The essence of H.P. Lovecraft’s work is notoriously difficult to capture on film. The results range from the entertaining but rather absurd (Re-animator), to the downright awful (The Unnameable). To this day, there is really only one straight-up screen adaptation that sticks to the source material and manages to emulate its mood.
And it took the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society to make it.
The filmmakers slyly chose to model The Call of Cthulhu as a 1920’s era black and white silent film. Not only does this hide some of the limitations of the $50,000 budget, but it lends a certain dreamlike quality that complements the narrative. Being well-versed with Lovecraft’s haunts, many of the buildings mentioned in the actual story are included in the film, adding an extra sense of care to the production.
Hardcore fans of the story will be pleased to find few deviations from the original plot and a great stop-motion depiction of the titular Old One. The ending is one of the few alterations, but it conveys the bleak hopelessness of the story so well, I really can’t find anything to fault in it.
I can’t recommend this little indie gem to you enough.