Oct. 26, 1998, 9:54 p.m. CST
GODDAMN, this is just TOO COOL!!! Way to go, Harry. Excellent feature. What a dream-team horror film this would be. You know, when I was but a wee Robolad, my vacuum tubed brain would stay up late under the covers reading pulp horror like this by plasma-light. Gosh, this brings back fond memories. HOLLYWOOD, MAKE THIS MOVIE!!!
Oct. 26, 1998, 10:01 p.m. CST
Wow, thanks for the scoop. The sketches make the film appear to have a lot of potential and I hope Stuart Gordon can get this project off the ground. I've always found Lovecraft's stories to be far more creepy than anything I've read from the latter half of this century. Unfortunately, this creepiness hasn't translated well to film. Even the above-mentioned director's "From Beyond," --though I didn't hate it--was a little too cartoonish. He seems to have struck the right chord with those sketches. I'm glad to see that someone is attempting to do somethine more imaginative in horror than the current trend of bubble-gum teen "Scream" flicks. Can't wait to see what else you have to reveal to us.
Oct. 26, 1998, 10:08 p.m. CST
by Joe Tate
This seems like it could be a great movie but my faith in the studios is just not there. This seems like a movies that would need on singular vision, and the opnly studio movies I've seen this year so far with that was Out Of Sight and Pleasantville. Ill wait and see though. great to see Wrightson production work now that he's taking some time off from the comic medium.
Oct. 26, 1998, 10:40 p.m. CST
Get it right or I just might have to rise from my eternal slumber in R'lyeh and, er, pay you a visit. And I think that is something you DO NOT want.
Oct. 26, 1998, 11:46 p.m. CST
Alrighty. Here's why I don't think "Innsmouth" can work, as a film. There seems to be only one conflict: the "What's happening to my reality?!?" conflict, so evident in most of Lovecraft's work. Also, the characters have the feel of Lovecraftian cut-outs. There's the handsome, "average guy", the "eve" character (innocent young woman, corrupted who eventually corrupts our protagonist). Finally, this is based on a short story, as are just about all films based on Lovecraft's work. This is a negative because short stories are composed differently than novels or even novellas. Character development must be faster and (most of the time) less detailed. Sub-plots are also sacrificed, for the sake of the main plot and theme. One final hurdle in translating Lovecraft to the screen is unique to his style of writing. Over and over again, he describes fantastic sights and creatures, without really describing them. Often, his characters view things, "too terrifying to give desciption." Other times certain sights are hinted at, by characters' reactions to them. I might have had confidence that a writer/director could overcome these difficulties if not for the track record of Lovecraft-inspired films. For the most part they've been shallow, latex-driven exercises in manuscript adaptation. I know that sounds harsh, but compared to Lovecraft's original writing, they pale like a thing living under the stairs. If there's one suggestion I might make to Stuart Gordon, it would be to adapt one of Lovecraft's longer stories. He had the most success (I believe) with "Herbert West: Re-animator". I'd love to see an attempt to bring "The Mountains Of Madness" to the screen. If you've never read it, I highly recommend it. Oh, and one last note. I'd like to see (just once!) a Lovecraft movie take place in the time period of the manuscript. Every single Lovecraft movie is "modernized". If audiences can accept a squid-faced "elder god", then I'm sure they can handle period costumes and technology. That's my two cents.
Oct. 27, 1998, midnight CST
by Harry Knowles
I have always favored short story adaptations. Why? Well typically a film is given a chance to FURTHER characters, instead of cutting them back. This in a lot of cases inhances the original story... for me anyway. Actually most films, in my opinion, come from short stories. HOW CAN I SAY THAT? Well, because alot of scripts start off as 15 to 40 page treatments, that then get fleshed out (or sometimes don't get fleshed out) into the films we get. Some examples of this have been the features adapted from Stephen King's short stories. I believe in nearly, if not all, cases the films have been an equal to or better than the source material. Having read Stuart's script and the original short story by Lovecraft, I can say he doesn't turn away, but he also doesn't linger upon the images. Many times the eerie... half lit faces, the corner of the eye glances, the double takes of "Did I see what I think I saw?" sort of feeling permeates the script. It's smart, and focuses less on the "eve" character and more on the perceptions of our main character. It's wonderful... in my opinion. It's paced alot like CURSE OF THE DEMON, but there is absolutely no flinching at the end. God I hope this can find it's way to the screen. However, your statement about IN THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS... oh man, I read that back a few years ago when I thought John Carpenter was making it (In The Mouth Of Madness) and was a drooling geek for a long time. Actually it's what kicked off a run of Lovecraftian nights with a few of his tomes. HARRY
Oct. 27, 1998, 12:07 a.m. CST
I agree with Harry that short stories make better adaptions...Why? because with longer novels you have to sacrifce so much to get it into an allocated time frame...even the Shining(which is one of my top 5 fav. horror movies) parts had to be sacrifced to fit it into a time frame...where as short stories can be expanded which can add depth to the storie and not detract from it
Oct. 27, 1998, 3:51 a.m. CST
There was a big story about this project a few years ago in Fangoria. They had lots of pictures (by Wrightson) and some sculptures and even an poster art. I don't remember the issue number but I still have that issue somewhere...I'll try to find it.
Oct. 27, 1998, 5:12 a.m. CST
by Harry Knowles
Harry here. I just received a pretty interesting letter about a play going on somewhere in Florida.. wherever the University of Florida is I guess. But anyway I thought I'd share it with you folks------------------------- I was really pleased to see the graphics for Innsmouth on your page this morning... because I'm one of the FishFrogs in our theater's production of the play! Every Halloween, our community theater organizes a play made up of several Classic Horror Literature skits. We start out with the Tell-Tale Heart, include such masterpieces as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Shadow Over Innsmouth, including some really creepy poetry. 'Tis very cool! And I agree, people seem to be turning out in greater force, looking for that psychological horror edge rather than rampant gore.......... Thanks for the graphics, I'm printing them out and bringing the images to each of the actors tonight! I think Zadok Allen will be particularly impressed with this headshot........... Keep up the kickass job you're doing! Whitewave---------------------HARRY BACK... geez I wish that was being performed down here in Austin, sounds like a blast. Hey... ya know what SLEEPY HOLLOW is about to be a big budget TIM BURTON film. Seems to me that this playhouse knows their cool stuff...
Oct. 27, 1998, 5:13 a.m. CST
Was the Cthulhu episodes of the Real Ghostbusters. Yes having a kids show where the protagonists not only went up against cultists of Cthulhu but also went to Miskatonic University to help find a stolen copy of the necronomicon was very very cool. Of course this was the SAME kids show that had Joe Michael Stazynski of Babylon5 fame as its story editor (for a couple of seasons anyway).
Oct. 27, 1998, 6:11 a.m. CST
The Mountains of Madness has already been adapted to the big screen... somewhat. The original 'The Thing' took a lot of plot elements from TMOM (ancient alien being frozen in Antartica is discovered and accidentally reanimated). It is even more true of Carpenter's remake. Sure, in the movies, there is only one alien and they left the idea of the aliens being part of a once powerful underground civilization. But the similarities are enormous. It's sad, but it seems that the best Lovecraftian movies have always been the ones that aren't 'official' adaptations of his work. No one can deny that the most popular horror writers of toady have been heavily influenced by Lovecraft (King, Koontz, Barker). He has had a greater influence than even Edgar Allan Poe himself. The first Alien movie screams of Lovecraft, as do Hellraiser, In the Mouth of Madness and Event Horizon (as well as any movie mentionning the Necronomicon). When will we see a truly faithful and honest adaptation of his work? The news about 'The Shadow over Innsmouth' are good. But I would rather see 'The Call of Cthuluh', 'The Silver Key' or his masterpiece 'The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath'. Unfortunately, the latter might be considered too metaphysical in nature to ever be greenlighted as a movie project and its cost would be ENORMOUS (Almost every single shot would have to be SFX... maybe as an animated movie then?). It's just a shame that previous adaptations have been horibble ('The Unspeakable', 'From Beyond', etc.). Maybe someone could try to adapt one of his less horific, but no less disturbing stories 'The White Ship' or 'The Strange High House in the Mist' (this one is, IMHO, the best thing Lovecraft ever wrote). These would make very poetic, yet terrifying movies. "In the morning, mist comes up from the cliffs beyond Kingsport. White and feathery it comes from the deep to its brothers the clouds, full of dreams of dank pastures and caves of leviathans." (probably not exactly accurate, but it's from memory and the last time I read it was two years ago.) Lovecraft said it best: The strongest king of emotion is fear and the strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
Oct. 27, 1998, 6:34 a.m. CST
by DaniTo BuRRito
I would sooooo love to see this movie made. I don't care that some people lack confidence in the industry. Occassionally some really great stuff manages to filter through. As Lovecraft *is* really great stuff, I have no doubt that this will make it, eventually. There has been plenty of lower budget Lovecraft put out there to feed the lovers of Lovecraft, such as myself. But, alas, those were LOW budget. Necromonicon was almost good enough. The Lurking Fear rawKs for something that was so obviously lowbudget, and remains my favorite adaptation. (Mr. Lack of Confidence needs to see this one.) I'm such a fan of Jeffrey Combs and Lovecraft that I could be biased. The sketches are greaT!!!! I want to see this on the Big Screen so bad I can taste fish and smell salt air. That was an awesome picture of Cthulhu, and gran'pappy looks like he just might be related to the Creature (from the Black Lagoon - another old feature I'd like to see redone with some 90's size testicles). Now, as far as things 'too horrible to describe' existing in Lovecraftian text, we have computer grafix and plenty of young, imaginative "kids" out there working, or trying to, in and around the industry. I'm sure that an inexpensive labor of Love;) wouldn't be hard to negotiate, and create something ...like ...oh... have you ever read DragonLance? Do you know of Raistlin's pit of Lost Souls, or was that Lost Ones or First Ones, or something..?? They were hideous creatures (very Lovecraft in look from the picture I saw created by their stock of artists) that would be perfect for the roles that exist in some of these stories. It CAN be done. It should be done. I love the vampire stories, but they just don't have the bite that I hunger for. Even Blade, for all it's yumminess, didn't totally fulfill me. Close. I hold high hopes for JC's Vampire$. I need t'be in this business. It usually takes a female to have the balls to do something like this. Go for it! I'll pay my money to see it in th'theaters AND buy the video release. A lil'Cthulhu keychain would be nice, too. :)
Oct. 27, 1998, 8:44 a.m. CST
... I've often wondered why so many depictions of Cthulhu are lean and muscular. Lovecraft describes Cthulhu as huge and blubbery and squishy and disgusting. More and more he looks like something out of a superhero comic book. Maybe I'm too much of a purist. As for Lovecraft on the big screen, I've yet to see anything that comes close to capturing the feel of his stories. (Oddly enough, the climactic scene in the cheesy Bride of Reanimator is the best I can think of off the top of my head.) I have doubts as to whether it can really be done. Certainly any given Lovecraft story would have to be altered a great deal (like the Innsmouth synopsis Harry gave). Among "Lovecraft-esque" movies, Carpenter's The Thing and the original Thing From Another World are pretty good (both based not on ATMoM but on the classic short story "Who Goes There?" -- which, like a huge percentage of modern horror, takes major cues from Lovecraft). But despite my doubts, I still want to see more Lovecraft films!
Oct. 27, 1998, 8:47 a.m. CST
by Mr. Bigglesworth
I may be out on a limb here but I want you all to try something. Read (or reread) the Mtns. of Madness and while you are, think Alien 5. Sure this story may've been the inspiration for the first Alien. But that makes this story all the more perfect as a vehicle for the next. Imagine Alien on Earth, in Antarctica. Kick ass! It may be a stretch but hey, it'd be better than 3 or 4, IMHO.
Oct. 27, 1998, 9:02 a.m. CST
I have been craving some good Lovecraftian movies for years. There are so many excellent candidates for movies in his work: Call of Cthulhu, Innsmouth, Dunwich Horror, ATMO Madness, and Whisperer in Darkness spring to mind. I would kill to see some quality CG of Yog-Sothoth, Azathoth, Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep...this stuff would be amazing and mind-blowing. I also agree that I'd like to see some of his stuff placed in the 20's when it was supposed to take place! Part of the allure of the time was that, unlike now, there really WERE undiscovered and unknown things still around, which made the stories that much more plausable. So to sum up, YES MAKE THIS MOVE. MAKE MORE LOVECRAFT MOVIES and you will MAKE MONEY (to put it into language the execs can understand).
Oct. 27, 1998, 10:49 a.m. CST
Man, if you could get Harmony Korine to direct (watch GUMMO) this movie would kick so much ass. A good horror movie is one of the rarest things around!
Oct. 27, 1998, 11:59 a.m. CST
Why doesnt Hollywood stop producing crap teenage slasher films and make some PROPER scary films. There is a couple coming out that sound promising, but I demand real horror stuff that makes you think, stuff that will make you run screaming out off your seat. I am currently writing a script for a film (action/Horror/ Comedy thing) and as soon as I finish it, I will scrape the back of my twisted and disturbed imagination and write a script so scary (and I mean SCARY) that you wont sleep for months. As soon as I finish the scripts, I will e-mail them to you (Harry) and you could give me your opinion (if you have time). thank you and good night from Mullet
Oct. 27, 1998, 1:51 p.m. CST
Maybe the reason so many Lovecraft films suck is because they've been directed by schlock horror directors rather than quality 'film' directors. Of all the 'true' Lovecraft films, the only one that worked was "Re-Animator" and it wasn't very Lovecraftian, just damn funny and cool. But other Gordon films i've seen have been crap. We need a Lovecraft film with some vision, not something with cheesy makeup and effects a teenager can do better. Think of the vision non-horror directors like Friedkin, Kubrick, Coppola and others have brought to horror films and imagine that kind of creativity and artistry applied to Lovecraft's universe... maybe then we'd have a film worthy of his name. Personally I'd like to see ATMOMadness, I can just imagine that huge alien city in the middle of antarctica on the big screen. But please, no CG. I'd rather not see the creatures at all than to see a video-game version of them.
Oct. 27, 1998, 2:02 p.m. CST
Wow, those Berni sketches are fabu. I've always thought Shadow would be the perfect vehicle for a Lovecraftian cinematic explosion since it doesn't rely too heavily on the mythological backstory HPL created- unlike, say, Call of Cthulhu itself, or the Dreamlands stuff. Now the Thing on the Doorstep- THERE'S a movie begging to be made, if only to wipe out the memories of that icky Prelude to a Kiss (a movie which ripped off the premise of Doorstep but turned it on its head). Folks might want to check out the work of Thomas Ligotti, another author whose work would make fantastic (in both senses) movies. I'd describe him as the bastard child of HPL and Jonathan Carroll if you forced me to, but mostly I'd just say he's cool.
Oct. 27, 1998, 2:26 p.m. CST
Yes I agree with Mark completely! After going in to Urban Legend and falling asleep, I realized there are so many times we can see "BUFFY" or someone from Boggy creek, whoops I meant "Dawson's" being chased around by some killer that we know will end up being like "OHMYGAWD!!!" the best friend, mother, or god forbid the yoga instructor! Give me "ALLY MC BEAL's Calista Flockhart being chased by the rotting corpse of Karen Carpenter or Give me a balls to the walls possesion flick that will make me close my eyes and break out the depends! I want a Excorcist meets the Evil DEad 1 meets the amytiville horror! Pyschological scarring and unerving freaky mind fuck (not like Jacobs ladder) but I want a old lady with evil white eyes foaming at the mouth saying "Kevin WIlliamson sucks dick in hell!"
Oct. 27, 1998, 4:12 p.m. CST
Its a fairly reliable guess that the 'Mephisto's Bridge AKA Spanky' project is one based on the book 'Spanky' by British horror writer Christopher Fowler. If that's the case, I don't know that I would class it as particularly 'Lovecraftian'. Fowler is more concerned with peculiarly British social mores and class constructs. He likes to mix up the everyday and banal with the supernatural and murder. It's all London and the suburbs and ... well, more HP Sauce than H.P. Lovecraft!
Oct. 27, 1998, 4:58 p.m. CST
It certainly would kick ass to have harmony korine be a part of making this film, good god was gummo disturbing.....but it'll never happen....eh
Oct. 28, 1998, 1:44 a.m. CST
by Harry Knowles
Harry here with a message from a friend of mine about MEPHISTO'S BRIDGE. Here it is............ "MEPHISTO's BRIDGE is indeed based on the Chris Fowler novel SPANKY. The "lovecraftian" elements in the script ARE NOT IN THE NOVEL and they refer to rather strange lil' tentacled creature that could've served Azatoth well." --- Someone that Knows!!!
Oct. 28, 1998, 1:49 a.m. CST
by Justin Sane
That's my motto. I dunno, but I've never been "scared" of a film. The thing that gets my wires tangled is something disturbing. You can throw all the monster films you want at me and I won't flinch, but when you have something truly disturbing, well, that's the kind of stuff I enjoy.
Oct. 28, 1998, 11:39 a.m. CST
People intersted in Lovecraft might want to check out this url: http://www.beyond-books.com/productions/innsmouth/ It is the website of a short film that a group of people is making based on The Shadow Over Innsmouth. I stumbled across it a few weeks ago off of the Arkham Laboratories web page http://www.arkhamlab.com/ It would be interesting to hear peoples impressions of this other film.
Oct. 28, 1998, 3:52 p.m. CST
There is no way in hell some top exec at any major motion picture company is going to go for scary fish face people. I think it sounds more like a comedy myself. I'm sure its a really scary story and all, but give me break. "Watch out bill! Inbreeding Catfished Faced People are going to gum you to death!!!AAAAAAARRRRGGHHH!" Oh yeah, I'm scared. Eat a pickle, read some Clive Barker, and don't call me in the morning.
Oct. 28, 1998, 4:04 p.m. CST
It sometimes seems almost impossible for Hollywood to get a clue. Nothing is scary anymore. In the 70s and early 80s horror films were probably at there best. "The Thing" being in my opinion the best. There is also Alien, Altered States, Halloween, Don't Look Now, Possession(has any one seen this one? It stars Sam Neil.) and of course the Excorcist. Did Freddy kill the genre? We have the tech to do so much yet they would rather cheap out and make the "Screams" and "I Know what you dids-". I would love to see a bad ass Shadow over Innsmouth, I just don't think the Jon Peters of the world will let it happen. Maybe that Hellboy movie will happen. The one with Ron Pearlman wearing the sawed off horns and kicking the crap out things that should not be named. Nah, they'll make Buffy the pole smoker first.
Nov. 4, 1998, 10:08 p.m. CST
i hate to say this harry but your description of "shadow" was inaccurate, the young man featured in the story is not married, he is in fact on a fact finding mission and before his fateful trip to innsmouth had never heard of the place before. i dont mean to be pedantic but, he does indeed get stranded in innsmouth but only because the folks in the town realize that he is one of them as the story goes on to explain later. but overall i must agree i'd love to see this in movie form, but even more so i'd love to see "at the mountains of madness" now that would be a true accomplishment. wolfy
Nov. 4, 1998, 10:35 p.m. CST
As was previously mentioned, there is in fact an independent short film adaptation of "The Shadow Over Innsmouth." It's always been my contention that good Lovecraft films CAN be made, and if the big studios won't do it, well then it's up to you and me. Director Aaron Vanek has made two previous HPL-related short films, namely an adaptation of "The Outsider," and "My Necronomicon." Until Stuart Gordon can find a way to get his big-budget TSOI off the ground, there's our own "Return to Innsmouth," which is in post-production as of this writing. Involved are: Andrew Migliore, the organizer of the annual H.P. Lovecraft Film Festivals in Portland, OR; Richard Corben, of Heavy Metal's DEN fame, and select members from the Lovecraft-homage band The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets, who opened up for They Might Be Giants at GenCon this year. Please visit the website at http://www.beyond-books.com/productions/innsmouth and if you would like to help out with this worthwhile project, feel free to contact Aaron or the producers if you'd like to contribute towards its finalization. Furthermore, there is also another 'Thickets production, and adaptation of HPL's "From Beyond" at http://www.look-ear.com/beyond which is also an indie film that needs your support. I've always believed that it is in the small, independent creative teams that produce the highest quality product, for the sole purpose that they don't have to answer to any higher power with skewed ideas of what the public wants to see. We are making the films that we want to see, because Hollywood just ain't doin' it for us. Raise you're hand if you can relate! Feel free to email me for more information (email:email@example.com) and thanks for your interest. Keep up the good work.
Feb. 9, 2000, 11:02 a.m. CST
Who's the freak who thinks Clive Barker can hold a candle to H. P. Lovecraft? Lovecraft (as most of you seemed to know) created an entire alternative universe of cosmic horror. What weirdboy has done with all this talk of fish people is completely missed the point of a creeping terror movie of the kind referred to in the poll, and instead struck a blow for the forces of Scream. Cheers man, history will look back on you kindly for this. Oh, and Species was not original. The story stole one prominent idea from - you've guessed it - The Shadow Over Innsmouth. In fact, the idea of one's genetic structure being mixed in with alien ones crops up in Lovecraft quite frequently, and was copied by many of his contempories and the subsequent additions to the mythos.