Lurker in the Lobby:
Originally for the Lughnassadh, 2006 mailing of the Esoteric Order of Dagon (#134)
| We now have a second edition
of this quite readable book on Lovecraft in the cinema, from Nightshade books. This is no
mere reissuing of the first edition, but a full-scale new edition, with changed
descriptions, more films, more interviews, and even a color center section.
Some films are gone; Miglore and Strysik no longer felt the need to include name drop films like Cthulhu Mansion, The Gates of Hell, the Evil Dead series, and Witch Hunt. Entries to more relevant but obscure films like Berkeley Square, Mystery of the Necronomicon, Dagon, Uzumaki, The Eldritch Influence and many other films has been added, and all of the other sections have been expanded. What's not to like?
Andrew and Miglore continue in their tradition of unabashedly opinionated film reviews, but they give every film a fair shake to prove itself or not, and at least explain why they don't like something. We may disagree on the merits of Hellboy, (I think there's a more than the usual popcorn action-movie silliness going on), but at no point do they really put the film down. I believe this is partially because they have gotten rid of the truly awful films (see above), and included only the films about which they have at least one positive thing to say.
The value of the interviews section will vary according to the reader's interest in the film-making process. For those of us who are not, there are a few gems and pieces of insight seeded throughout the interviews, but there's nothing that MUST be read by the serious student of Lovecraft.
The value of this book depends on the reader's interest in Lovecraftian cinema. For those of us who are interested in seeing how Lovecraft's ideas survive encounters with the studio process, this is an interesting book. For those of us who are looking for some good horror films that aren't just slash and spatter, this is a fairly valuable resource. I picked up Uzamaki, for example, and was somewhat disappointed. Although the film starts out well, the ending is rather unsatisfying, since it throws away all subtlety. Despite my disappointment, I'll still look forward to viewing films Miglore and Strysik have recommended.