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When I saw this movie on shelves, I had to see how horrible it was. I
figured it was either gonna be good, or so bad that it would be good.
So I read the reviews... And was almost scared away from renting it. It sounded like it was just gonna be a suckfest beyond belief. But my wife, with a similar taste in comedy as I, was adamant. So I took the plunge...
And boy was it worth it.
As others have said, it HELPS to be a gamer, it helps to be nerdy... and it helps to have a general Cthulhu mythos knowledge, and more than anything, it helps to love B-Movies and their ilk. If you like Bruce Campbell style movies, this one's up your ally even without said Mighty Chinned Wonder being present.
The one-liners have become common household usage. (This is my sex face.) My bottom line? Give it a shot. If you hate it, you hate it... But it's worth the risk.
The Last Lovecraft: Relic Of Cthulhu kicked off the opening gala at the
5th annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival last night, and also marked
the film's international premiere. The film a horror comedy that sits
in the same space as Jack Brooks Monster Slayer and, reaching back a
bit, the original Tremors. While I'm not sure it's bound for cult
classic status, the film does have it's moments, and offers a humorous
take on the Lovecraftian mythos, including an opening credit sequence
that was reminiscent of the 80's cult classic Re-Animator.
The basic premise is that the world H.P. Lovecraft envisioned was more fact than fiction, and the reason he could write about the nameless horrors is because of a genetic disposition that allows his bloodline to avoid going absolutely mad when confronted with the evil of the Old Ones. A secret society has existed to protect the world from Cthulhu, but now that the second half of an ancient artifact has been uncovered (coincidentally just as the starts are aligning), only the last descendant of the horror writer can save the world. That would be Jeff (Kyle Davis), a sometimes awkward office worker, who has no idea of his lineage. Luckily his best friend and room mate Charlie (Devin McGinn) is more well versed in Lovecraftian lore, and after being confronted with the initial threats, the adventure ensues.
Once the basic premise is out of the way, the story arc is pretty well tread ground. What keeps The Last Lovecraft entertaining enough is the comedy, which for the most part hits all the right notes. Some of it felt forced, but it was pretty rare, and there are a couple of stand out performances, especially from Barak Hardley as Paul, a high school friend and Lovecraft nerd who joins them on their quest, and the mysterious Captain Olaf, played by Gregg Lawrence.
If you're going to do a creature feature, you need to have some good monster effects, and on this front, the film certainly delivers. Most of the creatures ride the line between creepy and silly, with a couple of notable exceptions either way. The sucker fish creature which appears in the trailer is most definitely on the silly side, but the spawn that attack a group of camping teenagers work well in delivering some chills.
Some of the most enjoyable parts of the movie for me were the animated sequences, including a comic book style recap of the history of the Old Ones coming to Earth during the time of the dinosaurs. There are some great sequences with the animated Cthulhu fighting dinosaurs, especially notable is the point where he uses a recently decapitated triceratops head as a shield.
When making a low budget movie of this nature, it's very often a labour of love for everyone involved, and that love comes across on film. That's because the budgetary constraints mean making sacrifices that larger films don't have to worry about, and as someone who who's got a soft spot for these types of moves, it's tough to be critical. There are problems though, mainly in the pacing and the editing. There were a few points, such as the camping teenagers scene mentioned above, where just knowing when to cut would have made a difference in how things played out.
Even with some of the largely technical problems that come with an indie film, The Last Lovecraft is a fun horror-comedy romp with some great moments, and makes for a great popcorn flick. It manages to evoke notes from other horror-comedy classics while remaining it's own beast, which is something tough to pull off at any budget, when it comes to genre films.
At the end of the film, Devin McGinn, who plays Charlie and also wrote and produced the film, took to the stage, along with director Henry Saine, for a Q & A session, and were joined by other cast members. It's clear that they all enjoyed working together, and if all goes well, we'll be seeing the sequel sometime down the road. Let's hope it'll be making it's premiere at Toronto After Dark sooner as opposed to later.
This review originally appeared at http://www.rgbfilter.com/?p=8607
The people who say this isn't based on Lovecraft or the Cthulhu mythos are way off base, and they miss the point of this romp. Without H.P. Lovecraft's writing, this movie wouldn't exist. It isn't meant to be a "Lovecraft movie" or to be taken seriously. It's precisely what its writer and co-star intended it to be, a cinematic comic book and a tribute to Lovecraft as the father of modern horror and the progenitor of much of what we know as horror comics, both serious and humorous. The performers are all at least adequate, and the three leads are charming, portraying Regular Guys and a stereotyped comic book nerd with tongues firmly in cheek. It's obvious everyone who had anything to do with The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu had a ball, and so will you, unless you have no sense of fun at all.
OK, first off, if you're not into Lovecraft or the Cthulhu Mythos, you
won't get all of the references and jokes, but that's not to say you
won't have fun with this movie. Underneath its rough exterior lies a
film with plenty of wit and charm, and a "deep" (pun intended) love of
all things Lovecraft.
The delivery, as said, is a bit rough, but after only a short period I found myself easily forgiving any of the film's minor shortcomings. No expensive, top-of-the-line special effects, an excess of foul language that probably should have been scaled (ha!) back a bit, and a couple of performances that weren't anything said performers would want to put on their demo reel (read: stiff).
Still, those things aside, the story is fun and silly, and maintains a nice balance between the humor and drama, avoiding any awkward or jarring transitional moments between scenes (if nothing else could be said, at least take note of that element, which I found refreshing, as I've seen quite a few "blockbusters" of late that failed at it, unable to decide whether they're action or comedy vehicles).
A somewhat imperfect analogy would be to reference the TV series "Chuck." Take any old Lovecraftian Hammer film and drop Chuck & Morgan down in the middle of it as the protagonists and you've got a good idea of what I believe this movie was intended to be. I wouldn't go so far as to say it completely succeeded, but in the end I think it worked well enough to make the movie enjoyable.
Ultimately it's a light-hearted Cthulhu Mythos comic book on film, with nods to geeks, gamers and Lovecraft fans everywhere. Will it necessarily be everyone's cup of tea? Nah. What movie is? But if you're in the target audience, and can go into it with a smile on your face and no Cameronesque expectations, there's a good chance you'll have a good time and even find yourself later talking about it with friends over your Mt. Dew and Funyuns as you prepare to toss the percentiles and hope your character doesn't go insane.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu starts as Professor Lake (Edmund
Lupinski) is informed that the missing piece of an ancient relic has
been recovered, Professor Lake is told that he must find the last
surviving blood relative of horror author H.P. Lovecraft & give him the
piece. Professor Lake tracks down Jeff (Kyle Davis) & tells him the
full story, many thousands of years ago a huge war broke out between
rival alien forces the Cthulhu & the Old Ones for total control of the
planet Earth. The bloody & violent war was interrupted by the coming of
a meteorite that hit Earth & wiped out the Dinosaur's, the two alien
forces hid from the catastrophe with Cthulhu retreating to a castle at
the bottom of the Ocean. However Cthulhu subliminally influenced early
man & the cult of Cthulhu has sought to release the powerful alien form
his watery prison for centuries, the two pieces of the relic is all
that the cult need to free Cthulhu. Jeff & his comic book loving friend
Charlie (Devin McGinn) are given the relic to protect as Cthulhu's
mutant creatures go in search of it killing anyone who gets in the
Co-edited & directed by Henry Saine this light hearted horror comedy borrows huge slices of the Cthulhu mythology from horror author H.P. Lovecraft's work but puts a modern self referential comic book fan geek twist on it, although silly & lightweight The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu is quite endearing & likable. At less than 80 minutes long the film starts off quickly & rarely stops, I would say the script tries to mimic the style of Shaun of the Dead (2004) with plenty of in-jokes, horror film references & homages & geeky character's. There are some amusing moments in The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu with some very funny dialogue between the quirky character's, from the geek fan-boy Paul to the fish raped Captain Olaf there's plenty of one-liners ^ dry sarcastic wit as the genre & fandom itself are made fun of although it's never in a mean spirited way & has respect for Lovecraft, comics, horror & geek fandom in general. While the film is good natured & fun the constant horror, fantasy & comic book references do wear a little thin by the end & The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu starts to feel like a collection of small comedy sketches rather than one coherent film. The plot is alright but isn't that tight & could have used a bit of work, the threat from Cthuluhu isn't really demonstrated& the evil red monster thing is killed too easily at the end.
There are some very good special effects in The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu, sure some of the CGI is poor but the practical make-up effects are good with some good monster effects & a bit of gore. The film has constant references to comics & films that I am sure will go over many viewers head, hell I probably missed loads as I admit I have never actually read a H.P. Lovecraft novel. Well shot in full 2:35:1 widescreen The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu looks nice enough & there's a really cool animated insert as Charlie the comic book fan narrates a neat sequence in which the story behind Cthulhu is explained.
Probably shot on a low budget the production values are good, the acting is good too with the whole cast looking like they had a lot of fun making this. Nobody seems to hold back anyway & make the most of the one-liners & material they are given.
The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu is actually a pretty neat little film, sure it's not a serious film & leans towards laughs more than scares but it has a certain energy & likability. All the horror film & comic book references are sure to please fans too, just don't expect anything dark & Gothic like Lovecraft originally wrote & you'll enjoy this for what it is.
This isn't a perfect movie, at places the acting and writing are a bit
weak, but it's obvious that most of these people aren't hardened actors
and that most of their effects are on a budget, and with that in mind,
it's a damn good presentation.
It's not a movie for hardcore Lovecraft fans who'll cry if someone gets their mythos a bit wrong, as the movie(which largely loyal to the concept) isn't particularly about madness and does take its chance to have a bit of fun with the silliness inherent in just about any horror situation.
The start's a bit stuttering and not ideal, but by the end of the movie I was genuinely in love with it.
Ultimately, if you approach this movie without expecting a big-budget Hollywood execution, but instead a competent indie/student movie, you won't be disappointed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Cult of Cthulhu are searching for part of a relic which is the key
that will raise their master from his watery tomb and free him to rule
the Earth. The Council of Cthulhu possess the other half of the relic
and to stop the cult they send Professor Lake (Edmund Lupinski) of
Miskatonic University to take the relic to the last descendant of H. P.
Lovecraft and prevent the Cult from raising Cthulhu. This descendant is
Jeff Philips (Kyle Davis) who works in a boring job in a cubicle in an
office with his comic-book geek friend Charlie (Devin McGinn) and
wishes there was more to life.
When Jeff and Charlie get home to their apartment they find Professor Lake standing there. He tries to tell them about the Cult of Cthulhu but Jeff doesn't believe any of it. Charlie on the other hand knows far too much about it and goes into a comic-illustrated history of Cthulhu and his war with the Elder Ones. Jeff does not think this makes the story any more credible, but Lake agrees that Charlie's story is true but incomplete. He reveals that Lovecraft was disguising truth as fiction and that he seemed to have a natural immunity to the madness inducing powers of Cthulhu and his General Starspawn (Ethan Wilde). The Council of Cthulhu think that this immunity has been passed down to Jeff making him the only person who can tackle Starspawn and stop the end of human civilisation. Lake's story is interrupted when the cult get to the apartment on the trail of the relic and Lake tells Jeff and Charlie to go and he gives the relic to Jeff. Lake then pulls out a large hammer on a chain with a harpoon at the other end from his bag and starts fighting off cult creatures to give Jeff and Charlie time to escape until Starspawn comes in and kills him.
Jeff and Charlie have to fight off a creature with a lamprey-like sucker mouth that fixes itself to their car window. They manage to do this with just a tire iron and then they drive off. Charlie suggests that they go see a guy they went to school with who knows all about Lovecraft. Paul (Barak Hardley) is another geek who lives with his foul-mouthed grandmother. He doesn't believe their story at first but is convinced when he sees the eyes of the relic glowing and he wants in on the adventure. He has a map from a comic-book to a Captain Olaf (Gregg Lawrence) who has told stories of his encounters with spawn of Cthulhu, the Deep Ones who live in the ocean. Starspawn has called up these Deep Ones to help him to get the relic. They come ashore next to a beach party and we see and hear them slaughtering everyone from inside a tent where a woman lies cowering in fear.
Jeff, Paul and Charlie have to get to Captain Olaf who lives in the middle of the desert to see if he has any idea how to defeat Starspawn and the Cult of Cthulhu
A comedy based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft has potential but this was disappointing. It has a very low-budget so it really has very little in the way of effects though some of it was pretty good for the money spent. I wasn't too put off by the large amount of dysfunctional geek comedy the film has. I think I was mainly let-down by how lame the bad guys really turned out to be. Maybe they should have spread a little more madness around because apart from the Deep Ones they didn't seem any more dangerous than any bunch of mooks. And the Deep Ones had a great build-up but after their initial killing spree they were a bit crap. Lovecraft wrote about cosmic horror but there really wasn't much sign of that here. It does show some promise and if they had decent budget they may have delivered something a bit better.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First off, if you've never heard of H.P. Lovecraft just stop reading
now. This film is not your style.
If however you've read (or read of) any of his works or have played D&D more than 3 times in your life then read on.
This movie is crap. It has terrible effects, mediocre acting, a stupid storyline, and poor continuity. It is also FREAKING HILARIOUS. I laughed myself silly watching this.
The entire film feels like a bunch of friends got together at a party, and after several rounds of drinks said "Hey! Let's make a movie!" -and then went out and made it.
SPOILER ALERT: The wonderful thing about this is that you, the viewer, feel like you were along for the ride. You were there in the back yard with your buddies helping with the pool noodles and monster mask. You shot the animation and comic book sequences. You were the one shaking the the tents at the beach and the RV in the desert.
What makes this movie special is that even though it is crap you can't help but love it. You feel emotionally invested in it, and that is a very rare an magical thing.
I will be buying the DVD as soon as possible.
I liked this one more than I should have. The script is good but
sometimes clunky, cheap FX terrible, cheap makeup OK. But somehow I
ended up enjoying it! The directing could have been a LOT crisper.
Comedy needs quick beats and perfect timing. Still, after listening to
the Down In Front podcast episode about "2010 Moby Dick" I now
understand more about being a low-budget director and having to get to
a certain film length without enough money to shoot more film. You just
have to put everything you filmed on the screen or your movie won't be
long enough! Still, though I'm sympathetic, I do recognize that the
comic beats are ultimately in the hands of the director, and they do
plod in many places.
The script had some genuinely funny stuff, but suffered a bit from an inability to go completely over-the-top when it needed to. A few more lines of the caliber of Captain Olaf's "Fish Rape" would have been welcome. Also, the lead characters suffered from inconsistency. Were they nerds or not? They acted like nerds, until they meet up with a high-school friend and suddenly HE'S the nerd and they're making fun of him, and worse STOP acting like nerds themselves suddenly. That whole part never made any sense, at least as filmed. Maybe they planned a meditation on "relative nerdiness", but if they did it never paid off.
I think ultimately the "x-factor" was the acting. Most of them did a reasonable job, and all of them brought an enthusiasm and genuine quality that won me over. And Devin McGinn as the sidekick was really a standout - I want to see him in more movies or TV work, especially if he could play a similar character. He really nailed it! So, by the end I was rooting for our unlikely heroes.
One more note: there are a couple of reviews here that say this movie has "nothing to do" with the Cthulhu mythos. I don't know what movie THEY were watching, but as someone who has read literally the entire Lovecraft bibliography, I can say that they spent a lot of time throwing in many, many references, and really made me believe they could have been in a comedy version of Lovecraft's world. There's an abundance of little nods to the Lovecraft reader throughout, and I appreciated them a lot.
Overall - well done! Go into it expecting a VERY low-budget film that's earnestly trying to entertain, and and I don't think you'll be disappointed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Because honestly, when the father of Horror fiction is reduced to cheap
gags, he just ceases to be scary.
I give the creator kudos for knowing his Lovecraft Lore. He gets all the characters and names right, for what it is worth. But the problem is, they just aren't very scary.
Two Customer Service Slackers discover that they are the keeper of a relic that will release C'Thulhu from his tomb. They go on a Nerd-Rage fest of travels across the desert to keep ahead of Deep Ones and Star Spawn in bad costumes.
I guess it's a horror comedy that fails to be either scary or funny. I just dropped my rating another point on the notion.
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