Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Halloween (Cthulhu Says Hi)

            Since it is Halloween again I might as well write about some good horror movies.  I did not want to choose any obvious classics like Frankenstein or Psycho because they already have too much praise.  For this article I decided to write about two films that are fairly obscure to the casual audience that deserve more love in my opinion.

Indie Horror Double Feature (But Without That Hipster Taste)

The Call of Cthulhu (2005)
            One of the most tragic things about horror cinema is that there are hardly any adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories.  It is true that Re-Animator is an adaptation and there are many films that are inspired by Lovecraft like The Thing and Alien, but nothing from his prized Cthulhu Mythos has even been touched by Hollywood.  So while randomly searching around the web I noticed that The Call of Cthulhu was actually adapted into a silent short film.  I was so excited with this find that I could not write in third person... that may piss off all 3 of my readers.
            The screenplay of The Call of Cthulhu is very faithful to Lovecraft’s 1928 story.  The story begins as the narrator is given an anthology of journal entries and newspaper cutouts, gathered by his dying uncle.  The narrator reads this collection, much to his regret, and becomes entangled in a conspiracy that is connected to a cult and their god, Cthulhu.  The more he reads, the weaker his mind becomes; he is alone, vulnerable, frail, outnumbered, suspect, and all he has is the ability learn of his futility. It's kinda bleak.
            In this adaptation the filmmakers were very successful as they are faithful to the short story (check it out) and they made it feel fresh through experimentation.  In this case they filmed it in the style of a classic Silent Era production.  The film looks like something Fritz Lang would have made with surreal set pieces, ghoulish make-up on the actors and a constant use of the montage.  The horror in The Call of Cthulhu does not come from death or gore but from a paranoid, dense atmosphere and it is quite effective.  The only faults in creation is that there are a couple of scenes that are clearly filmed on green screen which can take away from the archaic feel.  In spite of a low budget, The Call of Cthulhu is still a great atmospheric tale of horror that will give anyone chills.
            DVDs are sold by the The H.P Historical Society and are available on Netflix through streaming and mail.  It's also only 47 minutes long so if anyone is not planning to sleep on Halloween (like the guy behind you) it's best to make it a starter to a double feature.

Attack The Block (2011)

            The story begins when Moses and his gang of thugs check inside a demolished car and an alien lunges at them.  But instead of running like every other clichéd bitch, they chase it into an outhouse beat it to death, and there was much rejoicing.  Of course this does not stop the rest of the alien invaders from crashing around the block.  Soon the entire block is being infiltrated by these jet black wolves from space, ripping human flesh in such gruesome fashion, now Moses is getting nervous.
            Attack The Block is touted as being from the makers of Shaun of the Dead, but this is misleading. Edgar Wright, the awesome British director of hits like Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is only an executive producer.  Attack The Block is actually written and directed by Joe Cornish.  But the thought that Wright tutored him is inescapable because it is made with similar proficiency and wit.  Joe Cornish is a fantastic find as he creates what is essentially a very basic B-movie alien invasion film like Cowboys and Aliens yet the plot stay fresh through some astonishing style choices.  The most astonishing thing about the film is the aliens are not slimy, multi jointed amphibian monstrosities that H.R. Giger had popularized, but black furred, simple, bordering on abstract creatures.  The kills are often hidden through quick edits and implicit camera shots but it is still a terrifying film thanks to the sympathetic characters.
            As mentioned last year in my Halloween review, in order for a horror film to work at the very least the characters must be likable and/or relatable.  Even though thugs are not good role models, Moses and his crew are &@$#ing awesome.  The actors are still raw beginners but they never fail to entertain thanks to the charisma and wit that they bring to their characters. Even better is that the camaraderie between the gang, it is so strong that they are practically a family with Moses being their surrogate father.  This provides for some genuinely unsettling fright, not only because they are gruesome, but tragic as well.
            Attack The Block is a magnificent little film that should have been a box office success.  Sadly, Attack The Block had an extremely limited release in America due to very miniscule reasons, according to Wikipedia.  Luckily the DVD was released on Oct. 25th which is plenty time to watch it in a Halloween marathon.

If any of these do not interest you then I am truly sorry. Here is a clip of man eating bunnies.

Is this not the cutest apocalypse, ever?


  1. Hi Cthulu!

    Wasn't Nick Frost in Attack the Block? He's not really a "raw beginner" seeing as how he's been in at least 3 major releases that I can think of off the top of my head. Regardless, still good. I may have to see the Cthulu short. I'm curious what a 2005 silent film looks like lol.

    I must add Let the Right One In to the list since, ya know... it's great and all. Yay for real vampire movies! Well, I'm off to watch random Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim videos, desperately checking the clock hoping that 10 days have passed when I wasn't looking.

  2. Frost is in it but his role is really small, like 12 minutes. Let The Right One In is an awesome film but I think I'll save that for a foreign horror list. Right now I think that November might be a dry month because of more Shakespeare essays and American Lit.