The Eldritch Influence: The Life, Vision, and Phenomenon of H.P. Lovecraft (2003) Poster

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worth it for interviews w/ Campbell, Gaiman, Joshi & Lumley
FieCrier5 September 2004
This is an enjoyable documentary, though it tries to cover a lot of ground, so doesn't go into too much detail about any particular aspect of Lovecraft or Lovecraft-related matters.

It consists primarily of: 1) a voice-over reading from Lovecraft's letters and stories, with photos and illustrations of him, his family and friends, and buildings and locations that were important in his life. Sometimes short clips of video of some of the buildings and locations as they appear today are shown. 2) interviews with Ramsey Campbell, Neil Gaiman, S.T. Joshi, and Brian Lumley. These are all well-spoken, informed, and even funny men who have a lot to say about Lovecraft and his work, and their interviews were the most interesting and entertaining part of the documentary for me.

There are a lot of other things in the documentary as well. There are shorter interviews with other people, such as filmmakers who have adapted Lovecraft's work. Some or all of that footage was taken at one of the annual Lovecraft Film Festivals in Seattle, Washington. Some musical acts that have been influenced by Lovecraft are quickly covered by displaying album cover art, and part of a performance by the band The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets at the Film Festival is shown. There are also interviews with people who play the role playing game Call of Cthulhu (interviews with the creators of the game would have been nice), and live- action role players from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society.

Parts of the documentary that I did not so much care for were: black and white clips of a supposed Professor at Lovecraft's fictional Miskatonic University, and a short segment of about six minutes consisting of a "Blair Witch" type drama of filmmakers going to investigate a "real-life" cult that worships the gods from Lovecraft's story. I thought it would have been better without these. There are also clips of an actor portraying Abdul Alhazred, the Necronomicon's author, but those I didn't mind as much.
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Lovecraft Festival in Portland Oregon
nightspore655 June 2006
Actually the Lovecraft festival has been in Portland, Oregon most of the time, not Seattle... The Eldritch Influence is good; the interview subjects were mostly insightful, especially Joshi, Campbell, and Lumley... Don't think Gaiman's comments in the film were especially useful or relevant -- tossing out the old cliché about HPL's "adjectivitis," for example. Overall a good effort, although such aspects as Lovecraft's cosmic viewpoint or his poetry could have gotten more attention. In addition, some of his interesting contacts and correspondents such as Robert E. Howard, Robert H. Barlow, and so on could have received more examination.
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Great look at a great author and his influences
dbborroughs3 September 2007
Very good look at Lovecraft and his influence. Mostly a collection of talking heads this is a lively discussion of most things Lovecraftian. Its a joy to hear Brian Lumley and Neil Gaiman talk on the various subjects covered, and its clear that both would be great fun to hang out with in a bar and have them go off on various subjects. (I'm curious about the inclusion of Gaiman only in that everyone else who is interviewed has a stylistic connection to Lovecraft and he doesn't.Then a again he's an great interview subject) If you like the works of Lovecraft this is a must see since its a really good overview of things Lovecraft. If there are any flaws they are perhaps that they cover a bit too many things, with most things glossed over. Indeed if you aren't at least familiar with the stories you'll have no idea what is being discussed. The other flaw is that the film give too much screen time to the cult of people who use the Mythos as their religion. Its more an "oh please" than anything informative. If you're a fan or have at least a passing interest in the man and his stories, this is worth a look.
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suz-mal29 November 2010
This doco pretty well covers what you'd expect it to, the problem being that it does so in such an uninteresting fashion. It covers the Lovecraft basics, and delves momentarily into waters uncharted by other Lovecraft documentaries. It would be interesting to newcomers if the production values weren't so abysmally poor. If not for the top of the line authors and literary scholars being interviewed you'd think this was a high school project. Take my advice and see "Lovecraft: Fear Of The Unknown" instead. It doesn't cover too much new ground, but its overall quality is far superior, and it is never boring. Eldritch Influence is for the hardcore fans only.
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