Who’s Dream Is It Now? Definitely Not Lovecraft’s…

Not that Lovecraft would have liked any film based on his work, mind.  The man was persnickety about film.
Not that Lovecraft would have liked any film based on his work, mind. The man was persnickety about film.

In lieu of anything else to discuss, let’s talk about this.

H. P. Lovecraft happens to have a horrible, horrible track record when it comes to movie adaptations.  Simply horrible. For every good film there’s at least a dozen really, really bad one.

Which leads us to today’s victim.  Subject.  Whatever.

During one of my many many many many trawls through the internet I discovered (courtesy of IO9) a new film based upon the man’s work being released this week.  It’s called H. P. Lovecraft’s The Dark Sleep, and already we have problems as there is no such story by that title.  That, of course, is a petty point, but telling about the production right off the bat nonetheless.  It says they’re trading off the writer’s name more than his works.  It suggests a certain lack of fidelity to the source, whatever the source should be.

Now the IO9 article suggested that Dark Sleep is based on Dreams in the Witch House.  Note that the original title is distinctive, standing apart from the pack.  The story it’s attached to is also distinctive; it ranks in my book as one of Lovecraft’s better efforts (a judgement Old Providence would not agree with.)  That means that a movie based on the source might be worth looking into, if not actually watched.

The link provided in the source article takes one to the Amazon.com page for the film, where we find the cover for the movie:

H P Lovecraft Dark Sleep 000

 The first thought running through my bean is the most obvious:  What the hell is a chick doing in a Lovecraft movie?  The man didn’t have female characters in his stories.  The human race might as well have been straight up sexless  old men as far as he seemed to be concerned.

But this isn’t quite the truth.  Lovecraft did indeed dabble with the fair sex in his prose.  Mostly in his collaborations with other writers (see The Curse of Yig, in which the main protagonist is a woman), but sometimes in his solo works.

Which Dreams in the Witch House is a prime example of.  The antagonist therein is one Keziah Mason, a witch preying upon the modern day infants.  Thus the woman pictured could be Mason.  She doesn’t look like how Mason gets described, but hey!  Dramatic license.

Or something.

Back to the IO9 article.  Something is said about the movie having stop motion animation.  I like stop motion animation about as much as Lovecraft.  Out of curiosity (and still suspecting a train wreck in progress), I head over to YouTube to see if there’s a trailer.

You know what?  There is!

The purist in me really wants to scream.  It really, really does.  Because this?  This looks like a wretched adaptation.  The lead actress looks seriously bored, especially in the scene where it looks like she’s traveling through space towards some unknown planet.  More, the F/X are terrible.  I’m pretty certain I saw better work early on the Play Station One.

However, there seems to me to be some love involved with those terrible F/X.  Some effort to present the odd places Lovecraft described.  I really wish they had bigger budget.

Dunno dunno dunno.  It might be worth a gander, were it to turn up on Netflix.  If only to see how long I could stand watching the silly thing before turning it off.

But as a buy?  Only in a dark and tortured sleep, my friends.

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4 Replies to “Who’s Dream Is It Now? Definitely Not Lovecraft’s…”

  1. This is not a true adaptation of the source material but plays more like a modern-day continuance. It features Brown Jenkin, Walter Gilman, Nyarlathotep and the Brotherhood of the Beast, and even the name of Eddington is evoked. Brett Piper is known for giving very little away in his trailers and prefers to save the good stuff for those who watch the film. As far as the effects go there is no CGI. It is all models, miniatures, and stop-motion Ray Harryhausen style. Not everybodys cup of tea but nice in a nostalgic way. It’s should be on Netflix so feel free to judge for yourself. This is a low-budget B-movie that caters to the genre, and as such should be viewed through that lens.

    1. Then it really should have had another title, shouldn’t it, rather than invoking Lovecraft’s name the way it does.

      Odds are good that I’ll give it a look see. I’ve watched a lot of films based on less promising grounds than that of the trailer

      1. For what it’s worth the the distributor tacked the Lovecraft name on it, not the filmmaker. The filmmaker simply acknowledged (openly) that he used elements from “Dreams in the Witch House” in the story. The artwork they used doesn’t even go with the film. The original writing did not have any Lovecraftian elements at all until the writer realized it was VERY similar to “Dreams in the Witch House” and decided to incorporate some HPL elements into it rather than be accused of stealing the premise. It is what it is.

        1. You’re right there. (And it doesn’t surprise me to here that the distributor tacked on the name; I really should have thought of that and made mention of the possibility in the body. It’s not like it’s a new phenomena or anything in the world of Film. Mea culpa.)

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