Kevin Strange’s Top 6 Lovecraftian Movies


H.P Lovecraft is my favorite author. 80s B-movie monster flicks are my favorite genre of movies. So there should be no doubt that 80s B-Movie monster flicks based on the stories of H.P. Lovecraft would be right up my alley.

I fucking love these flicks! Even the bad ones! Even the crappy sequels to the bad ones! If it’s got HPL’s name on it and it’s a horror movie, you bet your big bubble butt I’m gonna watch that shit!

What follows are what I consider to be the absolute best six cheesy B-movies based on HPL stories. I hope you have as much fun watching them as I do!

 

6. Beyond the Wall of Sleep (2006)

This little know bugger isn’t a particularly good film but I really liked the atmosphere the filmmakers created by shooting the flick in an honest to god abandoned insane asylum.

I found it in the dwindling horror section of a Blockbuster Video back in the day and rented it based on Lovecraft’s big ole name splashed across the top of the cover art. You know what else that cover had? A badass monster that appears absolutely nowhere in the film!

Yes. It’s one of THOSE movies. Ordinarily that would be enough to make me toss the disk across the room and never think about the flick again, but for some reason the acting of William Sanderson (the only legit actor in the flick) and the awesome(ly bad) Cthulhu rubber monster suit at the end saved this one for me and even though I’ve only seen it once, I still recommend it to Lovecraft movie loving friends.

Unfortunately there are a LOT worse flicks out there with HPL’s name emblazoned on them than this one.  2 and a half out of five dead and dreaming Strangeheads.

 

5. The Dunwich Horror (1970)

Dean Stockwell as Wilbur Whateley. Nuff said. …But I’ll say more anyway because this is my shit and I can do what I want.

While this flick was an AIP, Roger Corman produced movie, it REALLY feels like a Hammer film. Not only did it come out during the Hammer era, but the sleazy, soft focus porn music infused aesthetic lends credence to that feel as well.

While only tangentially related to the story of the same name, The Dunwich Horror, taken as a weird, stand alone occult movie by itself really works as a creepy horror film. Seeing Stockwell perform Lovecraftian rituals on a hot blonde ain’t bad on the eyes either.

Really if you’re a fan of 60s/70s era Satanic movies, you could do worse than this slow burn warlock flick. 3 out of 5 Strangeheads that are the key and the gate to the Strangeheads. 

 

4. Dagon (2001)

Dagon is one of, in my opinion (and I’ve seen a LOT of Lovecraft movies,) the most authentic Lovecraftian film adaptations ever made. Only it’s not an adaptation of the short story Dagon. It’s actually an adaptation of the classic Lovecraft novella The Shadow Over Insmouth.

Now, I don’t mean that it’s a shot for shot remake of the story. There are a lot and I do mean a LOT of liberties taken with the story (hello naked octopus girl!) but they are liberties that I personally think enhance a film version of the classic tale.

Like most of the other movies on this list, Dagon is a Stuart Gordon/Brian Yuzna production. I just flat out love the B-Movie tits and gore aesthetic that these two bring to my favorite author’s works.

As nuts as some of the other movies are on this list, I put the final 20 minutes of Dagon up against any of them. The skinned faced denizens of Insmouth, the octopus girl and Mother Hydra herself making an appearance make Dagon one of the best Lovecraftian movies ever made. 4 out of 5 cultists from the Esoteric Order of the Strangeheads.

 

3. Necronomicon (1993)

This flick has a couple of things going against it that have kept it from getting the kind of attention it deserves. First, it’s an anthology film, with three Lovecraftian stories being told, all connected by a wrap around story concerning Jeffrey Combs as H.P. Lovecraft reading from a rare copy of the Necronomicon. His chin prosthetic alone should make this a cult classic!

The second thing is, it never got a DVD release in the states! For the life of me, I don’t know why that is. This is a GREAT Lovecraft flick featuring production by none other than Brian Yuzna who also directed one of the segments. It stars Combs, Richard Lynch and Bruce Payne so it has star power.

It’s also got great monsters, hot chicks and a boat load of gore. It’s a real travesty that it never got the release it deserved. Maybe we’ll get an overpriced Blu Ray special edition that I won’t be able to afford one of these days? 5 out of 5 cryogenically animated Strangeheads.

2. From Beyond (1986)

It’s all Gordon/Yuzna from here on out, as well it should be. I can’t stress enough how influential these Lovecraft flicks were to not only my love of all things HPL but of my love of practical monster FX and tits in horror movies. I grew up on this shit. It’s everything I love about movies!

And From Beyond is my personal favorite. It’s not number one just because I don’t consider it THE BEST. It’s got its flaws and is a much smaller scale production (while having much better monsters, however that works) than Re-Animator, but it suffers from only following the three central cast members in a single location for much of the run time of the film.

That, however, doesn’t stop it from having Barbara Crampton in a fucking leather dominatrix suit, or Jeffery Combs with a protruding pineal gland sucking the eyeball out of a nurse! There are so many perfect scenes and slimy monsters in this flick. God I love it. 5 out of 5 Dr. Edward Strangeheads, at your service. 

1. Re-Animator (1985)

Re-Animator is considered by practically everyone to be the quintessential H.P. Lovecraft film, and I find it hard to disagree. This film has everything a great B-movie needs. Zombies. A mad scientist. Another mad scientist. a re-animated severed head going down on Barbara Crampton. What? Yes. It’s that movie.

I can only imagine the kind of fanfare this flick got when it was released. I can also only imagine the kind of hate it got from Lovecraft purists. Hell, even the 18 year old kid who introduced me to Lovecraft back in the 90s thought this thing was a piece of trash.

But I loved it! And it brought together Charles Band, Stewart Gordon and Brian Yuzna who would all go on to make insanely awesome sequels and offshoot Lovecraftian flicks for decades to come.

I recently saw an interview with Gordon where he said that he personally had a hand in getting the story this movie was based on back into print. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but if he did, then he not only influenced an entire generation of 80s horror kids to fall in love with the works of HPL, he was also instrumental in getting one of HPL’s coolest stories into my hands. And for that, this monster kid is forever grateful. 5 out of 5 blonde bombshell pussy eating Strangeheads. 

RTS 07: The Origin Of McHumans

Kevin and Jeremy are back for the third week of February with another episode of READING TO STRANGERS. Things get back to relative normalcy this week after a CRAZY month of covering the #BizarroGate controversy.

The boys start this week’s episode discussing poser editors and the pitfalls of getting involved with them as an author. Kevin then talks up his longtime editor Sean Ferrari and talks about the virtues of having a great editor. He and Jeremy then set up this week’s installment of Kevin’s bizarro Lovecraftian novella MCHUMANS.

After the audio book portion of the show, Kevin dips into Strangevillian history as he discusses the origins of the STRANGE VS LOVECRAFT anthology and the writing process he used to craft MCHUMANS.

Enjoy, gang, and remember, if you like what you hear each and every week on READING TO STRANGERS please consider pledging as little as a dollar a month to our Patreon page at Patreon.com/KevinTheStrange to hear exclusive bonus podcasts and get discounts on Kevin Strange’s fiction.

Till next week, keep reading!

Free Story: The Old Man And The Black Water

The Old Man And The Black Water and many other exciting stories are available NOW in Kevin Strange’s short fiction collection, The Last Gig On Planet Earth And Other Strange Stories on Amazon Kindle and in paperback here

The Old Man And The Black Water

by

Kevin Strange

The old man sipped his hooch; anger drawn across his wrinkled, weathered lips. Stomping across the gnarled red stained porch, the Old Man’s daughter dropped the heavy box she’d been carrying. Its contents rattled violently. “Dad, for real we have to go.”

Her husband and two young children hurried -with boxes of their own- down the rock path that lead to the driveway. They were careful not to step on the black water puddling and oozing its way toward the house.

Careful with that china now. Was your gran’s.” The Old Man said, taking a large swallow of his home brewed liquor.

His daughter huffed, and stomped away. There had been much huffing and stomping in the seventy two hours since the Mississippi river spontaneously began spewing that slimy, unidentified black liquid up into the world.

All across the river bend, but primarily in Hopp’s Hollow, due to its immediate proximity to the river, chaos and mass panic erupted. But not at first.

Local officials -led by a red faced, fat bellied sheriff named Paul Jones- first mistaking the substance as oil, attempted to trace the eruption from its source.

The geyser formed just off Lookout Point; the marina which sat at Hopp’s Hollow’s southern most tip, at 5:15am on Friday, June 17th 2012.

The Old Man -Dale Mitchel to Town’s Folk- had risen early, as always, and was among the first to notice the dark sludge issuing from the muddy river.

Sheriff Jones showed up at the Mitchel residence at 7:45am with a HAZMAT team. He asked and received permission from Dale to use the property as a staging ground for their operation due to its location as the closest to the river bank; even having a dock in the backyard with which to launch their boast.

Kryssi Mitchel, Dale’s Daughter, walked back the porch, obviously having collected herself. “Dad, c’mon, we’ve almost got all the essentials. We can be on the road in the next ten minutes.”

Pistachio and Parsnip.” Dale said, never taking his eyes off the black tide rising toward his home.

what?” Kryssi asked, puzzled.

The final two ingredients to my hooch. The stuff I never told you ’bout. The stuff that makes it so sweet.” He finished his cup, and poured himself another.

Kryssi stared at him with amazement that quickly turned to anger. “Why would you tell me that? You’ve kept that recipe secret for- Dad! You’re not staying here! Get your ass up and get in the truck, we’re leaving now.”

At Nine Fifteen AM on Friday, two divers jumped into the river just outside the growing pool of darkness that had begun to emanate from around the geyser.

At Noon on Saturday they were declared missing and presumed dead. At approximately the same time, the lab in charge of identifying the strange liquid returned their results on the black substance as “unknown and potentially hazardous.” The Dark Water had, by this time, reached the shoreline, completely overtaking the natural body of water from horizon to horizon.

Ain’t leavin’. Ain’t no black water gonna scare me off.” Dale shifted his brown and green camo John Deer hat to keep the morning sun out of his eyes.

Dad, you know what’s going on out there, you’ve seen those…things, with your own eyes. You can’t- Unbelievable!”

What’s wrong?” Kryssi’s slim-figured husband yelled from inside the U-Haul. “He wont leave! The stubborn bastard wants to die here.”

At 2:00pm on Saturday, As the first local news team set up to film the peculiar river anomaly -which by now had driven its black tendrils past the docks, over the marina, and up onto the very edge of Dale’s property- one of the divers surfaced.

The news crew immediately went live, asking the bewildered man what had happened; how he’d survived underwater with one hour of oxygen for over twenty four hours.

My God.” He said to Ten Million viewers across the country affixed to their TV sets, all wondering what was happening in the mid-west. “It was like another world. So Beautiful. They. It- I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I don’t know how to describe what I saw; where I was. So beautiful…” He began to cry. “They sent me back. They sent me with a message. Death isn’t the end. There’s nothing to fear. There’s something, unimaginable waiting for us on the other side. And the water’s bringing it here to us. It’s just so- I’m sorry, I- I can’t say anything more.”

by 10:00pm that night, the main interstate highways into Illinois that lead to Hopp’s Hollow were jammed bumper to bumper for miles as people from across the country piled into the little community wanting their own glimpse of what some were calling the Rapture and others called the 21st century Mecca.

Dad. We’re leaving.” Kryssi was crying. The kids were in the truck, her husband behind the wheel. He honked the horn, motioning for her to hurry up.

What can I do to convince you to come with us?”

Dale was staring thoughtfully at the creeping liquid lapping at the porch steps, meters away from his boots.

Nothin’ sweetheart. You get the kids outta here. Far away, you hear me? Away from any large bodies of water. No lakes, ponds, ‘specially rivers. How much bottled water you got in that truck?”

Enough for a few days.”

That’ll be plenty of time to find some more. You got that hooch too. Don’t give that to them boys, but ‘tween you and Vern, you’ll be fine.”

Kryssi looked back at the truck. “You know we wont, Dad.”

Nonsense now. Vern’s a good man. He’ll take care a you.” Dale did his best to sound convincing; did his best to lie. “There’ll be plenty of other people tryin’ a survive out there. You just get as far inland as you can.”

And you? What are you gonna do Dad?”

I recon I’ll make my way up to the roof if I have to. Don’t think it’ll come to that, but if it does I’ll be fine up there. Can’t see this lastin’ more ‘n a couple days. Week at most.” He was never a good liar.

Kryssi broke out in a sob. “Daddy please!” She knelt beside his ancient rocking chair. “I don’t wanna do this without you.”

Dale knocked on his prosthetic leg. “Wont do nothin’ but slow you down, kiddo. I done had my time; lived my life.” He pushed a strand of hair out of his daughter’s face and looked her in the eyes for the first time since the water began to rise. “If there’s any life left to live out there, well, you go on and live it.”

By 3:00pm on Sunday, June 19th the town of Twelve Thousand held Thirty Five Thousand within its borders with more jammed up a hundred miles across the tri-state area.

Vast revival tents had been erected in the night. Religious hymns and songs of worship both live and recorded boomed from the new shoreline Three blocks into the business district. Men, women and children waded into the dark ichor. Sermons were preached as dozens of members of this new congregation were baptized in the black water before swimming off into the deep; before disappearing into its inky depths.

At 11:00pm, while doing his fourth consecutive interview that day, The resurrected diver -recovering peacefully in a local hospital- began to vomit copious amounts of vile smelling black water.

550 Million viewers were tuned in to the live news feed broadcast from Hopp’s Hollow’s News Channel 6 when the diver, with wild, terrified eyes grabbed the camera man and pulled him close.

It’s a goddamn lie!” He screamed between dry heaves, ropes of black gunk pouring from his nose and mouth. “Some thing; some intelligence took over my body, forcing my consciousness into submission. I’ve only been able to watch in horror as it spewed these wild stories to you people! Stay out of the water! Stop- Stop drinking it for Chrissake! They need our bodies. They use the water as a sort of conduit to our brains. They don’t have physical bodies like us. They vibrate at different frequencies but- But they mean us harm! They mean to destroy us! This is an invasion!”

Just then the slime issuing from his mouth congealed into several bands or ropes of snakelike appendages, rendering speech impossible. He shook uncontrollably for several seconds before his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he attacked the throng of curious onlookers, drawn to his bed by his lunatic ranting. Three police officers shot him dead after he rushed them, wildly swinging his IV stand, mumbling incoherently through his tentacle mouth.

There comes a point in every man’s life,” Dale said. “When he gets his routine all set. When the idea of changin’ that routine is too much to bear.” He wiped the tears from his Kryssi’s face. “I been in that routine so long I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t. And the thought of Movin’ outta Hopp’s, outta this house my grandpa built with his bare hands- Well, let’s just say, I’d rather take my chances with what ever’s in that water, Baby Girl. Now go on. Your family’s waitin’ for you.”

As if in answer, her husband honked again.

I love you, Daddy.”

I love you too, pumpkin.”

At 3:30pm on Sunday, Sheriff Jones called the governor personally to ask him to declare a state of emergency in Hopp’s. That’s when he learned that the Black Water was no longer isolated to his little community; That geysers had sprung up in every major body of water around the world an hour before. There were no available national guard troops to deploy to Hopp’s. There would be no FEMA rescue. The world had its own Black Water problem, now. They were on their own.

Mass Chaos erupted through town. After witnessing the Diver’s rampage on Television, a lynch mob formed and attacked the throng of Black Water worshipers who had declared themselves “The Anointed Ones”. Hundreds died. Thousands were maimed, trampled, and left for dead as the multitude of human bodies, drove, pushed, and stomped their way out of town like a flock of petrified geese fleeing the first sounds of buckshot from a hunter’s rife. The relentless tide pushed forward 10 blocks deep into the residential part of town; the part of town now utterly abandoned. Only floating bodies and discarded vehicles told the story of what happened in Hopp’s Hollow.

At 5:15am on Monday, June 20th as Kryssi and her family drove away through two solid feet of Black Water, the sleepy little town of twelve thousand had been reduced to one tired old man sipping his home brewed alcohol.

After they were out of sight, Dale reached into his pocket and pulled out his Colt 38 six shot revolver. By the time he got around to loading the gun, it was well past Six PM and he was good and drunk. The water had risen steadily throughout the day. Dark shapes occasionally surfaced where lookout point once stood; angry shapes. Shapes making noises he’d never heard in his Seventy Four years. Noises he was pretty sure no one had ever heard before.

He finished off the last of his hooch as the water lapped at his chest. Careful to keep the gun from getting wet, he cocked the hammer back, placed the barrel to his temple and thought of Kryssi’s beautiful smiling face one last time.

***

To read the rest of the stories in the Last Gig On Planet Earth And Other Strange Stories collection, click here to buy it on amazon Kindle or paperback now! And be sure to check back next month for another FREE short story, only from KevinTheStrange.com!