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June 27, 2012

Movie Review: Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown (2008, Blu-ray, Cinevolve)

Howard Philips Lovecraft was quite a complex individual. Most brilliant people are. What H.P Lovecraft has provided in his writings for readers, current genre authors and filmmakers has been a journey into world like no other..his world. Cinevolve, the studio behind Cinema Head Cheese favorite, The Jesus Guy, have given the “Father of Cthulhu” a very welcome expose on the man called Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown.

Buy Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown on DVD

One of the first things that struck me in viewing Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown was the assemblage of talent brought on hand to give their thoughts on Lovecraft. John Carpenter (The Thing, In The Mouth of Madness), Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth), Neil Gaiman (Coraline), Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator, Dagon) and others give scholarly insight on Lovecraft's work. I was most impressed with Neil Gaiman, this guy seemed to bleed Lovecraft with the way he quotes passages from his stories. As someone whose dabbled sparingly in the written work of Lovecraft, seeing this enthusiasm gives me the sudden urge read all his stories.

Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown director, Frank H. Woodard, does a fine job weaving into the already engaging subject matter some impressive narration and perfect placement of Lovecraft inspired art. We're even given a small amount of dramatization examples that are thankfully well done. The filmmakers interviewed, Carpenter, Del Toro, and Stuart Gordon are perfect examples of successful artists to attain the genuine mood of Lovecraft in their respective films. The creatures in Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy have an obvious Lovecraf-tian look. Stuart Gordon grabbed onto the outcast hyper-intelligent man of science that H.P Lovecraft made for his most popular features, Re-Animator, From Beyond and Lovecraft's first published work, Dagon. With respect to Gordon, he did make them his own.

Lovecraft's background and family life, to me, lend the most fascinating content to this documentary. This is truly where the documentary opens up to a wider audience and not just devotees. His story is depressing and obvious fuel for his horrific stories that are now classic literature. H.P's mother, in particular, was a cold "puritanical" woman not wanting so much to even look into her son’s eyes. She was embarrassed, thought he was ugly and made it known. Because of this, Lovecraft became fixated with his own looks, his lantern-jaw, in-grown hairs on his face; this essentially would be what makes his work so unique. He felt he was one of these freakish tentacled creatures that he’d create. So much of Lovecraft’s writing was essentially an extension of himself anyway even though it was fantasy.

By the time you’ve reached the conclusion of Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown you’re likely to want a little more. Well, have no “Fear” there are some extended interviews with much of the talented presented on the Blu-ray. These are solid and could have easily stayed in the finished product, there that enjoyable. Much of the amazing art that you'll see throughout the film is also put into a gallery for the extras.

As for the Blu-ray itself, overall the quality of the presentation is very clean and has no obvious flaws with either the audio or video. Cinevolve has put together a great package with this Blu-ray. This release comes highly recommended for Lovecraft fans, documentary buffs and horror geeks alike.

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