Can you handle a gay H.P. Lovecraft adaptation?

cthulhu

Cthulhu is an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s writing made by the Here TV network (that’s a gay entertainment network). After watching this dark, eerie flick and then reading opinions about it in online reviews and message boards, there are many things of which I can say I am glad.

I am glad I am not an H.P. Lovecraft fan. I read one collection of his stories because supposedly you’re not a real horror fan if you haven’t. I had no idea what was going on in any of his stories and remember none of them. I’m not much of a fan of most of the movies based on his writings either. My main reason for liking a majority of the Lovecraft-based horror flicks I do like is because they came from the 80s. I personally find many of the movies to be convoluted.

I am so glad that I found Cthulhu to be one of the least convoluted Lovecraftian movies I’ve seen. Many viewers seem to think it meanders, has no plot, and that the individual scenes don’t connect. That’s how I felt about Lovecraft’s stories, but not this movie. Gay dude comes home to deal with his estranged family after mother’s death. Gay dude feels like an outsider in his town full of weirdos. Gay dude feels a strong connection with an old friend who is supposedly straight. Gay dude senses his father’s New Age cult is up to something ominous. Gay dude sets out to uncover the truth. Yeah. Didn’t confuse me.

I am glad I know nothing about Lovecraft’s stories “The Call of Cthulhu” and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” (even though I probably read them both). Diehards are furious that this movie is apparently more an adaptation of “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” I’m also glad I wasn’t expecting to see Cthulhu at the end of the movie as others were, even though they didn’t “see” Cthulhu in a story—they had to use their imagination. And besides, I got to see the threat at the end of Dagon, and it ruined one of the few Lovecraft movies I like. Not to mention, there’s a scene at the end of Cthulhu that appears to be an homage to the classic horror film Rosemary’s Baby. Note that you never see Rosemary’s baby either….

cthulhu babies

I am so glad I don’t hate Tori Spelling just because she’s Tori Spelling. Yes, Tori has a small role in this movie, but this is no gay icon gimmick. There’s nothing campy or distracting about here appearance in the film. This is a straight, serious role, and she pulls it off quite well and creepily, keeping with the tone of the movie. I am also glad I don’t default to “bad acting” as an excuse to bash an independent film, especially one like Cthulhu, which has some outstanding performances. Besides, some of the most popular low-budget horror flicks of all time have terrible acting.

I am super glad that I’m gay and don’t have hang-ups about sexual orientations. So there was never a “gay love story” in Lovecraft (even though “love” is right in his name). There are no love stories, gay or straight, in many novels and short stories that are turned into movies with love stories. A side plot about a relationship shouldn’t hinder one’s ability to enjoy a horror movie. Those who claim they have “no problem with homosexuals” and that there just shouldn’t be any love story in Lovecraft kind of give their truth away by choosing the word “homosexuals” in a review; it tells me quite clearly from what connotative “dictionary” their lessons in open-mindedness have come. Besides, a majority of the horror films I watch involve penis-and-vagina-connectors…I mean, straight people…falling in love, kissing, and having sex (way more explicitly than the virtually non-existent man-on-man contact in this film). I’ve simply been conditioned not to let it ruin my enjoyment of the horror.

cthulhu lead.jpg

This story is ideal for a gay perspective if it’s true that a single character’s isolation is a crucial aspect of Lovecraft’s work. It’s brilliantly realized here through the portrayal of a lonely man living in a world in which he deals with bigotry even from his own family. Not something I personally ever experienced as a gay man, but something to which I can relate because I’m, you know, a human with feelings and can imagine what it might be like regardless of the reason.

Cthulhu is a dark and foreboding flick. There are some freaky scenes that creeped me out big time—the underground reveal scene alone was terrifying. And I was incredibly satisfied with the open-ended final scene, which leaves it up to viewers to decide what fate the main character chooses. This is sort of my favorite “Lovecraft” movie, despite the gay love story….

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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2 Responses to Can you handle a gay H.P. Lovecraft adaptation?

  1. Good to see a positive review of this from someone not much into Lovecraft. I’m all over Lovecraft like a cheap suit and thought it was very well done. Light years away from the source material in many ways but evokes a creeping Lovecraftian dread better than many more straightforward adaptations and imitations.

  2. joshuaskye says:

    I enjoyed the film, and being a Tori fan was quite glad to see her in it. I do dig Lovecraft and tend to like even some of the worst adaptations of his work. It was refreshing to read a contrary opinion on the author, most people gush over him with an overly-romantic idealism, often ignoring the racism, antisemitism, and xenophobia that is quite prevalent in his stories. Contrary to the epic mysticism his uber-fans give his mythos, he was simply phobic of the ocean and all its creatures – thus the genesis of his monsters. I’ve met people so utterly convinced Lovecraft’s work was spawned by a genuine knowledge of esoteric secrets that they’ve formed a kind of religion around it. Hell, I’ve even seen Necronomicon spellbooks in metaphysical stores. I’ve read the Necronomicon and I can tell you it’s laughably absurd. There’s no doubt in my mind that its completely made up.

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