness ! had high hopes for the mist , and then they had to screw up a perfectly good ending ! everyone talks about how bleak an ending the film had . yeah , for one guy and those he kills . the original was much bleaker , because the entire world was affected , and you were left wondering if and how long they survived and whether or not they found any other survivors ! much better in book form than the film !

  22. It’s actually Hodgsonian instead of Lovecraftian, but I recommend the surprisingly effective (and unsurprisingly awesome) MATANGO to Lovecraftian film fans.

  23. Very good list. Several movies I have not heard of, so I think I now have a project for the next few weekends.

    I love Absentia, it is one of my new favorite movies.

    Someone mentioned Closet Space, and I will recommend that movie as well. Very strong Lovecraftian themes.

  24. Awesome list Mike!! I love it when you do this :) I thought I might add some of my own. You can find all of them on Youtube, which is great, because I think some of these entries would be difficult, if not impossible to find elsewhere. For the most part, these aren’t actual adaptations, but entries that are akin to or influenced by Lovecraft’s themes.

    While not exactly a movie and not exactly an adaptation of anything specifically Lovecraft, BBC’s teleplay of Quatermass and the Pit still stands as one of the best broadcasts ever for the BBC and is incredibly influenced by Lovecraft, whether intentionally or not (penned by Nigel Kneale).
    Youtube link- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i7JxVWxXuw

    While I highly recommend watching the BBC teleplay, more people might know Quatermass and the Pit from the movie adaptation by Hammer Films, called 5 Million Years to Earth. Youtube link – http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAE3DAD1E9710A6A3

    The Stone Tape, also penned by Kneale. You have to watch to the end, but yeah, totally Lovecraft :) Youtube link- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Tf0P2Iaw5M

    Lifeforce. Definitely follows the themes of Lovecraft’s misplaced spiritual terror. If only they would have picked a better leading man than Steve Railsback, it might have actually have stood a chance of being more popular then what it was. It’s a good movie, none the less. Youtube link- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuLFACRZASk

    The Horror Express, another Hammer film, definitely has a Lovecraft influence. And it’s got Telly freakin’ Savalas as a Cossak! :) Youtube link- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KApLCGBRX8M

    Knowing, starring Nicholas Cage. This one might seem strange to include, but at it’s heart, it follows one of Lovecraft’s key themes of an actual, hidden reality disguised or confused as spirituality, resulting in terror once the truth is revealed. Youtube link- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOb0ZBGKKHQ

    • Another one I forgot to add, and unfortunately I can’t find the full version on Youtube, but The Mothman Prophecies is another underrated movie that has as it’s central themes feelings of alienation and obfuscated truth. Truths that aren’t easy to find without delving deep into the central mystery of the story and even then, remain elusive and unknown, where only the surface has been scratched despite how far you go. It truly is a very good and atmospheric movie. And while not a literal adaptation of Keel’s signature book, it does reflect that book’s story very well. Youtube link to trailer- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP4P7VPx2zM

  25. Great list. I watched Absentia thanks to your recommendation, and was very impressed.

    Peter Weir’s The Last Wave, while not based on anything by Lovecraft, combines themes of dreaming and cosmicism/apocalypse in ways that bear some resemblance to The Call of Cthulhu. Excellent film.

  26. This is a great list and a great site in general, thanks! Hard pressed to add to your list. The Ninth Gate is a great movie. I think it qualifies as borderline Lovecraftian.

  27. I recently found a copy of AM 1200 at a booth at San Diego Comic-Con. That was one excellent movie! My first reaction was that I wanted it to be longer, but on second thought I don’t think it would have worked as well. You think you’ve hit the plot’s climax but then the second shoe drops directly after and just as quickly leaves you with a sense of a larger, cosmic horror. So glad I heard about it on the eZine!

  28. This is kinda obvious and I apologize if you guys are way over these, but seriously, how can we not include The Fog and (even more so) Dead & Buried? I mean seriously. If they aren’t Lovecraftian – water, fishing villages, freaky sh*t (like Dagon), then I’m 50 fathoms out of my league…

  29. Fantastic list Mike – you’ve added a good few to my watch list. There’s one you certainly missed that’d be pretty high up on mine, which is the fantastic ‘Uzumaki’ or ‘Spiral’ by Higuchinsky, based on the manga by Junji Ito. It’s increadibly Lovecraftian and a great film too.

  30. Great LIst and nice comments. I will add many of these to my “look for” list. I’d like to add “Die Monster Die!” with Boris Karloff. It’s one of Karloff’s last movies – a remake of “The Color Out of Space.” It was hard to find for a while, but now it’s on a double DVD with “Dunwich Horror.”

  31. Cabin in the Woods is the most Lovecraftian of those that I have seen. I had such a pleasant surprise when I first watched it, thinking it was going to be a normal hacker thriller….

  32. Definitely some good ones on this list, lots of important ones left out already mentioned in the comments. But also some that are good movies but so far from being lovecraft it makes me wonder

  33. Hi, I just read your list, and I haven’t read the last year’s worth of comments, but what about Hellraiser? Barker has an extremely cosmic element to most of his stuff, and his obsessions are much the same as HPL’s, but Hellraiser is one which seems even more deliberately influenced by Lovecraft. Also, this one isn’t a film, but if you’ve never read it, Imajica is a Clive Barker novel that is extremely Lovecraftian in all kinds of ways.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly about The Cabin in the Woods, and In the Mouth of Madness, but I thought Cloverfield was a bit of a stretch. Thanks very much for the other recommendations, most of which I’d never heard of.

  34. I enjoyed the movie Uzumaki, a Japanese horror film by Higuchinsky, released in 2000. It is based on Junji Ito’s manga. Both are very atmospheric. The reveals are very terrifying.

  35. I’ve never seen Pulse Pounders. I kinda forgot about it actually. I used to love those Full Moon flix. I’m an admitted Puppet Master fan.

  36. Just watched Europa Report. While not overtly Lovecraftian, there are subtle threads present throughout including isolation, insanity, and . And, while avoiding spoilers, I’ll say there’s a strong assertion that the ocean at the center of the Jupiter moon could be the origin (or at least nursery) for the creatures we associate with the Old Ones.

    I also suggest Monsters, an underrated sleeper with extremely Lovecratian creatures in both design and origin.

  37. Really liked the list, thanks so much for sharing these ideas. I have to agree with the previous poster ‘Europa Report’ is really great and with a strong cosmic horror feel. ‘Monsters’ was good too, it felt like a follow up to ‘Cloverfield’ in a few ways, but better executed (sorry JJ). I would also like to second Phantoms, it’s old and kind of cheesy I know (the cast is good though), but I read the book by Koontz (which definitely harks back to HPL) and the film was a fairly good adaptation.

  38. I just recommended the Lovecraft eZine, and this film list in particular over on Reddit Lovecraft; and I wanted to mention here that my admiration continues to grow for what I see here. Will

  39. I know it’s been mentioned here before, but I’d like to recommend adding Yellow Brick Road. I watched it recently and has a wonderfully creepy vibe, reminiscent of work like The Whisperer in Darkness, The Lurking Fear, or Blackwood’s “The Willows”.

  40. Some other considerations:

    Wake Wood – What would you do to bring back someone you lost?
    Grabbers – Very Cthulhu mythos like monsters
    The Rig – Very Cthulhu mythos like monsters
    Pulse (either Japanese or the US Remake are good)

  41. I’ll second the recommendation for “Grabbers.” It’s got a nice take on Shub-Niggurath (and her many– TOO many– young).

  42. One that was just on TV that I have to admit has always struck me as being innately Lovecraftian, and one I doubt anybody is going to agree with me about (but what the hell, here goes): 1956′s Forbidden Planet.
    The entire lost civilization of the Krell, from their massive trapezoidal forms that we are only allowed to guess at, to the sheer cyclopean scale of their planet-spanning structures, to their mysterious, ancient demise; the Id monster, which although powered by Jungian ideas of the subconscious, is a malevolent, formless energy being, and tends to kill in the manner of Wilbur Whateley’s invisible twin brother; the inhospitable nature of Altair IV itself, and it’s extreme remoteness. Where it all departs from the strictly Lovecraftian is in the starship crew – HPL never indulged in comic relief characters – and the strong-jawed, somewhat belligerent hero played by Leslie Nielsen. Ditto for the innocent daughter played by Anne Francis, or one of the great iconic screen robots Robby, but change out Walter Pidgeon’s Dr. Morbius as a future mad scientist and put him in a starched collar and he could easily be a corrupted Miskatonic academic who has discovered too much.
    I know this film, adapted from The Tempest, could more likely be referred to as Shakespearean than Lovecraftian, but it does have something of a C.L. Moore, C.A. Smith feel through key points of the plot. Possibly a different list could be established for ‘Weird Tales-ian’ movies…

  43. I watched a few of these on your recommendation, and I was NOT impressed with the Shrine, or Yellowbrick Road. The latter at least had a unique concept, but a distinct inability to pull off the ambiguous ending. Pontypoole was better, but the ending falls apart completely. I Am always on the lookout for good horror/sci-fi, so thanks for the suggestions and keep up the good work!

  44. Just a few films you guys should check out… Bloodwork 2012, Devils pass 2013, Cell Count 2012, Blood Creek 2009, Wither 2012, Dead Shadows 2012, Crouch End from Nightmares and Dreamscapes. My current favorite is Mariano Baino Dark Water 1993. Enjoy! I know I did.

  45. I’m going to stick in a couple of belated oars here– first, a recommendation for They (2002), which is more overtly monstery than something I’d usually try to include in the Lovecraftian ring of a Venn diagram, but it has some things to recommend it; the monsters are very ill-defined, their motivations are very obscure, there’s some chance that they’re no more than a figment of the protagonist’s imagination and if they are that may actually be worse than if they’re real.

    Second, a recommendation against the previously suggested Beyond the Wall of Sleep (2006), which surpasses even the horrid adaptation of The Lurking Fear (1994) for miscarried attempts at doing Lovecraft in a film. I watched ten minutes of it, and when no amount of bearing down could help I started again with the commentary in hopes they’d explain themselves; the directors, producers and writers (three or four guys, all in multiple hats) just made fun of the actors, and I couldn’t get past eight minutes of that.

  46. One film you might want to look into is Darkness (2002) While for some reason rated fairly negatively and at first glance seems like a standard haunted house flick but once you dig into it there are themes of madness and The Darkness in question is “the state of chaos and formless void that existed before Creation and which constantly threatened existence thereafter. This primal darkness was embodied in the Ogdoad and in the great serpent Apophis” Anyway fantastic list, I have found a ton of great film through it!

    • I know people from Spain who rate Darkness with 10.
      It’s a previous movie from the director of the amazing [REC], Jaume Balagueró (I felt like kneeling in the cinema when I saw the ending; those last minutes were the best experience of my life in a cinema).

  47. Thank you for this list. It gives me lots of good ideas as to what to watch next.

    I’ve always considered “Quartermass and the Pit” (“Five Million Years to Earth” in the US) to be vaguely Lovecraftian.

  48. I enjoyed In Search of Lovecraft, From Beyond, the first Re-Animator, Frankenstein’s Army, Evil Dead 1 and 2, The Maze, Lunopolis, Atrocious, Grave Encounters, Apollo 18, V/H/S, V/H/S 2, Devil’s Pass, The Bay, 1408.

  49. Mike you and I share a love of many of the same films. The Resurrected is my second favorite horror film of all-time. It is directed by Dan O’ Bannon who was one of the original writers on the movie Alien, also on your list. It has been said that before O’ Bannon died, he had been working on restoring footage to The Resurrected and was trying to release a special edition of the film on dvd. John Carpenter is my favorite director, and my favorite film of his was In the Mouth of Madness. It has been an inspiration for my own stories. Also, Prince of Darkness and The Thing are incredible films that I was pleased to see on your list. Event Horizon was an amazing film and one of the two best films I have seen mixing horror and sci-fi. I was also very pleased to see my third favorite horror film, Dagon. It was directed by Stuart Gordon, who I believe has shown the greatest talent for bringing Lovecraft’s work to the screen. He has made many lovecraft films but this was his largest budget and he was able to film in a coastal village in Spain allowing for a great deal of realism. He made a short film for the TV series Masters of Horror. It was Lovecraft’s Dreams in the Witch House. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it. Three movies that were not on your list that I recommend you to check out are The Unnamable, Evil Dead, and The City of the Living Dead. Note: The Unnamable was of course a low budget film, but what has always staggered me every time I see this film is that near the end, when we get to see the creature, the makeup for the “Unnamable” was incredible. Not only that, but the person in the makeup gave an incredible physical performance that totally sold this creature to the audience. I watched it recently and the creature holds up even today with any large budget film could produce. What a payoff!

  50. Great list; probably the best I’ve seen. Glad to see Absentia, Yellow Brick Road, and Cthulhu on here. Cthulhu doesn’t get enough credit. Great atmosphere.

  51. Check out Ravenous, starring Guy Pierce and Robert Carlyle. Otherwise I think you nailed my other top picks.

  52. Great suggestions! I spent the last 3 days watching the films I hadn’t seen. Wonderful stuff! I just watched Blood Glacier 2013 last night. I highly suggest it. It has a real “The Thing” feel to it and plenty of creatures.

  53. Great llist. One new addition you might like is BORDERLANDS (2013) a British found footage fim directed by Elliot Goldner. A team of paranormal investigators look into claims of supernatural activity in a remote church and it soon becomes apparent that some kind of ancient evil has been awakened. It’s very Lovecraftian, especially in its final scenes.

  54. I am not sure if anyone has mentioned “Here Comes the Devil,” a Mexican horror film which has several Lovecraftian elements (I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who has not seen it). But I enjoyed the film and was surprised by the ending, which is the most Lovecraftian part of the film. Here’s the Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Here_Comes_the_Devil

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