It’s been a bit of a hiatus. While I continue writing my next book, as well as the next-next book, there hasn’t been much in the way of time to search for and watch more Lovecraftian movies. But huzzah! Some time was made, and another movie was found! Let’s talk about… Cthulhu!
I made a decision to tackle the bulk of films out there adapted from HP Lovecraft’s work. Why, you ask? 1, because Lovecraft is one of my favourite authors. He created a far-reaching fictional universe that started an entirely new genre of horror. Many only know of Cthulhu, and many don’t even know THAT much. I’d like to shed a little light in that darkness. And 2, think of it as my tantrum or protest of sorts that Mountains of Madness has still never been made into a major movie. Bring on the Elder Things, dammit!
Let’s get this statement out of the way first; although titled Cthulhu, this movie has nothing to do with said Elder God. This is an adaptation of the story Shadows Over Innsmouth, another great story by Lovecraft that does not involve Cthulhu in any way. This is a story of Dagon, and the townspeople who worship it. There is the odd mention of the sleeping god Cthulhu in passing but from the title alone don’t go in thinking it’s about him.
The Innsmouth story took place in New England, but this take has been transplanted to the west coast, somewhere in Oregon. It does follow a similar structure though, with the protagonist being a man seen as an outsider to the town. Although he used to live here, he ran away years ago and is only returning because of a funeral. Things seem amiss from the get go.
That’s pretty much where the interest for this movie stopped for me. You get a blatant scene with cultists within the first few minutes, spoiling most of the mystery. From then onward it’s just a slow moving film where the main character is running through the town in a decent into madness.
There are added themes in this story that I imagine were an attempt to modernize it, but it doesn’t fix the lack of pacing. This is a very slow, uneventful movie that feels forever to get to it’s climax. Which there barely is one by the way. (If you know what I mean when I say Deep Ones, let’s just say it was lacking and disappointing.
Like I said, there are a few mentions of and nods to Cthulhu but this is most certainly the Innsmouth story of Dagon and the Deep Ones. But unlike the source material, this adaptation just doesn’t retain the same mystery or foreboding of a small town under the thrall of a Deep One monstrosity. Overall it’s a moody, but long winded and boring, take on an otherwise great Lovecraft story.