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Author Topic: The Call of Cthulhu (2005)  (Read 8545 times)
Silenzio
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« on: December 30, 2007, 10:10:33 PM »

I read the short story for the first time last week, and it pretty much blew my mind, so I thought I'd check out this independent silent film version, which was put out by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society.

I think it's a very well done and innovative film.  They tried to make it as authentic as they could to a movie put out in 1926 (when the story was written).  Some of the film's strongest points are the very chilling music and direction.  They stayed very faithful to the source material.  My only real complaint is the final encounter with Cthulhu, I know it's a hard thing to do on a small budget, and the stop-motion was what they had to work with back in '26, but I think that just the overall look of Cthulhu in this last scene could have been done better.

All in all, it's a very out-of-the-box film that's definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of the story of Lovecraft.  I want to give it a 7/10, but i'll give it an 8 just for the ingenious way they approached the project.

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Tuco the ugly
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2007, 07:48:40 AM »

Wow, haven't even heard of this, but I'll definitely check it out. TCOC is the best Lovecraft's short story, by far.

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Tuco the ugly
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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2007, 07:50:34 AM »

Where did you buy it, and for how much money?

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moviesceleton
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« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2007, 08:12:43 AM »

Where did you buy it, and for how much money?
I have a guess...

I think I've heard of this some time before... Sounds interesting indeed.

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Tuco the ugly
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« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2007, 08:48:39 AM »

This looks great:
http://community.livejournal.com/film_stills/784431.html

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2007, 10:34:29 AM »

Saw this and was disappointed. The depiction of Cthulhu didn't come off at all. I don't blame the stop-motion technique so much as the fact that any visual presentation of the monster can never do justice to Lovecraft's prose. It's a problem with adapting the books to film. Lovecraft's technique depends on suggestion rather than making things explicit. The only way to do this cinematically is with shadows and sound effects (think Val Lewton's Cat People). As soon as you show the thing straight on, you--literally--break the spell.

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Tuco the ugly
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« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2007, 11:21:48 AM »

Yeah, Cthulhu does look lame...

Here's how he should look:

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2007, 12:09:20 PM »

Absolutely not.

"...but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."

"Above these apparent hieroglyphics was a figure of evidently pictorial intent, though its impressionistic execution forbade a very clear idea of its nature. It seemed to be a sort of monster, or symbol representing a monster, of a form which only a diseased fancy could conceive. If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings; but it is the general outline of the whole which made it most shockingly frightful."

Lovecraft makes it clear, therefore, that a faithful rendering of the creature is not possible. Furthermore, any direct depiction of Cthulhu that does not produce madness in the viewer is a false representation. Even if such a depiction were possible, it would, of course, be in no-one's interest to execute it. Better to merely suggest the monster by indirect means.

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« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2007, 01:04:17 PM »

You're wrong, Dave. Again.

That is how the Norwegian sailor Gustaf Johansen depicts it. Not Lovecraft. By the way, the poor sailor gone mad after seeing Cthulhu, so he hardly can be taken literally. The cursed sunken city of R'lyeh also has a geometry that cannot be described, just as the forgotten ancient city deep in the sands of Arabia (from his other short story that is also considered to be one of the Cthulhu Mythos - "The Nameless City"). It is, just a way to make the story more interesting and the atmosphere scarier.

In the second part of the short story ("The Tale of Inspector Legrasse"), when the inspector tells his story of how they hunted down the mad Cthulhu worshipers in the swamps of Southern US, he also refers many times to how bizarre and scary their accursed rituals were, hard to interpret even for one who saw them with his own eyes.

« Last Edit: December 31, 2007, 01:06:36 PM by Tuco the ugly » Logged
Tuco the ugly
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« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2007, 01:22:49 PM »

But, I do understand why you are confused Dave, it is because you, like many other occasional Lovecraft readers, do not understand what Cthulhu (and all the other monsters from his stories) are in fact.

You see, they are not gods, as many think they are, they are just extraterestrial beings much more powerful than humans, that came to Earth many eons ago, and seeing how primitive the men were, imposed themselves as gods.

Cthulhu is not a omnipotent being, it was never intended to be, he is just too powerful, even for the people of today. He can use telepathy to control men, as many other powers, so he can exhibit himself as he wishes. For the weak mind of men is no match for his.


The only entity that cannot be described in words, is the Lord. Only He, the omnipotent ruler of all creation, is beyond imagination. Only He, cannot be draw. Only He, cannot be faithfully presented in a movie. Amen.


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dave jenkins
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« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2007, 01:45:48 PM »

You do not refute me, but instead make my point. It matters not whether Lovecraft's creatures are supernatural or extraterrestrial. Either way, they are beyond the ken of mortal man; when apprehended by humans, these creatures induce madness. This is not a reaction of certain individuals only; Lovecraft shows that madness is alway associated with human encounters with the Old Ones. Man cannot go much beyond an anthropomorphic conception of the universe and keep his sanity. (No doubt that is why the God of the Bible is rendered with human attributes.) Paintings and illustrations (to say nothing of puppets in movies) that try to put over Lovecraft's project just seem silly.

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« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2007, 04:49:06 PM »

Yes, but, we (who watch the movie) should be able to see him normally. How the protagonist would see him is a completely different story. They could be going mad as looking at him, but we behind the camera should see him, let's say - simplified, without the Cthulhu mind power effect.

I want something like this:


Or this:


Or this:


Or this:


Or this:


Or this:



If, however, someone in the movie sees him like this:


... it is not my problem.

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2007, 05:14:57 PM »

Why the protagonist should see Cthulhu differently than the audience is beyond me. Our reactions should be the same. It has nothing to do with mind power and everything to do with fear. An accurate presentation of Cthulhu in a film would drive an audience insane. Again, such a depiction is not really possible, so the best strategy for a filmmaker to use is to show Cthulhu to the protagonist without showing him to the audience. The audience would then vicariously experience the confrontation with the monster through the reaction of the character. By contrast, looking at the images you've provided merely fills me with the revulsion bad art always communicates, no matter the subject.

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Tuco the ugly
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« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2007, 05:40:14 PM »

I do agree that it's hard to depict any monster, especially the ones from Lovecraft's stories, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be shown at all. I wouldn't find inappropriate to see only part(s) of the creature cloaked in darkness, slobber, ooze or anything suchlike, that amplifies his vileness.

Quote
Why the protagonist should see Cthulhu differently than the audience is beyond me.

Because he'd be in delirium. With his mind, and very possible even his body, tormented.

Quote
It has nothing to do with mind power and everything to do with fear.

I think this is very well explained in one of his stories, don't know which for sure. The power that these beings have is far from simple body-presence inducted fear.

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moviesceleton
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« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2008, 09:03:33 AM »

Dave wins.

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