Friday, June 15, 2007


One advantage of the Seattle International Film Festival is that we get the occasional world premiere of a movie. Classy! In this case, it's Cthulhu, which has been the subject of some controversy. I mean, not so much controversy that most people have heard of the movie, but still, some people are all atwitter.

Some people are bothered by the fact that this Lovecraft adaptation has a gay love story in it. They feel that this represents an unacceptable variation from the original text. Personally, I am not that much of a strict constructionist. Frankly, Lovecraft stories rarely work as a straightforward adaptation. They're pretty talky.

Another set of people are ticked off that although it's called "Cthulhu", it's actually an adaptation of "Shadows over Innsmouth". They feel that the movie is trading on the popularity of the Lovecraft Mythos without taking it seriously enough. I can sort of see their point, but it's not that hard to shoehorn the name "Cthulhu" into the Innsmouth plot.

Me, I didn't like it because I disliked the lighting. Almost every scene was shot with whatever light sources were actually there. And that translates to an extremely dark movie. I was watching it on a large movie screen and I sometimes had trouble seeing what was going on. So I think it's going to be extremely difficult to watch this movie on a TV screen, which is where it's mostly going to be seen. This movie might make a round of the art-house theaters, but if it's going to get an audience, it'll be on DVD.

It's so dark that the protagonist is in silhouette more than half the time. I could pretend that it was an artistic decision, designed to show how the character had no inner life or something, but I'm pretty sure it's just because they didn't know what they were doing.

So I didn't like it. I'm told that worse movies sometimes play at the Lovecraft Festival in Portland, but that seems like fairly faint praise.


daniel said...


Sorry you didn't like the film. The brightness issue was with the projector. Several films showed too dark at that venue. We were very sad to have this happen at our World Premiere. Hope you give the film another chance and get to actually see it sometime.

Daniel Gildark
director Cthulhu

Monty Ashley said...

I'm totally willing to believe that, since the Rat City documentary right after it was also too dark in spots. When I get a chance (which I assume will be the Lovecraft festival in Portland?) I'll certainly watch the movie again.