Horror Movies Written and/or Directed by Women

Resource List

American Mary 2012
Written and directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska

The Babadook 2014
 Written and directed by Jennifer Kent

American Psycho 2000
 Directed by Mary Harron; co-written by Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner

Silent House 2011
 Co-directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau; written by Laura Lau

Pet Sematary 1989
 Directed by Mary Lambert

Near Dark 1987
 Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

Humanoids from the Deep 1980
 Directed by Barbara Peeters; Jimmy T. Murakami (uncredited)…there’s an interesting story out there about  how the film was changed by the second unit to make the rape scenes more ‘visible’ to suit Corman’s  preferences

Ravenous 1999
 Directed by Antonia Bird

Boxing Helena 1993
 Written and directed by Jennifer Chambers Lynch

The Slumber Party Massacre 1982
 Directed by Amy Holden Jones; written by Rita Mae Brown (yes…that Rita Mae Brown)

Of Dolls and Murder 2012
 Directed by Susan Marks; Documentary, but still pretty chilling given its subject matter; I used to show this  film in one of my Critical Thinking courses and it never failed to start some fascinating discussions.

In My Skin 2002
 Written and directed by Marina de Van

The Countess 2009
 Written and directed by Julie Delpy

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears 2013
 Co-directed/Co-written by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani

Blood Diner 1987
 Directed by Jackie Kong

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night 2014
 Written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour

Southbound 2015
 ★★★★
 “Siren,” directed by Roxanne Benjamin; written by Roxanne Benjamin & Susan Burke
  READ REVIEW

The ABCs of Death 2013
 “E is for Exterminate,” directed and written by Angela Bettis

The Moth Diaries 2011
 Written and directed by Mary Harron

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare 1991
 Directed by Rachel Talalay

Kill List 2011
 Co-written by Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley

Blood and Chocolate 2007
 Directed by Katja von Garnier
  READ REVIEW

Tales of Halloween 2015
 The Weak and the Wicked – written by Molly Millions, directed by Paul Solet; Grim Grinning Ghost – written  and directed by Axelle Carolyn

Goodnight Mommy 2014
 Written and directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala

Trouble Every Day 2001
 Directed by Claire Denis; written by Claire Denis and Jean-Pol Fargeau

The Hitch-Hiker 1953
 Directed by Ida Lupino; co-written by Ida Lupino and Collier Young

Ginger Snaps 2000
 Co-written by Karen Walton and John Fawcett

Jennifer’s Body 2009
 Directed by Karyn Kusama

Dead Hooker in a Trunk 2009
 Written and directed by Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska

Messiah of Evil 1973
 Co-written/co-directed by Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck

Spookies 1986
 Co-directed by Genie Joseph, Thomas Doran, and Brendan Faulkner; co-written by Thomas Doran, Brendan  Faulkner, Frank M. Farel, Ann Burgund, and Genie Joseph

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders 1970
 Written/adapted by Jaromil Jireš, Ester Krumbachová, and Vítězslav Nezval

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The ABCs of Death 2 2014
“K is for Knell,” directed by Kristina Buožytė and Bruno Samper; “T is for Torture Porn,” directed by Jen and  Sylvia Soska

Howling VI: The Freaks 1991
 Directed by Hope Perello 

 Updated on 7/10:
The Invitation 2015
Directed by Karyn Kusama

The_Invitation_(2015_film)_POSTER

 

*This list began as a response to a question from an anonymous follower on the daily blog (the original  post/response from March 2016 is linked here). I received a request a few days ago for the  list in a non-linked format since accessing links is often difficult on tumblr. I took the opportunity to update the contents and include a post on it here, as well. If you have any  suggestions for additions, please feel free to comment or send a note.

Good Country People: Southern Gothic

“Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going was never there…”
– Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood


 

The Christ-haunted landscape
(a personal note)

Flannery O’Connor referred to the South as “Christ-haunted,” and that’s a phrase that always comes to mind whenever I visit home and see those towering Bernard Coffindaffer Crosses on the side of the road. While the three-Cross sets vary in size, most of the ones where I grew up average around fifteen feet in height and are often spotlighted so they’re easily visible from highways and county roads. I’m certain that some see them and feel their faith stir, perhaps experience a moment or two of spiritual reaffirmation. For others, those Crosses serve as everything from ghostly reminders of middling-to-terrible childhoods and various personal failures to multi-faceted, juridical markers of exactly “who’s in charge” around those parts. No matter the perspective, it’s fair to say that at the heart of Southern Gothic is some form of  haunted landscape. The individual who finds themself born into the region is often subsumed by that imaginary geography and all it entails, for better or worse. A cultural legacy of violence, acknowledged or not, has bled into the the land itself and has stained the feet of its inhabitants at an almost generational level. I’m interested, as always, in those kinds of ghostly ruptures.

The surface culture, the one decorated with sugary niceties and a codified “charm” that supposedly serves as a positive background for the horrors of  Southern Gothic is, logically, promoted by the region and its inhabitants for various reasons despite the fact that it’s more a product of Hollywood than anything inherent. I think it’s one that many Southerners get a kick out of and encourage if for no other reason than its irony…although I figure it’s particularly useful for those areas with tourism-based economies, as well. I’m not sure how earnestly anyone who’s reasonably aware of their surroundings really believes the old myth of Southern social grace and goodness. Sure, they may repeat it the way we all repeat the things we’ve been taught as truth, even if they’ve never taken the time to examine why it’s never felt quite sincere.  Likewise, I know plenty of folks who employ the idea ironically. At heart of all good Southern Gothic is bitter irony, have no doubt.

Monsters, everywhere

Ask almost anyone with roots in the American South and most can offer you plenty of anecdotal support for the reality of the “daily grotesque” in some way or another—stories of outcasts and hometown weirdos, accidental (hapless/town-people) and intentional (maligned/”hillbillies”) inbreeding, absurd acts of casual cruelty, and “just plain weird” encounters of various sorts.

Yet so much of the grotesque that we see in popular Southern Gothic is usually poverty-based. One can’t talk about the good, evil, or otherwise of Southern culture without acknowledging the role that poverty plays, obviously; however, one of the most common mistreatments of the genre, particularly in film, is the presentation of that distorted “face” without an apparent awareness and/or acknowledgement of its critical function within the context. It’s too damn easy to equate poverty and ugliness with evil; it’s convenient, too, and easily manipulated towards various ideological purposes. What’s troubling to me is the—sometimes subtle, sometimes not—divergence from using degeneracy and grotesque levels of poverty as a means through which to cast light upon the more malignant attributes of those in power in these small, rural communities.  O’Connor loved taking shots at “good,” upstanding townsfolk, as did Faulkner, and to be fair it’s often been fairly subtle in some of those works—although Miss Emily’s corpsey bed partner is about as obvious as it gets, I’d think.

There are some excellent examples in contemporary media, as well. The Tuttle family in Season One of True Detective is depicted as simultaneously powerful and utterly degenerate. While it’s easy to get lost in the perverse grubbiness and over-the-top moral decay we see, the show does remind us just often enough that these are people descended from “upstanding folk,” people powerful enough to hide the bodies, so to speak, and are only part of a large, tentacular conspiracy.

errolandsister
from True Detective, Season One

The Tuttle family’s legacy of local/regional influence was sweeping, yet they were despised or, at the very least, avoided—even the members who “cleaned-up” pretty nicely and weren’t marked so obviously as outcasts. What makes these people  grotesque within this framework of Southern Gothic isn’t the inbreeding or even the nasty, backwoods Yellow King cultishness—it’s the “fall” away from wealth, power, prominence of certain familial lines and the deep core of hellishness that it reveals as always already present. That’s good Southern Gothic. Yet it’s still the image of the rural inbred that captures fascination, and somehow the power structures that would allow a creature like Errol exist for so long unchecked get lost behind that spectacle of the grotesque. The sense of irony often seems (intentionally?) lost for reasons I probably don’t have to explain to most folks. It’s probably tucked away somewhere along with discussions of public lynching and the KKK’s prominent place in so many small communities well into the 21st Century.

An anticipated apology…

For those of us with complicated relationships with our upbringing and identities, it often feels doubly difficult to parse the personal from the critical, particularly when it’s coming from “outside” vantage points. If I occasionally turn the critical personal in these next few posts, then, please forgive me; I’ll do my best to keep some distance from here on out. Even those of us who were outsiders within our own cultures and communities, who fled when financially able, and who are all too ready to spotlight the infinite social and cultural problems in the South, both old and new, sometimes catch an odd bout of misplaced nostalgia for the things that never were from the place that never was. (Hell, hauntology is practically taught to many of us as a coping mechanism, whether it’s recognized as such or not.) I’ll apologize for that in advance.

Directions

The motivation for this short series of posts on Southern Gothic ultimately rests nestled somewhere between a year-long love affair with True Detective‘s first season and subsequent, often frustrating discussions with friends about various films and pieces of fiction given the SG label in mainstream media and various, generally reputable, discussion forums. While I’m usually pretty flexible and promiscuous when it comes to labeling (of any sort), I’ve often found myself in odd little impromptu discussion groups concerning the “qualities” that make something Southern Gothic. And, for better or worse, I am intimately familiar with the genre, all around. It’s part of my cultural history, a part of my personal lens, and a large part of my media library.

Likewise, I’ve often found myself bickering (goodnaturedly…most of the time anyway) lately about some movie or story’s heinous mislabeling by some reductive so-and-so somewhere or another. For that reason, I also intend to include multi-part and hopefully useful version of the old “Southern Gothic tropes” catalog since I have had it requested by friends within the past few months who say they’re still fairly unclear on what, exactly, makes something “Southern Gothic.”

On the big picture side of things, I intend to explore, specifically, the relationships among Southern Gothic’s spectral aspects, its grotesqueries and monsters with the “Weird” that seems to be of interest in both Horror fiction and film these days.  That’ll include both the fiction and film that almost everyone agrees falls in this category, as well as newer works that are up for debate and/or discussion. Hopefully this will be of interest to at least a few readers and followers. If it’s not, never fear. I’ll move on to other interests very shortly.

Qualities (ideally and/or often) found in Southern Gothic, part one –

  • Transfer of traditionally supernatural features from the Gothic genre onto the “real” landscape of American Southern states – most folks include this attribute, and I always include it when I’m teaching a unit on Southern Gothic lit. It highlights the use of archetypes like the spinster, the town drunk, the angry white man, the two-faced politician, the freakish outcast, and various others within a “realistic” setting. And it’s important, sure, but I’m also interested in liminal spaces in my Southern Gothic—the weird (and Weird) gray areas between the real and unreal and places where a text walks a line between the clearly realistic and the “so damn odd it’s almost unnatural.”
  • Irony, but not just in the writing style (in works of fiction), as is often noted, but in the general approach to subject matter and inherent spirit of a work – in other words, there should be a sort of “dark humor” to good Southern Gothic, I think, even if it’s only occasional and very limited. There should also be a healthy embrace of most things paradoxical and overtly contradictory in nature.
  • The “grotesque” – it’s a pretty standard and easily recognizable attribute of Southern Gothic, often the attribute instructors highlight as a way to help students identify it when they see it; although I think it’s important that whatever form the grotesque takes, it should  be set against a backdrop of social niceties and should, as the standard goes but sometimes ignores, highlight deep and abiding flaws within the culture.
  • Violence – it’s integral to Southern Gothic in any form, but it should be likewise paired with a sense of denial or unwillingness to acknowledge its place within the culture and criticism of that denial. I also think Southern Gothic that ignores racial tensions and systemic racial discrimination is weak-hearted, at best, and negligently culpable, at worst.
  • The “fallen” prominent family, degeneration, and the angry old white man — I mentioned the function of the “fall” above in this genre, but I’d also like to note the significance of both familial and community degeneration and decadence, specifically the breakdown of health and/or power, due to inside, outside, or a combination of forces. Incest and inbreeding falls under this category as a trope, of course, but it also involves the broader “death of family lines” and their peculiar significance within this cultural context. Discussions related to sex and sexual identity also fall under this general umbrella, I think. You can also observe the varied yet centralized depictions of white, male power in these works, and most good Southern Gothic will find both subtle and overt ways to undermine that particular archetype’s potency.

    cohle_hospital
    from True Detective, Season One

Some suggested reading and resources, part one –

  • Archetypes of the Southern Gothic: The Night of the Hunter and Killer Joe by Christina Newland (article linked)
  • Haints: American Ghosts, Millennial Passions, and Contemporary Gothic Fictions by Arthur F. Redding (book)
  • Violence, the Body, and “The South” An issue of: American Literature; Volume: 73, Issue: 2; Special Issue Editor(s): Dana D. Nelson, 2001 (journal)
  • Undead Souths: The Gothic and Beyond in Southern Literature and Culture (Southern Literary Studies) by Eric Gary Anderson, Taylor Hagood, Daniel Cross Turner (collection)
  • Sharma, Divya. “True Detective as a Southern Gothic: A Study of Its Music-Lyrics.” World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, International Journal of Social, Behavioral, Educational, Economic, Business and Industrial Engineering 9.2 (2015): 600-606 (article linked)
  • Nyong’o, Tavia. “Little Monsters Race, Sovereignty, and Queer Inhumanism in Beasts of the Southern Wild.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies21.2-3 (2015): 249-272 (article)
Beasts of the Southern Wild - 6
from Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)


Letterboxd Viewing List (on-going/part one)

The list includes, at the moment, films such as John Huston’s Wise Blood (1979), Beloved (1998), and The Story of Temple Drake (1933)—all of which are adaptations, to a greater or lesser degree, of works of Southern Gothic literature.

 


 

Asian Horror

wilbur wilbur i never hear you talk about eastern horror movies and such. have you had the chance to watch any? like Japanese or Korean or Thai horror shows? They are pretty great 😀
wilburwhateley wilburwhateley said:

Hey, there. It’s an excellent point (and a correct one), of course.

image

from Noroi (2005)

I’m an English nerd, and one of the phrases we bookish types in that world (particularly the older…-ish...ones among us) sometimes bandy-about is “it’s not my area”—meaning that something isn’t my area of expertise or not one to which I’ve dedicated much time/energy. This is one of those instances where I feel confident using that phrase. The reason I don’t talk about those films very much is that I’ve never been overwhelmingly drawn to most of them, at least not in the same way that I’m drawn to French, North American, and Spanish productions; nor do I know enough about most of the films under this umbrella to discuss their themes, characters, and complexities in an informed manner. There are many I’ve enjoyed watching, of course, but I couldn’t discuss them in any insightful way beyond the fact that I simply liked ‘em. I tend to stick to my own areas of research here and hope that the folks who follow find them as interesting as I do. And while monsters are universal, I’m still as much a product of my interests, background, and experiences as anyone.
On the other hand, I’m always open for specific recommendations of artists, films, etc. For instance, I doubt that I would have explored much of Junji Ito’s work had it not been recommended by someone (who follows) whose taste I appreciate. I really like Ito’s work, though (again) it’s not what my mind drifts to immediately when I go seeking Horror/Weird content. I mean, when I’ve been neck-deep in Blackwood and Machen for two weeks, I simply don’t think of Ito despite my affection for him. Some of that’s related to exposure, sure, but some of it is still entirely subjective and simply based on what I like. And I think that’s perfectly okay.

image

Junji Ito’s Uzumaki

I’ll mention a few of my favorites from the world of Asian Horror since I haven’t  mentioned them very often, if at all. One is Takashi Miike’s Audition (1999). I also likedRigor Mortis (2013) a lot, though mainly for the visual artistry. It really is a strikingly eerie film. I caught The Host (2006) on Netflix, and it didn’t disappoint—its monster, especially. And Tokyo Gore Police (2008) is a long-time guilty pleasure of mine. I like it a lot, and it always feels like I’m watching something that should have been on stage at the Grand Guignol whenever I revisit the thing. It’s so over-the-top. Also, a follower suggested that I watch Noroi (2005) a year or so ago, and I liked it…though I remain a little numb to most found footage/documentary-style movies. Finally, Strange Circus (2005) disturbed the hell out of me, and the feeling of unease that it evoked lingered for days after viewing it. I don’t know if I’d necessarily recommend it to anyone (anyone I like anyway), but it’s certainly an experience.

image

from The Host (2006)

If there are followers (and I know there are) with a specialized interest in Asian Horror and/or have some Cosmic Horror, Weird, or Monster-centered content you’d like to share, please send it along and I will share it in this space. And, as always, I love getting recommendations—particularly for content that I don’t generally encounter in my little niche. On the HPL front, I’m fairly certain I’ve mentioned a brief essay/article by Justin Mullis for Lovecraft eZine on The Cthulhu Mythos in Japan. It’s an interesting read, so I’ll link it here, again.

Thanks for the ask and have a very nice rest of your week!

Lovecraft and Cosmicism

This post originated as a response to a request for Lovecraftian Horror movie suggestions on the other blog. I’m including here as what will be an ever-expanding list of Cosmic Horror and the Weird on film.

This is a notoriously frustrating subject….with a few great exceptions. I’ll try to highlight those and direct readers to additional resources they might explore.

image

from In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

Note:  I’ve taken the opportunity to combine a couple of previous posts with the content written for this response, so this is lengthy. I just wanted to everything in one spot. Hope it’s useful to someone!

There is a quality to Lovecraft’s work that often defies visual representation, and part of what makes Weird Fiction weird is that it “veils,” or doesn’t show too much…it relies on atmosphere and dread to generate fear. The reader is intended to “do the work,” so when revealed on screen his monsters often tend to look a bit, well, goofy or, worse, directors overcompensate the inability to capture the horror from the stories by shoveling-in sex and gore.

A lot of the films I’ve listed here, for that reason, are “Lovecraftian” rather than direct adaptations. I think it was Kenneth Hite (?) I heard say once that one of the best Lovecraftian films he’s seen includes no characters or ideas from the Mythos–The Thing (the original, not the one of which we never speak). I will, however, include adaptations, of course. **I’ll put asterisks next to the titles that are adaptations or that, at least, are recognizably based-upon one of Lovecraft’s works.

image

    First, here are a few “top” recommendations plucked out of the long list. I figure it’s pretty overwhelming, so this might be a good place to begin.

The Thing, Prince of Darkness, and In the Mouth of Madness make up what Carpenter refers to as “The Apocalypse Trilogy.” See the excellent article from Strange Horizons for more on the Trilogy and Lovecraft’s influences on Carpenter, linked here.  If there’s one of them you have not seen, go watch it now. Go.  🙂

  • The Thing (1982)
  • Prince of Darkness (1987)
  • In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

Also the following are among my favorites out of the longer list below and highly-recommended:

Check out Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown (2008); it’s a nice documentary on the author.

image

************************************************

Film List, combined:

  • Absentia (2011)—if you haven’t had the opportunity to view this film, please do. It is definitely Lovecraftian in its atmosphere and tension reliant upon setting/“external” reality, its invocation of mythology, the existence of a “world beneath or just outside,” as well as its unhappy ending.
  • The Banshee Chapter (2013)—a fantastic sort of variation on the Resonator–tons of creepy atmosphere and “veiled” horror.
  • The Whisperer in Darkness (2011)**
  • The Corridor (2012)—I wobble a bit when categorizing this as Lovecraftian; I would certainly place it in the realm of the Weird, and it’s a good movie.
  • The Mist (2007)—based on the King novel, of course, I have always believed this to be an underrated film; it is one of his most Lovecraftian stories, and it has been adapted wonderfully to film. The best monster in the bunch, in my opinion, is the tentacled creature that we never actually see in full–that big, lumbering fellow.
  • Yellowbrick Road (2010)—90 percent of this film is a wonderful representation (albeit a low-budget one) of what can be done with Cosmic horror; the final 10 percent left me cursing at the screen, but you can judge for yourself.
  • The Burrowers (2008)—excellent horror movie, in my opinion, though I want to shake the creators for showing the monsters so clearly towards the end. If they’d left them almost/partially unseen, it would have been perfectly Weird and utterly terrifying.
  • The Shrine (2010)—this is another film I really like that I think is a tad underrated. It’s not perfect by any means, and I wish they wouldn’t have “explained” so much, but the premise is fantastic and it has some genuinely scary parts.
  • The Curse (1987)**this is a Wil Wheaton film, and thanks to a follower a few weeks ago, I learned that there are several more (terrible) adaptations in this line of movies. For instance, The Curse II is an adaptation of The Curse of Yig(don’t watch it or any of the rest of them).
  • Wishmaster (1997)—the quality of this isn’t that high, but I’ve always liked it, particularly the beginning. There are many Lovecraftian punishments meted-out just in the first 7 minutes alone.
image

from Wishmaster (1997)

  • Monsters (2010)—I catch a little grief for liking this movie as much as I do. I confess that I love it, however, primarily for the giant, glowing, tentacled mating-aliens-at-a-gas-station scene. How great is that?
  • The Objective (2008)such a great movie; be warned, though, that its setting is Afganistan and includes all of the trappings of War. I’m not a fan, usually, of that type of movie, but this is well worth tolerating the guns and silly machismo to get to the fascinating integration of myth and Weirdness.
  • Jeepers Creepers (2001)—this is one of my favorite horror movies (Lovecraftian and otherwise). I love that it’s a brother/sister team and that the film isn’t propped-up on a sexual/romantic subplot that has little to do with the actual story, that it presents a “new” and truly weird sort of creature, that it introduces the monster without making it entirely “supernatural” or “religious”/occult, and that we don’t know all that much more about it by the end of the movie than at the beginning.
image

from Jeepers Creepers (2001)

  • Die Farbe (2010)**—this is a good adaptation of The Colour Out of Space, though many details of the setting and plot are changed. It’s still recognizable as the story.
  • Europa Report (2013)—a friend recommended I watch this, and I was ready to strangle her until the very last portion of the thing. I’m not sure if it’s worth the creature “payoff” to sit-through the tedious first part, but it does have an interesting ending.
  • Event Horizon (1997)—I think I’ve talked enough about this movie on this blog. 🙂
  • H. P. Lovecraft’s Dreams in the Witch House (2005)**—a Stuart Gordon adaptation. It’s pretty bad, but if you want to be thorough, it’s a necessary watch.
  • Re-Animator (1985)**—Stuart Gordon; this film has a huge cult following, particularly among Lovecraftians. I’ve never cared for it, but many adore it. It’s a decent adaptation of Herbert West—Reanimator that takes many liberties.The sexual content is a bit over the top (especially compared to the story), so be aware of its presence.
  • From Beyond (1986)**—Stuart Gordon; adaptation of the story with the same name. I like this Gordon film, though it drips with (non-Lovecraftian) sex, as well. I heard, though, an argument made (somewhere) regarding the pituitary gland and sexual response; the individual claimed it reasonable to expect heightened sex-drive if the gland were stimulated by the Resonator… so there’s that.
  • Dagon (2001)**—Stuart Gordon; this is actually The Shadow Over Innsmouth…or something close to it, at least. Closer to that than Dagon, that’s for certain.
  • Castle Freak (1995)**—Stuart Gordon; I love that the wiki article describes this as “slightly based” on the story, The Outsider. 
  • The Dunwich Horror (1970)**—this is a Roger Corman film and, as my family back home would say, “hokey as all get out.” It is a B-movie adaptation of the story and stars Dean Stockwell. I think another version was done recently that had him in it, as well. It’s necessary viewing, though, if you’re working through the movie side of this stuff.
  • Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)—more of a Blackwood-through-HPL-back to Blackwood vibe to this, though it is in this way that del Toro snags the opportunity to introduce younger viewers/readers to Algernon Blackwood’s tales.
  • The Last Winter (2006)another movie that I seem to love but that others don’t (anyone?); I will just say this about it: Wendigo…and not the cannibal version but the Blackwood-esque, “vengeful spirit of bitter cold Nature” Wendigo.
  • The Deaths of Ian Stone (2007)this is a film about a man who is murdered each day and then enters a new reality the next. It’s a bit flawed here and there, but it is an interesting premise and I enjoyed it overall.
  • Cool Air (1999)**—I still haven’t seen this one!
  • Rare Exports (2010)–a Lovecraftian Christmas featuring a giant, monster Santa Claus.
  • The Unnamable (1988)**this is pretty bad, but it is based loosely on the story with the same name and integrates a few regular people/aspects from HPL’s fiction.
  • Lurking Fear (1994)**also very bad; it is loosely based on The Lurking Fear…you have to squint to recognize it, honestly.
  • The Haunted Palace (1963)**—this is based on the plot of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and stars Vincent Price; again, a lot of liberties, of course, but it’s fun to watch and, well, Vincent Price.

At the Borders/New Weird: 

  • The Damned Thing (Masters of Horror, 2006)—this is very, very loosely based upon theAmbrose Bierce story by the same name.
  • Cigarette Burns (Masters of Horror, 2005)—I have a soft spot for this film by John Carpenter; it focuses on a movie so terrifying that it alters reality/dooms the viewer. Check out a younger Norman Reedus in it, as well.
  • Dead Birds (2004)—This is actually really close in “feel,” story line, and setting to Robert E. Howard’s story Pigeons from Hell; it’s not a direct adaptation but it retains the spirit and general story…and it’s truly creepy.
  • Kill List (2014)—this was another recommendation that didn’t pay off until the final portion. In this case, though, it is worth suffering through all of the (to me) boring hitman/gun-shooting nonsense to get to the great creepy, cultish ending.
  • Midnight Meat Train (2008)—The story by Clive Barker (you can find it in The Books of Blood, Vol. 1) is definitely Lovecraftian; the film adaptation is just over the line, I think, due to gore. It’s still fun to watch; I recommend it.
  • Grabbers (2012)—humor, alcohol, and bizarre creatures from the sea/outer space; I love this movie and love the monsters in it.
  • Frailty (2001)—I used to use this movie when I taught courses in Critical Thinking, specifically in the chapter dedicated to “Perceptions and Belief.” Watched through one lens, it’s a story about child abuse and the brutal making of a serial killing family. Watched through the lens of belief, it’s a story about sin, connections to a higher power, and “avenging angels.” Matthew McConaughey’s presence doesn’t hurt matters either.
  • Jacob’s Ladder (1990)—another great movie about “reality,” memory, and what guilt, in particular, can do to the way we engage the world around us.
image

from Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

  • The Ruins (2008)based on the novel with the same name by Scott Smith, this involves the enormous egos of young American tourists, an “untouchable”/ “unspeakable” horror quarantined on and around Mayan Ruins, and some really smart, murderous vegetation. Lots of body horror and blood in this movie.

This is all terribly, terribly incomplete, I realize, even at this length, and there are a few sites that explore Lovecraftian film in depth or at least to some degree worth mentioning.

Here are a few of those:

  • Unflimable doesn’t update as much as it used to, but the older content is excellent.
  • Mike Davis (Lovecraft eZine) has a nice list going that I’ve seen him update from time to time. Here’s the link to that.
  • The HPLovecraft site maintained by Donovan K. Loucks has a short list that contains mostly older “classics” like The Crimson Cult (1968) and Die, Monster, Die! (1965), with a few mentions of movies from more recent times.
  • The wiki entry on this topic is a bit shaky, at best. Many of the films on the list are not adaptations of works by HPL, though many of them are decently Lovecraftian in mood, content, and stylistic approach. Maybe it’s a picky distinction, but I think it’s misleading to say all of them are based on stories.  Here’s the link.
  • Finally, here’s a link to the HPL Film Festival and Cthulhucon. It includes dates, locations, as well as movie information.