H-P- Lovecraft

DVD Releases: March 31st, 2009

Cthulhu-movie Out this week we have eight DVD’s to feature: Cthulhu, The Real Ghostbusters, Vol 1Dragonquest, Vampire Secrets, National Geographic: Journey to the Edge of the Universe, Ogre, and two Goosebumps: The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight, Return of the Mummy

  • Cthulhu:  I can’t wait to watch this movie.  I’m a huge fan of H.P. Lovecraft and wanted to watch this independent movie when it was in the theaters but due to it’s limited release I was unable to watch it.  For more read here.
  • The Real Ghostbusters, Vol 1: OMG we were just talking about this show on the Project: Shadow Informant.  I loved this as a kid.  I’m so excited to see it out.
  • Dragonquest: I have not seen this one but it does have dragons in it for our fantasy fans.  If you have seen this let me know in the comments if I should rent it.
  • Vampire Secrets: A History Channel exploration into Hollywood’s vampires including a look at the origin of several common superstitions and reveals the connection between the ancient vampire myths of Europe, Greece and China.  I haven’t seen this show but I like most of the History channel’s exploration specials.
  • National Geographic: Journey to the Edge of the Universe: I love these shows the imagery of stellar objects are always breathtaking.  Go on a voyage through the cosmos, beginning on Earth and traveling outward through the solar system and the Milky Way, past distant galaxies and to the very limits of the universe. Images from the Hubble telescope and innovative computer graphics make possible the single, long traveling shot that comprises this journey, and unobtrusive narration explains the sights along the way.
  • Ogre: Yet another bad monster flick from the Sci-Fi channel.  Not having watched this one yet I wonder if it’s just bad or if it passes into the realms of a craptastic B movie.  If you have watched this let me know in the comments.
  • the-real-ghostbusters For the Parents: two Goosebumps movies out this week for the young viewers.
    • Goosebumps: The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight: This collection of spooky tales:  In the title story, Jodie and Mark witness strange goings-on at their grandparents' farm. In "Don't Go to Sleep," Matt wakes up to find a family that he almost doesn't recognize. And in "Calling All Creeps," Ricky is paying the price for posting a mean girl's phone number in a personal ad.
    • Goosebumps: Return of the Mummy: A trio of spine-chilling adventures:  Gabe encounters an unhappily disturbed mummy while visiting his archaeologist uncle in Egypt in "Return of the Mummy." Next, Jeff gets a surprise when he receives a sarcophagus containing a 4,000-year-old mummy from his father. Finally, Eddie and Hat's plan to scare a boastful pal doesn't turn out the way they plan.

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DVD Releases: January 20th, 2009

Primal-Fear

  • Children of the Stones:  This one looks interesting, I’m getting a H.P. Lovecraft feel from the description and although I haven’t seen it I am curious and will have to rent it.  Astrophysicist Adam Brake and his teen son Matthew investigate the roots of a mysterious stone circle in the quiet British village of Milbury, where they encounter the sinister Rafael Hendrick and entranced villagers known as "the happy ones." Spooky turns to sinister as science and the supernatural collide
  • City of Ember: going on my rent list, I don’t expect a lot from this one but I have to know.  More on City of Ember here
  • Max Payne:  I started out not interested in this movie but then the trailers got me excited just not enough to see it in the theaters though I think I’m still going to rent it but I’m still on the fence.  If you have seen it let me know what you thought in the comments.  more on Max Payne here
  • Moonlight - The Complete Series:  Vampire fans sink your teeth into the series about a private eye vampire series.  Moonlight looked promising but Forever Knight still holds my heart for a vampire cop show.
  • Primal Fear:  This looks cool.  The History Channel examines the most common primal fears and try to explain why they actually scare you.
  • Pigface: Glitch/Son of a Glitch:  Great industrial band with a delightful sinister sense of humor.  This DVD has live performances that features:  "Weightless," "Suck," "Seven Words," "Auto Hag," "Murder Inc." and more.

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Del Toro At the Mountains of Madness

mountainsofmadness We have already discussed Guillermo Del Toro’s thoughts on The Hobbit (here) and Frankenstein (here).

With regard to At the Mountains of Madness, I'd love to see you tackle H.P. Lovecraft in a way that hasn't been done.

Del Toro: Me too. Me too. ... Part of the arrangement with Universal--in being essentially there for now until 2017--part of the arrangement was they would finance research and development for Mountains of Madness. And we are doing it. There are many technical tools in creating the monsters that don't exist, and we need to develop them. The creatures, Lovecraft's creatures, the tools that exist for CG and the materials that exist for makeup effects, you need to push them to get there, and we're going to push them (Scifi Wire).

If you have read any of H. P. Lovecraft’s books, then it is easy to see what Del Toro is talking about.  All of Lovecraft’s creation are like anything that has ever been done in a film before.  If you have ever seen any of the films based on any of Lovecraft’s books, then you know how far from the originals they have gone away from the originals so they could make them producible for the big screen.

What is the effect you want to get?

Del Toro: Well, the fact that the shape-shifting implicit in the novel and implicit in the creatures, ... if you think in technical terms, digitally, that means normally you generate, for example, one model per creature. If you talk about shape-shifting to the degree that these creatures do, then you're talking about, essentially--if you're using traditional tools--you're going to need to generate 30, 40 models fully rendered per creature. That's, A, limiting and, B, incredibly expensive. So what we are trying to do is we're developing sort of a Swiss-army-knife approach to modeling. The details are going to be evolving, but it's almost like a Chinese box approach to the models, where we can encase one model on another one and make them modular. And the tools that we need for that to be fluid don't exist. We're going to need to write digital code we need to develop, the way Peter [Jackson] had to develop software for Lord of the Rings. ...

It took so many movies to develop intelligent fire software to the point where Peter could render the Balrog or to develop Massive software to do the crowds in Lord of the Rings. By the same token, we're going to need to develop a new tool that will be. We are thinking of calling it the Howard. For Lovecraft. ... (Scifi Wire)

I think they made major strides toward Lovecraft style creatures in Hellboy 2, but there is a long way to go before our rendering capacity catches up with his imagination.  If anyone can make this happen, it would be Del Toro.  He has the clout and the creativity to do it.

Not Another Lovecraft Movie?

Reenter the skeptic:

Writer/director Guillermo del Toro told SCI FI Wire that he'd like to direct a faithful film version of H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness as one of the projects he'd like to do next, ... "The whole idea of Lovecraft's position towards the universe, he's very much like an Albert Camus position," del Toro said in an interview, referring to the French novelist and philosopher..., on Dec. 18. "He's an existentialist. He says the cosmos is indifferent to man. At the very best is indifferent. And [it] just [sees] us as fleas, or ... [is] hostile to us."

Del Toro, director of Hellboy and Blade II, has been developing a film version of Madness since at least 2003 (SciFi Wire).

So there you have it. I am indifferent to del Toro's work. I enjoy it, but it evokes no strong emotions in me one way or another. When I watched Hellboy, I thought it felt like a low budget Lovecraft knockoff, so may be del Toro might make a good movie...

I have seen so many bad Lovecraft inspired films over the years, that I have almost given up hope that there will ever be a good one, not to even dream of a great one.

I like del Toro's comparison of Lovecraft to Camus. It shows a deeper understanding of a writer that is often trivialized. Personally, I would rather see the Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath. According to IMDB there is one, but I can't find it on Netflix.