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  • Writer's pictureAllan Major

The Call Of Cthulhu 2005 Reviewed

Featured Image For The Call Of Cthulhu 2005 Reviewed.  An eerie movie poster depicting a monstrous creature looming over a jagged landscape with a boat in the foreground.
From the abyssal depths, ancient horrors rise to haunt the modern mind.

In the realm of weird tales, there exists a cosmic murmur that has haunted the fringes of cinema for decades. A name whispered in hushed tones – Lovecraft. To conjure his eldritch entities onto the silver screen was a venture deemed foolhardy, an invitation to disaster and disjointed visions. Yet, in 2005, a whisper turned to a muted roar with the advent of "The Call of Cthulhu". This was no mere adaptation; it was an invocation.

The Call Of Cthulhu 2005 Key Takeaways

  • The power of suggestion: The film's true horror lies not in explicit gore or monsters, but the creeping dread of the unknown. The grainy, silent-era aesthetic enhances the sense of unseen terrors lurking just beyond perception.

  • Atmosphere is everything: The reliance on atmosphere and mood over traditional jump scares generates a lasting sense of unease. The film reminds us that what's hinted at can be far more terrifying than what's directly shown.

  • Cosmic insignificance: "The Call of Cthulhu" forces viewers to confront the uncomfortable concept of humanity's minuscule place in a vast, uncaring universe filled with ancient, unknowable entities.

  • The fragility of sanity: The film depicts the gradual erosion of the protagonist's mental state, mirroring Lovecraft's core theme of the mind's vulnerability when faced with cosmic horrors beyond comprehension.

  • Respect for the source material: The filmmakers demonstrate a deep understanding of Lovecraft's work, translating not just the plot but the essence of his cosmic horror onto the screen.

  • Homage to silent cinema: The decision to craft a silent film isn't merely stylistic. It enhances the otherworldly atmosphere and transports the viewer to an era where the uncanny resided in the flickering movements of silent film.

  • Independent filmmaking triumphs: Despite limited resources, "The Call of Cthulhu" is a testament to the power of passion and ingenuity in filmmaking. It stands as an example of what can be achieved outside of the mainstream studio system.

  • Lovecraft's enduring legacy: The film proves that Lovecraft's themes of cosmic horror and the fragility of human reason still resonate powerfully with modern audiences.

Girl watches The Call of Cthulhu (2005) with a look of dread.
The stars are wrong, and her sanity hangs by a thread.

Director Andrew Leman and a devoted cabal of filmmakers from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society dared to translate the unfilmable with an audacious choice as stark as the stories themselves: a black and white silent film. They understood the genius of Lovecraft wasn't the monstrous imagery alone, but the insidious suggestion, the creeping realization that what lurks in the shadows of our minds is often far more terrifying than anything given form.

Leman dives into the source material with a reverence rare in adaptations. The narrative, much like Lovecraft's original short story, is conveyed through the eyes of a man (Matt Foyer) driven to the precipice of madness by his late great-uncle's obsession with an oceanic deity, Cthulhu. The film unfurls as a series of flashbacks, a fever dream of shadowed figures, desolate landscapes, and an inescapable sense of impending doom. The silence is a character in and of itself, punctuated by a haunting musical score that evokes the otherworldly dread so integral to the experience.

The decision to embrace the stylistic trappings of the silent era isn't a gimmick; it's a profound artistic statement. The grainy images, the exaggerated emoting, and the intertitles heighten the sense of unreality. This isn't simply a homage to early horror – it transports us to a time when the uncanny resided in flickering frames and in the spaces between. It mirrors the protagonist's descent into an archaic terror, hinting at a malevolence far older than mankind itself.

Where "The Call of Cthulhu" truly excels is in its dedication to capturing the essence of Lovecraft's cosmic horror. The reliance on atmosphere over jump scares allows an unsettling mood to seep into the viewer's consciousness. The glimpses of Cthulhu are purposefully fleeting, monstrous fragments that hint at an incomprehensible vastness. True to Lovecraft, it's the unseen, the indescribable that lingers, eroding the mind's defenses.

Man watches The Call of Cthulhu (2005), his face etched with unease.
He senses the vastness of the cosmos...and the terrifying insignificance within it.

This Film Is Absolutely Adored On Rotten Tomatoes

The film isn't without its imperfections. The acting can veer towards the melodramatic, an occasionally jarring note amidst the oppressive atmosphere. Some of the special effects, while lovingly crafted, bear the charming clunkiness of their practical nature. Yet, these blemishes only serve to emphasize the film's independent spirit, a labor of love crafted outside the polished machinery of Hollywood.

For the dedicated Lovecraft fan, "The Call of Cthulhu" is a revelation. It's one of the truest adaptations of his work, understanding that the heart of his horror lies not in spectacle but in the insidious dread of the unknown and unknowable. Newcomers may find the silent format and archaic style an initial hurdle, but like the protagonist drawn by a nameless compulsion, perseverance will reward them with a haunting and unforgettable cinematic experience.

The call of "The Call of Cthulhu" has resonated through the years. It garnered praise upon release, with critics like Dennis Schwartz hailing it as a "haunting labor of love tribute" and Paul di Filippo of Science Fiction Weekly proclaiming it "the best HPL adaptation to date." This unassuming black and white gem stands as a testament to the enduring power of Lovecraft's vision and the ingenuity of independent filmmakers.

In the grand tapestry of horror cinema, most adaptations of Lovecraft are fleeting aberrations, doomed to fade into the cosmic background noise. "The Call of Cthulhu", though, earns its place in the Mythoscope. It's a film that dares to look back in order to peer beyond, a whispered invitation to confront the maddening mysteries that lurk at the edge of our understanding. And in the end, isn't that what Lovecraft, and indeed, the finest horror, asks of us?

And that is The Call Of Cthulhu 2005 Reviewed. Another great modern cult horror movie

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If You Liked The Call Of Cthulhu 2005 You Might Also Like These Films

  • Dagon (2001): A Spanish horror film loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft's short story of the same name as well as "The Shadow Over Innsmouth." It follows a boating accident that strands a couple in a decrepit, isolated fishing village where the inhabitants worship an ancient sea god called Dagon. The film shares an atmosphere of creeping dread and a focus on decaying coastal towns harboring dark secrets.

  • In the Mouth of Madness (1994): Directed by John Carpenter, this psychological horror delves into themes of cosmic horror and the fragility of reality. An insurance investigator is tasked with finding a missing horror author whose novels seem to be driving readers insane. As he investigates, he uncovers hints of an apocalyptic reality lurking beneath the surface of our own. Like "The Call of Cthulhu," it explores the mind-bending effects of encountering forces beyond human comprehension.

  • The Beyond (1981): Directed by Italian horror maestro Lucio Fulci, this film is a surreal and gory descent into a hellish nightmare. When a young woman inherits a Louisiana hotel, she unwittingly opens a portal to one of the seven gateways of Hell. The focus on the grotesque, nightmarish imagery, and the sense of encroaching doom aligns well with the cosmic horror themes explored in "The Call of Cthulhu."

  • Re-Animator (1985): A darkly comedic horror film directed by Stuart Gordon, loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft's story "Herbert West–Reanimator." A medical student discovers a serum that can bring the dead back to life, leading to a series of gruesome and increasingly outrageous experiments. While less focused on cosmic horror than "The Call of Cthulhu," it shares a fascination with forbidden knowledge and the consequences of tampering with forces beyond our understanding.

  • The Dunwich Horror (1970): A classic horror film based on the H.P. Lovecraft short story of the same name. It tells the story of Wilbur Whateley, a young man with a dark lineage, seeking to bring forth ancient, monstrous entities. The film features similar themes of ancient cults, hidden knowledge, and monstrous beings from another dimension, appealing to those who enjoyed the otherworldly aspects of "The Call of Cthulhu."

The Call Of Cthulhu 2005 Reviewed FAQs

Q: What is "The Call of Cthulhu" about? 

A: "The Call of Cthulhu" is a short silent film based on the iconic 1926 short story by H.P. Lovecraft. It delves into the investigations of a man named Francis Wayland Thurston, who inherits a collection of documents from his deceased great-uncle. These documents reveal a disturbing obsession with a monstrous, ancient entity known as Cthulhu, a sleeping god submerged in the South Pacific and worshipped by a worldwide cult. The film follows Thurston's descent into madness as he uncovers the horrifying truth hinted at within his great-uncle's research.

Q: Who are some of the key people involved in making the film? 

A: The film was directed by Andrew Leman and written by Sean Branney. It was produced by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Key cast members include Matt Foyer as Francis Wayland Thurston, John Bolen as his great-uncle George Gammell Angell, and Ralph Lucas as Inspector Legrasse.

Q: How long is the film? 

A: The film has a runtime of 47 minutes, making it a relatively short but impactful viewing experience. This length stays true to the format of Lovecraft's original short story.

Q: What is the visual style of the film? 

A: "The Call of Cthulhu" is a unique cinematic experience as it's filmed entirely in black and white and presented as a silent film. The filmmakers employed a technique called "Mythoscope," blending vintage and modern filming styles to give the movie the look and feel of a 1920s production. This style choice, along with the use of expressionist sets and stop-motion animation for the monstrous sequences, enhances the unsettling atmosphere and otherworldly nature of Lovecraft's vision.

Q: Where can I watch the film? 

A: The film is available on DVD, which can often be found through the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society or similar specialty retailers. Additionally, it can be streamed or rented through platforms like Vudu or Amazon Video.


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