Earlier today, I posted about the pronunciation of “Cthulhu” (and included a drawing of Cthulhu by Lovecraft himself). My friend, the author W.H. Pugmire, emailed after that and reminded me of the movie Out of Mind: The Stories of H.P. Lovecraft. As he writes, “there is a scene near the beginning when Lovecraft is walking through the woods and experimenting with his own pronunciation. It’s a wonderful scene!”
Indeed it is, and so is the movie. I can’t imagine any Lovecraft fan not enjoying it. Actor Christopher Heyerdahl does a fabulous job depicting the old gent.
Watch the movie below. Enjoy!
Despite its relatively small budget, this remains one of my favorite Lovecraftian films, not only because of Heyerdahl’s performance (which is VERY good), but also for the fact that it captures some of the elements of Lovecraft which first drew me in and which continue to fascinate me to this day, such as his blurring of the lines of reality and dream, the questioning of identity and knowledge, etc. Often very quietly, this little film manages to do what so few films inspired by or adapted from Lovecraft do: get to the heart of the man and his work, which is soooo much deeper and broader than horror, terror, monsters, or even limited to the cosmic (great as that last is). In this respect, it reminds me of the old WGBH production of The Scarlet Letter, which captured more than anything else I’ve ever seen that aspect of Hawthorne which I, too, picked up with my first readings of his works back as a child, and which Lovecraft describes so well in “Supernatural Horror in Literature”:
“Evil, a very real force to Hawthorne, appears on every hand as a lurking and conquering adversary; and the visible world becomes in his fancy a theatre of infinite tragedy and woe, with unseen half-existent influences hovering over it and through it, battling for supremacy and moulding the destinies of the hapless mortals who form its vain and self-deluded population. The heritage of American weirdness was his to a most intense degree, and he saw a dismal throng of vague spectres behind the common phenomena of life; but he was not disinterested enough to value impressions, sensations, and beauties of narration for their own sake. He must needs weave his phantasy into some quietly melancholy fabric of didactic or allegorical cast, in which his meekly resigned cynicism may display with naive moral appraisal the perfidy of a human race which he cannot cease to cherish and mourn despite his insight into its hypocrisy. Supernatural horror, then, is never a primary object with Hawthorne; though its impulses were so deeply woven into his personality that he cannot help suggesting it with the force of genius when he calls upon the unreal world to illustrate the pensive sermon he wishes to preach.”