The Call of Cthulhu Review

Movie: The Call of Cthulhu
By: Orlok666
Date: April 27, 2011

Can you resist the Call?

‘The Call of Cthulhu’ is a remarkable silent (short) movie. Not only because it is a well adapted film of the famous story of H.P. Lovecraft but also because the makers dared to create a film reminiscent of the 1920’s and 30’s era silent black and white classics like ‘Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari’, ‘Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens’ and ‘Dracula’. In short: if you like them you shouldn’t resist The Call of Cthulhu!


The Horror in Clay

Filmed in ‘Mythoscope’ we focus on the narrator of the frame story who is taking care of his great-uncle (and professor in Semitic Languages) Angell’s heir. While going through the files of his deceased great-uncle he finds some documents and files concerning the mysterious Cthulhu cult. These stories in the files are shown as separate stories but still connected with the frame story of the Narrator investigating in the Cthulhu cult. A file named ‘The Horror in Clay’ makes us go back in time where professor Angell meets an artist named Wilcox who made a strange clay bas-relief based on what he saw in the bizarre dreams he had. Growing more and more interested the great-uncle visits the artist more often until when has been hospitalized. During the period the artist had all these nightmarish dreams it seemed the world gone mad judging on the news items Angell collected - only to stop when the artist recovered again.


The Narrative of Inspector Legrasse

A new file found by the Narrator deals with a strange case that Angell documented after his encounter with inspector Legrasse. Bringing in a small statue to a convention of professors of which Angell is attending as well the inspector tries to find out more about the origins of it. Legrasse tells the people in the room of a case of missing women and children near the swamps of New Orleans. The locals tell the inspector evil things are happening in these swamps and Legrasse sets out for an investigation concerning the cult that is said to hold its rites in these swamps. But what he sees goes beyond his wildest dreams…


The Madness from the Sea

Seeing a connection between the files of the bas-relief and the file of Legrasse our Narrator is getting more obsessed as well about all the cases his great-uncle documented, giving him haunted dreams of with visions of the unspeakable. Finding an article that the schooner ‘Emma’ had with the ship ‘Alert’ completes our Narrator’s puzzle regarding the Cthulhu cult… The Narrator sets out to find the sole survivor of the ‘Emma’ and obtains his diary delving further in the agonizing horrors the crew of the ‘Emma’ encountered on a mysterious island the crew set foot on…


German Expressionist influences

The story is pretty faithful to the Lovecraft stories starting with ‘The Horror in Clay’, ‘The Tale of Inspector Legrasse’ (in the movie called ‘The Narrative of Inspector Legrasse’) followed by ‘The Madness from the Sea’. All the stories are connected through some relics regarding Cthulhu worship; all styled differently but still coherent. Although the movie was given an older look it looks a little bit too clean, especially in some cuts where it’s mixed with some original footage. Also some special effects and more terrifying parts were a bit more modern and gruesome as the movies of the 1920’s era. But these are just some minor remarks in a furthermore awesomely styled silent movie. The styling of the dream sequence that Wilcox had and the island in the third story remind me a lot of the environments shown in ‘Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari’. It’s a place filled with strange shaped stones and walkways with crooked and skewed angles making it an ode to the German expressionist movies made during the 1920’s. The island in the story has an outerworldly vibe with its unnatural rocks and grand statues of The Old Ones. The swamp sequence in Legrasse narrative is beautifully lighted making it a damp, creepy and sinister environment. It makes it easily the most disturbing scene of the film. You can definitely see a lot of effort went into the production design to give it the specific style and atmosphere that made the old silent movies so special.


Ludo Fore Putavimus

While it might be a bit too old fashioned for the nowadays horror fans this is a great movie that delivers in atmosphere. The movie is an ode to the groundbreaking horror movies in the first half of the twentieth century as well as the godfather of disturbing horror novels: H. P. Lovecraft. And as the motto of the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society goes: Ludo Fore Putavimus ("We thought it would be fun"), I certainly enjoyed myself immensely watching this movie.



The Call of Cthulhu


The Call of Cthulhu


Andrew Leman






Matt Foyer, John Bolen, Ralph Lucas