I was wondering, are there many movies that adapt Lovecraft’s work well? I’ve been wanting to see some, but I don’t know which ones will leave a bad taste in my mouth

Hey, there. Thanks for the question. It’s one that I get every few weeks/months and that I’m happy to respond to whenever I catch some time. I always start off by linking to previous responses and then see if I have anything to add or to clarify: (right-click and open in a new tab if they give you trouble)

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from The Lurking Fear (1994)

Now, by way of additions and/or clarifications, I guess I would add that these are certainly personal preferences, albeit ones anchored in my own personal set of criteria. When I’m judging these things, I like to consider how “close” to the text they are, obviously (fidelity, in other words), if they’re claiming to be adaptations; however, I’m not overly concerned with what I’ve heard called “purity.” Dagon (2001) by Stuart Gordon, for example, is clearly more of an adaptation of The Shadow Over Innsmouth than its eponym; and, even so, it’s still pretty far afield from Lovecraft’s story. That doesn’t make it any less enjoyable, in my view. Most of Gordon’s movies are packed with gore and sex (sex that is profoundly alien to HPL’s fiction), but they’re still a good time. I’d rather focus on how well a movie uses the Mythos for its own story’s development (beyond the pastiche that gets mentioned a lot when discussing sub-par Mythos fiction, etc.), how knowledgeable the creator seems to be of the Mythos they’re manipulating, and then on to all of the basic stuff I enjoy seeing in my Cosmic Horror, Lovecraftian or otherwise: de-centering of Human existence/relevance; “big” perspective/events of larger consequence (rather than, say, individual/personal drama, personal losses or fear); elements of the unexplained/able; elements of the Weird (resisting the urge to over-explain or provide simple solutions, veiling, that sort of thing); and, finally, a relatively unhappy ending of some sort.

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from The Haunted Palace (1963)

For the folks who don’t want to visit any of the older links, here are five+ “Lovecraftian” productions that usually make my rec list. Again, these may not be straight-on/close to the text adaptations but still fairly faithful in terms of their integration of Mythos elements and Cosmicism as a sort of philosophical approach to Horror. These exclude the non-Mythos works of CH, though:

For many, many more, see that Letterboxd List mentioned above (and view the notes/click the orange box). Additionally, here is a link to a list of selections from Mike Davis. I assume most Lovecraft fans are already familiar with Lovecraft eZine, but he has great taste, of course, and that’s a good resource for this sort of thing. If you dare to dip into the comments section there, you’ll see that everybody and their uncle has suggestions, too. It’s the nature of the ‘community’ to be fairly critical for various reasons/in general, so take just about any list with a grain of salt, including mine.
Finally, the fact that you’re already aware, it seems, of how many terrible attempts at adaptation are out there tells me you’re approaching this with the right kind of mindset. I say that with affection for the content, too, since if the road a Horror fan walks is paved with bad movies, the Lovecraft lane of it is a particularly dark and rocky one. 😀

Weird Fiction is tough to adapt to film, so I think it’s reasonable to be a little less, well, stringent with standards while viewing.   
I hope this is useful in some way. Have a nice weekend and thanks for following.

aburningsword:

Interviewer: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Me:

i recently watched the Last Shift and i really liked it. Sort of had a little Silent Hill vibe to it that i love :D

Hey! I’m being a slow-poke with responses this week; sorry for the delayed response. I liked it, too. It achieved a heck of a lot with (deceptively) very little. I think that I understand the Silent Hill vibe you mention, although I was never as ‘into’ that franchise as many friends for various reasons (so I’m not overly familiar with it, etc.). Maybe some of the similarity of feeling has to do with the effective use of isolation, a consistently closed perspective, that sort of thing (?). Either way, I think that it has a lot going for it,  yep. The Officer Loren character is pretty well developed, too, particularly compared to female leads found in many other contemporary Horror movies. Even the pseudo-Manson cult stuff worked in its favor. (I don’t care for it in general, but it did work well w/in the story and all that). You know, just out of curiosity, I’ve been looking for a reliable quote of the movie’s budget. I read somewhere that it was fifteen thousand dollars. That can’t possibly be right. If it is, then, it’s pretty damned great as far as low budget Horror goes. I actually rewatched Last Shift the other day and added a short blurb on LB, if you or anyone else cares about that sort of thing. I’m trying to develop the habit of logging movies and updating lists, along with checking the WP site more often, but it’s slow-going, as usual. 🙂 Old habits vs. new ones. Thanks for the note, my friend. I hope you’re having a good week.

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Last Shift (2014) via Midnight Murder Show