It is very difficult to adapt H.P. Lovecraft’s weird, macabre tales to the big screen. Few directors are able to properly translate his cosmic dread into a film but there are a few movies that have gotten the closest to Lovecraft’s literary vision. Here is a list of the three best Lovecraft film adaptations.
Based on the story “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” (which I think is a much better title than the cliché “The Resurected”), this 1992 film adaptation has only recently been available on DVD and what a hidden gem it is. One of the few faithful Lovecraft adaptations, “The Resurrected” is the story of a hard working husband’s strange behavior and the wife who hires a private investigator to find out what he is up to.
The Call of Cthulhu
This independent, low-budget Lovecraft adaptation is great for the fact that the film makers didn’t try to use a bunch of corny special effects to make the movie but tried to film the story like a classic early silent film, with stop motion animation, black and white filters and other classic effects from the era–they didn’t use any fancy hid lighting technology or CGI effects. By doing this they are able to preserve the atmosphere and story of Lovecraft’s most famous tale of a group of sailors who come face to face with the once-slumbering, massive Cthulhu.
Based not on the story “Dagon” by Lovecraft, but actually based on his novella “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” this film by Stuart Gordon (a hardcore Lovecraft fan who has adapted some of his other works, but none as well as this) is one of the most faithful adaptations of Lovecraft’s work. “Dagon” perfectly captures the mood of the novella, especially the feeling of helplessness. One of the things I really respect about the film is how it does not give you a pat, Hollywood ending, but gives you a shocking coda that would make Lovecraft prowd.