Welcoming All Hallow's Eve
With #Halloween upon us, you might already have a movie playlist ready to watch while the rest of the world dons their costumes or ensures their next trip to the dentist. Or (option C), carry on like a regular weekend if you don't celebrate Halloween. Maybe you're looking for something that isn't a slasher-fest to celebrate — something that doesn't feature home invasion as its major selling point, or subjects you to #foundfootage for the tenth time this month alone. It's for you I offer this list of six Lovecraftian #horror movies.
First, I want to define what I mean by "Lovecraftian." I don't mean that you take a horror script, throw a giant squid in there, and call it done. Lovecraftian horror means the fear of the unknowable, the fragility of the human mind, and our complete helplessness in the face of giants. It's about movies that wouldn't be out of place on the Nihilist Arby's Twitter account. So this list isn't going to be movies based on H.P. Lovecraft's stories alone, but movies I feel capture the themes of his mythos.
As you can imagine, it's just the kind of emotional draining you'll need so you can fill yourself with the Christmas spirit for the next two months.
1. The Last Winter
#TheLastWinter came out in 2006 and it stars James LeGros, Ron Perlman, and Connie Britton. It's about a group of environmentalists in the middle of the frozen nowhere studying the area for an oil company. If that setup sounds familiar to you, then welcome to a world post-John Carpenter's The Thing. While the environmental message can be as subtle as a brick and the ultimate reveal turns out to be an inch away from laughable, watching the crew's inevitable breakdown is a treat.
SAN check: If you enjoy this one, you'll want to check out Black Mountain Side (2014), too.
2. In The Mouth Of Madness
Sam Neill is a horror film treasure. John Carpenter's 1994 #IntheMouthofMadness contains more than a few nods to Lovecraft and his stories. The film's title itself is derived from the story At the Mountains of Madness. Investigator John Trent, played by Neill, follows the mystery of author Sutter Cane, whose stories seem to drive its readers to madness. The film treads the fine line between reality and fiction and shows how it might not really be there in the first place.
Do you like old-timey, big band music? Not anymore, you don't. In this episode of Things Man was Not Meant to Know, YellowBrickRoad takes the reliable formula of a documentary crew snooping around a small town mystery and throws them into a setting that has become synonymous with the unknowable: a United States forest. The 2010 film can drag on at points, and the ending is not recommended for those who like pat resolutions, but at its best #YellowBrickRoad will leave you nice and unsettled.
4. Dead Birds
Set during the Civil War, strange occurrences at an abandoned locale, and starring Michael Shannon? Sign me up. #DeadBirds is the story of Confederate deserters who've robbed a bank and holed themselves up in a mansion. As haunting visions and unnatural creatures are revealed, it isn't long before the band turns on each other. Its black magic rituals-gone-wrong and its bleak ending both earn it a place on this list. I would also be remiss if I didn't tell you that yes, you'll be seeing that face you see on the poster.
The 2012 movie, #Resolution, is about the bonds of friendship, the horrors of substance addiction, and how the last two things don't really matter because endings are all preordained anyway. Vinny Curran gives an outstanding performance as a drug addict who doesn't want to be saved by his friend, played by Peter Cilella. The former is squatting in an abandoned house on Native American property, so you know things aren't going to stay peachy and keen for long. It's meta, it's creepy, it deserves a watch.
6. Session 9
Last, but not least, is my favorite movie on this list. #Session9 stars Peter Mullan and David Caruso as members of an asbestos abatement crew that just booked its last job at an abandoned mental hospital. The tense relationship between the characters are set to the disconcerting taped recordings of a dissociative identity disorder patient. The pervading sense of dread and the tight, focused nature of the narrative combine to form my personal standard of what Lovecraftian horror should be like.
Check out the trailer for it below:
November 1st And Beyond
Halloween has to end (I'm sad to say) but that doesn't mean the scares have to. Several films have been made that are directly based on Lovecraft's stories and if you liked what you saw here, then I recommend starting with 2001's Dagon.
Are there any other movies that just scream Lovecraft to you? What did I miss?