Hey! Did you mean Stranger Things? (I figured you did, but I’m not totally on top of Horror t.v./am generally about a season behind on everything, etc.) If so, no; I haven’t started it yet. I have seen a couple of great photo sets on here this weekend with some positive things in their tags/replies. I thought I’d put it off until I had a chance to learn more about it/read some reviews—lots of kids in the stills, and I don’t generally enjoy seeing children in Horror/Sci-fi…with some important exceptions and all that. I’m glad to hear that it’s well done, though, and really appreciate the rec. I’ll check out the first episode tomorrow night. 😀 Have a nice start to your week.
Hey, there. Thanks for the question. It’s one that I get every few weeks/months and that I’m happy to respond to whenever I catch some time. I always start off by linking to previous responses and then see if I have anything to add or to clarify: (right-click and open in a new tab if they give you trouble)
- this response is related, specifically, to The Whisperer in Darkness and is fairly recent; it also addresses a couple of broader issues and refers the asker to the HPLHS as a (good) resource
- this link takes you to a response specifically related to Lovecraft adaptations, with a discussion of Cosmic Horror, in general, as well
- this is a link to a movie list on Letterboxd that contains both adaptations and Cosmic Horror recs/favorites (examples of pastiche, integration of elements without unity, etc.)
- this list on Letterboxd contains many Lovecraft adaptations (both good and bad). If you click the “Read Notes” option at the top, you’ll see that I’ve noted the ones I like/think are better films
from The Lurking Fear (1994)
Now, by way of additions and/or clarifications, I guess I would add that these are certainly personal preferences, albeit ones anchored in my own personal set of criteria. When I’m judging these things, I like to consider how “close” to the text they are, obviously (fidelity, in other words), if they’re claiming to be adaptations; however, I’m not overly concerned with what I’ve heard called “purity.” Dagon (2001) by Stuart Gordon, for example, is clearly more of an adaptation of The Shadow Over Innsmouth than its eponym; and, even so, it’s still pretty far afield from Lovecraft’s story. That doesn’t make it any less enjoyable, in my view. Most of Gordon’s movies are packed with gore and sex (sex that is profoundly alien to HPL’s fiction), but they’re still a good time. I’d rather focus on how well a movie uses the Mythos for its own story’s development (beyond the pastiche that gets mentioned a lot when discussing sub-par Mythos fiction, etc.), how knowledgeable the creator seems to be of the Mythos they’re manipulating, and then on to all of the basic stuff I enjoy seeing in my Cosmic Horror, Lovecraftian or otherwise: de-centering of Human existence/relevance; “big” perspective/events of larger consequence (rather than, say, individual/personal drama, personal losses or fear); elements of the unexplained/able; elements of the Weird (resisting the urge to over-explain or provide simple solutions, veiling, that sort of thing); and, finally, a relatively unhappy ending of some sort.
from The Haunted Palace (1963)
For the folks who don’t want to visit any of the older links, here are five+ “Lovecraftian” productions that usually make my rec list. Again, these may not be straight-on/close to the text adaptations but still fairly faithful in terms of their integration of Mythos elements and Cosmicism as a sort of philosophical approach to Horror. These exclude the non-Mythos works of CH, though:
- Dagon 2001
- Necronomicon 1993
- The Whisperer in Darkness 2011
- The Dunwich Horror 1970
- Pickman’s Model (from Night Gallery): here’s a link to the episode
- If you can track it down, there’s an episode of the 80s revival of The Twilight Zone that adapts Stephen King’s story, Gramma. The King story involves Hastur and most tie it to The Thing on the Doorstep, although I consider it to be its own beast altogether. The adaptation for the 80s TZ was written by Harlan Ellison, so lots of big named Lovecraftians anchored into that. Here’s a link to the 80s TZ wiki entry.
For many, many more, see that Letterboxd List mentioned above (and view the notes/click the orange box). Additionally, here is a link to a list of selections from Mike Davis. I assume most Lovecraft fans are already familiar with Lovecraft eZine, but he has great taste, of course, and that’s a good resource for this sort of thing. If you dare to dip into the comments section there, you’ll see that everybody and their uncle has suggestions, too. It’s the nature of the ‘community’ to be fairly critical for various reasons/in general, so take just about any list with a grain of salt, including mine.
Finally, the fact that you’re already aware, it seems, of how many terrible attempts at adaptation are out there tells me you’re approaching this with the right kind of mindset. I say that with affection for the content, too, since if the road a Horror fan walks is paved with bad movies, the Lovecraft lane of it is a particularly dark and rocky one. 😀
Weird Fiction is tough to adapt to film, so I think it’s reasonable to be a little less, well, stringent with standards while viewing.
I hope this is useful in some way. Have a nice weekend and thanks for following.
Hey! I’m being a slow-poke with responses this week; sorry for the delayed response. I liked it, too. It achieved a heck of a lot with (deceptively) very little. I think that I understand the Silent Hill vibe you mention, although I was never as ‘into’ that franchise as many friends for various reasons (so I’m not overly familiar with it, etc.). Maybe some of the similarity of feeling has to do with the effective use of isolation, a consistently closed perspective, that sort of thing (?). Either way, I think that it has a lot going for it, yep. The Officer Loren character is pretty well developed, too, particularly compared to female leads found in many other contemporary Horror movies. Even the pseudo-Manson cult stuff worked in its favor. (I don’t care for it in general, but it did work well w/in the story and all that). You know, just out of curiosity, I’ve been looking for a reliable quote of the movie’s budget. I read somewhere that it was fifteen thousand dollars. That can’t possibly be right. If it is, then, it’s pretty damned great as far as low budget Horror goes. I actually rewatched Last Shift the other day and added a short blurb on LB, if you or anyone else cares about that sort of thing. I’m trying to develop the habit of logging movies and updating lists, along with checking the WP site more often, but it’s slow-going, as usual. 🙂 Old habits vs. new ones. Thanks for the note, my friend. I hope you’re having a good week.
Last Shift (2014) via Midnight Murder Show
Hello! I have, and I like it. Since you’ve asked, I assume you enjoyed it?
For those who’ve never seen this adaptation, it’s not what I suppose you might think of as a “conventional” production. Released in 2011, it is in black and white and has more than a bit of the “old time” (pronounced in my head as old-y time-y) feel of older Hollywood films—with some camp here and there for good measure. It’s been a while, but I think there are at least a couple of instances where the Transatlantic accent is used…or maybe I just imagined those to entertain myself even more; I’m not sure.
Either way, it’s fun, and I’d recommend it to those interested in a fairly ‘close to the text’ adaptation/folks exploring the difficulty of presenting the Weird (capital W) on-screen—without overcompensating with added sex/gore or having it look totally ridiculous, etc. I’ve had discussions on here in the past concerning the ‘unfilmable’ quality of much of the Mythos, and this movie is a smart, albeit not-for-everyone, example of how to make it work. Here’s a link to the official page (via the HPLHS). Matt Foyer does a great job as Wilmarth, btw. Daniel Kaemon was memorable, too.
While we’re talking movies, I’ll include resource links for anyone who cares/wants ‘em. Movie lists on Letterboxd: (1) for the Lovecraft “adaptations”/HPL…tangential list, which includes both recs and some terrible (watch at your own risk) films; (2) for the Cosmic Horror/Cosmicism and the Transcendent list, which is all recommendations and good stuff. [I’m in for the night, so I may update both later.] Also, here’s a link to a response from a while back to an ask concerning recs for Lovecraftian films/Cosmic Horror. Whisperer is on that, too.
Thanks very much for the fun question and have a nice night.
I recently received an Anon request for an updated/non-hyperlinked version of the “Horror Movies Written and/or Directed by Women” list that I shared back in March. [Here’s the original. Right-click/new tab to open] I decided to update the list before exporting the data, so below is the current version. This list is not exhaustive, by any means; I’ll continue to add more as I find the free time. Here’s a link to the updated list on Letterboxd with notes. And here is a link to the corresponding WP post (that I will probably update sooner).
- American Mary, written/directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska
- The Babadook, written/directed by Jennifer Kent
- American Psycho, directed by Mary Harron; co-written by Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner
- Silent House, co-directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau; written by Laura Lau
- Pet Sematary, directed by Mary Lambert
- Near Dark, directed by Kathryn Bigelow
- Humanoids from the Deep, directed by Barbara Peeters; Jimmy T. Murakami (uncredited)
- Ravenous, directed by Antonia Bird
- Boxing Helena, written/directed by Jennifer Chambers Lynch
- The Slumber Party Massacre, directed by Amy Holden Jones; written by Rita Mae Brown (yes…that Rita Mae Brown)
- Of Dolls and Murder, directed by Susan Marks; documentary, but still pretty chilling
- In My Skin, written and directed by Marina de Van
- The Countess, written and directed by Julie Delpy
- The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, co-directed/Co-written by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani
- Blood Diner, directed by Jackie Kong
- A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour
- Southbound “Siren,” directed by Roxanne Benjamin; written by Roxanne Benjamin and Susan Burke
- The ABCs of Death “E is for Exterminate,” directed and written by Angela Bettis
- The Moth Diaries, written and directed by Mary Harron
- Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, directed by Rachel Talalay
- Kill List, co-written by Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley
- Blood and Chocolate, directed by Katja von Garnier
- Tales of Halloween “The Weak and the Wicked,” written by Molly Millions, directed by Paul Solet; “Grim Grinning Ghost,” written and directed by Axelle Carolyn
- Goodnight Mommy, written and directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala
- Trouble Every Day, directed by Claire Denis; written by Claire Denis and Jean-Pol Fargeau
- The Hitch-Hiker, directed by Ida Lupino; co-written by Ida Lupino and Collier Young
- Ginger Snaps, co-written by Karen Walton and John Fawcett
- Jennifer’s Body, directed by Karyn Kusama
- Dead Hooker in a Trunk, written and directed by Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska
- Messiah of Evil, co-written/co-directed by Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck
- Spookies, co-directed by Genie Joseph, Thomas Doran, and Brendan Faulkner; co-written by Thomas Doran, Brendan Faulkner, Frank M. Farel, Ann Burgund, and Genie Joseph
- Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, written/adapted by Jaromil Jireš, Ester Krumbachová, and Vítězslav Nezval
- The ABCs of Death 2 “K is for Knell,” directed by Kristina Buožytė and Bruno Samper; “T is for Torture Porn,” directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska