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Pickman's Model (1981)

6.8
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Inspired by Lovecraft's short story, Pickman's Model is about a morbid painter named Richard Upton Pickman, who created from his fiendish brush "unbelievable loathsomeness and moral foetor.... See full summary »

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Title: Pickman's Model (1981)

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Inspired by Lovecraft's short story, Pickman's Model is about a morbid painter named Richard Upton Pickman, who created from his fiendish brush "unbelievable loathsomeness and moral foetor." William Thurber, a student of occult art and author, becomes obsessed with Pickman and pursues him learning more and more about the source of his art until it finally consumes him. Written by Lurker Films

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Short | Horror

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Not Rated
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15 December 1981 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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A near miss, nearly
25 August 2008 | by (England) – See all my reviews

THE Twist in this is rather different from that in the novel, and is therefore er, more of a twist than it would be otherwise for Lovecraft aficionados. Unfortunately it's telegraphed rather unsubtly at frequent intervals throughout the film, so it comes as a it of a let-down.

That being said, the whole story rests on Pickman's genius at being able to portray the unimaginably horrible, and if, perforce, Pickman's work needs to be shown in the film, we have an insurmountable problems on our hands. Any prop painting would either need to be the result of unbelievable insane genius - say someone of the calibre of Dali painting inside a death camp whose inmates were all surgically mutilated, starving eat 'em raw cannibals, overseen by guards who were actually demons who genuinely enjoyed eyeball-gouging public necrophilia. Maybe H.R. Giger could do it. Maybe Bosch could have done it, but "a friend of the director" can't.

The artwork suffices to a large extent because of the changes made to the novel to erect the less-ambitious screenplay, but it may have been better implied than featured explicitly. It's a pretty fair attempt, but it tends to come over as faintly comical rather than profoundly disturbing. Perhaps the Radio Play is the best medium of all for presenting Lovecraft.

Add to the distractingly "prop" props the excruciatingly slow pace and dialogue delivery by actors of the "let's parody Orson Welles on moggadon" school and the presentation becomes too tedious for this ever to rate highly. It's a shame because the atmosphere is really pretty good for a film-club production and the soundtrack score is very good - good enough to justify watching the film, in fact.

Were it not for the all too obvious Acting and the amateurish images ostensibly made by an artistic genius, I'd give this a 6 or 7, but unfortunately it has to be content with a 4.

I'd watch it again, though. At least the sound is in English. Other versions I've seen have been foreign language productions (with much scarier visuals) but no English soundtrack OR subtitles.


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