The Horror Of H.P. Lovecraft (2006)

DVD Cover (Wild Eye Releasing)
Tomas Almgren Tomas Almgren
Brian Barnes Brian Barnes
Brian A. Bernhard Brian A. Bernhard
Chad Bernhard Chad Bernhard
Elias Elias
Elias Elias
Chad Bernhard Chad Bernhard
Rich Casella Rich Casella
Anna Ganster Anna Ganster
Nick Basile Nick Basile

4.1 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Horror, Horror Anthology, Horror Comedy, Mockumentary, Supernatural Horror
Follow the exploits of a bumbling investigative journalist as he struggles to discover the truth behind enigmatic horror author H.P. Lovecraft and his mysterious past. Along the way strange and macabre tales play out, pulling the reporter ever deeper into the writer's mystical world. Will the journalist finally prevail or will he end up without a clue as usual? One thing's for sure, the truth is out there... he's just not entirely sure where. --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: September 17, 2006
H.P. Lovecraft is one of those writers who has an abundance of excellent material, but us horror fans haven't had much luck when it comes to quality movie adaptations. Sure, there have been a couple of movies based on his work that were decent, but none of them even come close to living up to the original material. Other authors have the same problem to a degree, but none quite as bad as Lovecraft. Therefore, when I found out that I'd be reviewing an anthology film containing nine short stories based on his work, I didn't have very high expectations. These already low expectations were brought down even lower when I found out that this was going to be a mixture of horror and comedy; yes, you read that right, director Elias decided to mix in some comedy with the works of one of the greatest horror writers of our time. So, was I wrong in my predetermined opinions of this film?

Before getting into all that, let's run down the material found within the ninety-minute running time of the disc.

The Statement of Randolph Carter (directed by Jane Rose)
History of the Lurkers (directed by Justin Powers)
BugBoy (directed by Tomas Almgren)
Witch's Spring (directed by Brian Barnes)
Remain (directed by Ashley Thorpe)
Chaos of Flesh (directed by Grady Granros)
Alecto (directed by Simon Ruben)
Re-Penetrator (directed by Doug Sakmann)
And This Was on a Good Day (directed by Brian A. Bernhard)

Stringing these stories along is a running gag featuring a nerdy reporter (director Elias) who is attempting to put together a low-budget documentary on the life of Lovecraft himself, and this is where the comedy aspect of the film comes into play. These segments are goofy to say the very least; one part features Elias asking Lloyd Kaufman (of Troma fame) various questions concerning his opinions on Lovecraft's life and work, and the only thing that Kaufman can respond with is shameless self-promotion of various Troma-related merchandise. Each and every question regarding Lovecraft is somehow connected to The Toxic Avenger, Buttcrack, or Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. thanks to the shilling efforts of our good pal Lloyd. It's all tongue in cheek, of course, and this was definitely the best part of the comedy side of things. Some of the other comedic efforts, however, didn't fare nearly as well and actually lowered the impact that some of the "legit" films had. Coming off of a, dare I say it, brilliant short dealing with the occult and moving directly into a comedic scene featuring Elias chasing down an embezzling stockbroker to get his opinion on Lovecraft isn't the sort of thing that works very often, and LovecraCked was no exception.

Now we get to the meat of the presentation: the short films themselves. Much like the comedy, these shorts are of varying quality; some are excellent and come highly recommended from yours truly, some are horrible, and the rest sort of fall somewhere in between those two extremes. Some of them are straight-forward horror, some are geared more towards the arthouse fans, some are in color, some are in black and white, and some are almost literal translations of Lovecraft's work while others are only slightly inspired by his ideas and style. I'm not going to run down each and every segment in this review, but I will point out my favorites.

The Statement of Randolph Carter (directed by Jane Rose)
The storyline found here was also adapted into a fairly well-known Hollywood film (The Unnamable 2 - horrible review warning), but in my opinion, Rose put the big-budget version to shame with her short. Whereas The Unnamable 2 took the source material and made it into just another shoddy horror flick, Rose kept it very true to the style of Lovecraft. There's humans and there's monsters that definitely aren't of this world, but what exactly it is that these humans are dealing with is always kept just out of sight with only vague hints dropped here and there. Definitely a highlight of the disc.

Remain (directed by Ashley Thorpe)
A fairly short film (even by "short film" standards), this one is nonetheless quite good and is actually my personal favorite of the lot. This is shot in a stop-animation style which gives the on screen events a very surreal look, and coupled with some truly disturbing imagery, you really can't go wrong with this one.

Re-Penetrator (directed by Doug Sakmann)
Re-Penetrator was a standalone porn / horror hybrid that parodied the Lovecraft-inspired Re-Animator film. It's included here in an edited form with over half of the original running time missing, and while it would have been nice to have included the entire thing, it still served its purpose adequately enough. As mentioned, it's a mixture of porn and blood-soaked horror (and by porn, I don't mean late-night T&A on HBO), so that alone should tell you whether or not you'd enjoy this one. I did, but now I need to upgrade my VHS copy to DVD for possible review purposes. Bastards!

And This Was on a Good Day (directed by Brian A. Bernhard)
I really, really hate animation, and considering that this short is an animated music video of sorts, I was half-tempted to skip it as soon as it started. I'm glad that I didn't, because it turned out to be one of the highlights of the disc. The animation style and content is very impressive, the background music is actually quite good (a rarity in low-budget films, sadly enough), and the overall package is something that I could easily recommend.

Overall, you've got four segments that are quite good, four that range from "What were they thinking?" to "Well, that was alright" (I'm a bit torn on which of these categories Chaos of Flesh should fall under), and some decent comedic efforts in between. Although it's pretty much split down the middle in terms of quality, I'm still going to give it a recommendation, especially for Lovecraft fans, since the ones that work out nicely really work out nicely. 8/10.
Review by bluemeanie
Added: October 30, 2006
Was this a film, or a punishment? Maybe for some sin that I committed in a previous life; and, it must have been one hell of a terrible sin to deserve this. I must have sexually assaulted an old lady or killed a bus load of infants and nuns. Normally, when an independent filmmaker sends me their work to review, I try to keep an open mind and find as many positive things to say about the piece as possible, even if it didn't exactly do anything for me. Seeing as how I am also an independent filmmaker, I understand and what to help as much as possible. The only legitimate help for "Lovecracked: The Movie" is for me to burn my copy of the DVD, and encourage the filmmakers to do the same with every single shred of its existence. This was a miserable and laborious cinematic experience one of the worst I have had in years and years. And, though I do fully understand it's an independent film, there is no excuse for this kind of cinematic nausea. These filmmakers claim to admire H.P. Lovecraft what they have done is take his work, stick it in a blender, and then piss in it and push start. They have alienated anyone who sees this film but knows nothing of the great horror author. No one who sees this film will ever want to know anything more about H.P. Lovecraft. That is sad.

What these filmmakers have done is taken bits and bobbles from Lovecraft's literary career and inserted them between these really lame investigations into his life. They have added things like old film effects, really ridiculous and overwrought music, and some obviously worthless special effects that look like they were edited on Pinnacle. The only bright spot in the entire film was a sequence where a man slowly turns into the painting he has been drawing, though it totally borrowed from David Lynch and the early short films of Alex Proyas. It really felt like a Tool video or something. The rest of the material is so bad it's humorous. And, while they were going for humor during a great deal of the film, the stuff that was taking itself seriously was the most entertaining. I could see this making a film festival and getting laughed off the screen. Remember this really cheesy film from the early 1990's called "There's Nothing Out There" that film seemed like "Lawrence of Arabia" compared to "Lovecracked: The Movie". Lloyd Kaufman pops up, but who the hell cares if he is in a film? His presence in a film makes me know in advance how terrible it is going to be, and it keeps me the hell away.

If you're a fun of H.P. Lovecraft and I have read everything he has ever written this film will make you sick to your stomach, especially to see his work disrespected in such a foul and unnecessary way. There is nothing more unfortunate than watching a low budget film that tries to be more than a low budget film, when it painfully cannot. "Lovecracked: The Movie" has aspirations of greatness, and it can't even work up enough gusto to make late night Cinemax. What did they expect would happen with this film? Lloyd Kaufman is in the film, and I doubt Troma would touch it with a ten foot pole. "Lovecracked: The Movie" was the worst mainstream or independent film I have seen this year, or last year. To think back further than that would require using more time and energy, and this motion picture deserves none of either. On the bright side, the DVD that was sent to me was probably the most professional looking I have received. I will give them marks for that, but otherwise, they get nothing but contempt.

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bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 11/10/2006, 05:51 PM
Wow. I finally just read the opposing review of the film, and I cannot believe we differ so strongly on this film. I have been showing it to my friends so they could see how awful it is, and the opinion has been rather unanimous that it is 100% rotten. I guess I should smack myself for spreading the film to more areas of the population, but I think everyone needs a gut laugh every now and again. Wow. 8/10? I am unsure if we actually watched the same film or if maybe they slipped a copy of "Schindler's List" into the box for "LoveCracked" or something.
Chad #2: Chad - added 11/10/2006, 08:06 PM
I'll agree that not every short found within this compilation was a winner (I said that in my review, too), but there were some really good ones in my humble opinion. "Remain" (the one you also mentioned in your review) was excellent not just as a part of this collection, but as a standalone project. There's a couple of others that I enjoyed (well, it's all in the review, I won't rehash here), and overall, I thought it was a fairly solid offering.

Also, you said: "Lloyd Kaufman pops up, but who the hell cares if he is in a film? His presence in a film makes me know in advance how terrible it is going to be, and it keeps me the hell away." On the flip-side of the coin, I was bitching to everyone who would listen about Lloyd's cameo appearance in "Slither" being reduced to "Well, you can see him in the background for a second or two if you know where to look", so I think that says a lot about our preferred styles of humor and what we enjoy. Not that it's a "right" or "wrong" thing, just different tastes.
bluemeanie #3: bluemeanie - added 11/15/2006, 06:08 PM
Difference of opinions indeed. All I can say is that this 'winner' is going to be used to torture unsuspecting houseguests for years and years to come. I have finally found a replacement for "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane".
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