H.P. Lovecraft movies - why not more of 'em?


Sr Member
I'm not a Lovecraft expert (in fact just started reading his works after years of somehow avoiding it - I'm really digging it), but after reading up on movie versions, I'm surprised that they don't even seem to try very hard. Re-animator excepted - tho even that is not that close to its original story.

Case in point - 'The Dunwich Horror' - how the hell did this never get made into a B-movie in the '50s / early '60s?!

Mad scientist type? Check.
Mad henchman / experimental subject type? His 'grandson'.
Hero scientist type? Check.
Giant monster? Wait - giant invisible monster (keep costs down) - Check.
Sexy love interest? Er, nope ... so make one of the hero scientist's assistants a hunky type & the other a woman - bingo.
Dial down the magic angle, dial up the science-y stuff. Put the word 'atomic' in the script a lot.
Round up a bus to Bronson Canyon & get me Roger Corman...

Name casting? Mad scientist = Lugosi as Old Whateley, Hero scientist = Karloff as Henry Armitage. A young Leonard Nimoy as Wilbur Whateley.

There, now that wasn't so hard! :lol

So, why so few Lovecraft movies?



Master Member
Guillermo Del Toro mentioned something about that: "The studio is very nervous about the cost and it not having a love story or a happy ending, but it's impossible to do either in the Lovecraft universe."

The protagonists usually end up dead or locked away in an insane asylum by the end of the stories. It would be sort of a risky move on the part of the studio, but I'd pay good money to see his work on the big screen - if done well.

Mola Rob

Sr Member
Most of the Lovecraft I have read deals with more implied horror than in your face horror. Lovecraft was very good at creating a feeling of doom and mystery in his stories that I don't think would translate well onto the big screen. I think out of all the horror movies I have seen the one that came closest to Lovecraft was In the Mouth of Madness.


Sr Member
One thing I've seen is that Lovecraft's style and skill is built up to an almost mythical level. Mostly because of the way people refer to his works indirectly.. "Like something out of Lovecraft", etc.

When I finally sat down and read the books, I wasn't scared out of my wits or sent babbling into the insane asylum. What I got was some very good sci-fi/horror stories. I thought a lot of them were "pretty cool", with some really neat ideas that I hadn't seen broached before. And most definitely well-written.. the man knew what he was doing, no doubt.

I wouldn't call any of them "unfilmable", especially with today's technology. But, I agree with Del Toro in that they're not the kind of stories that today's moviegoing audience want to see. No real action to speak of, it's mostly suspense, tension, and "deep" horror (not "scary" per se, so much as "unsettling").

The other thing is that studios have already gotten in the way, by looking more at the bottom line than what it could bring to the art. Del Toro was full steam ahead to film At the Mountains of Madness, but he quit when the studio wanted to force a PG-13 rating to the film instead of the otherwise hard-R that it would have gotten (that story is more graphic than most of Lovecraft).

It's the same reasons that they don't film a lot of Arthur C. Clarke's work. They're just not today's "movie material", despite being some of the best sci-fi stories ever written.

Wes R

Legendary Member
They're rely on the movie goers wanting to use their brains instead of drool over crap exploding which means they won't make money. I've only seen one lately that I can think of and it was a direct to dvd one that pops up on scifi and isn't bad just kinda dull.

Kerr Avon

Master Member
Del Toro keeps trying to make "The Mountains of Madness" and I hope the studios actually cough up the cash for it. He has the vision to bring it to the screen.

There's a pretty good silent black and white "Call of Cthulhu" film out as well.

I think the "Colour out of Time" would make an interesting one. The Creepshow short with the meteorite stuff was an homage to that I think.


Active Member
Dagon came out a few years ago and I quite enjoyed that, but from what I remember the ending was changed (happy ending) and for some reason it was based on another Lovecraft story, not on Dagon itself.


Jannix Quinn

Sr Member
There have been a couple of Shadow over Innsmouth ones, but they've been pretty bad.

A high budget one with a good actor would rock.

In other news, I'm pretty sure I saw one of the fish people in real life a few days ago.


Sr Member
Dagon came out a few years ago and I quite enjoyed that, but from what I remember the ending was changed (happy ending) and for some reason it was based on another Lovecraft story, not on Dagon itself.


Not a happy ending unless there's more than one?

One of my favorite B horror flicks, but then Cube also makes my list. The moment when he's trying to use his swiss army knife to fix the deadbolt is exactly the kind of crazy not-thought through desperation that makes a good suspense film for me.

Isn't At the Mountains of Madness currently in production?


Well-Known Member
It's actually far easy to tell a Lovecraft story in a video game than it is in a movie. The video game playing community seems to be far more accepting of an unhappy ending than the movie going community. At least that's been my experience :)


Well-Known Member
It's a pretty simple question to answer. Not many today have enough skill and imagination to get it to the screen, the handful of guys that could possibly do it would come up against a brick wall in the mindless, non risk taking studios.
I actually much prefer to read Lovecraft anyway, so at this point I couldn't care less that there may not ever be a decent Lovecraft adaptation brought to the screen in my lifetime.


Active Member
Well the ending of Dagon was not happy by normal film standards but I thought the whole man finds out he has gills and swims of with tentacled women was quite happy for something based on Lovecraft.
Normally in Lovecraft either everyone goes mad, or dies, or even goes mad then dies.



Sr Member
Isn't At the Mountains of Madness currently in production?

no....the studio backed out due to the cost of production....and the thoughts of an R rating..del toro is now working on pacific rim....but still hopes to make mountains of madness someday.

there is a movie called the last lovecraft: the relic of cthulu thats kind of shaun of the deadish for lovecraft

from beyond is pretty good too...but im into 80'ish horror...

wish there was more good lovecraft movies...
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