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  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm Sandy Petersen, and some people know me as a game designer (I wrote the original game Call of Cthulhu, for instance). I helped fund The Whisperer in Darkness, though I had no creative input (and expected none).

    The movie is, in my obviously prejudiced opinion, a masterwork of taking an unfilmable Lovecraft story, and getting it not only on film, but in such a way to make it accessible to those who have not yet read the tale.

    I don't understand the reviewer who says it seems like a mishmash of Lovecraft - has he even read the original tale? This movie was taken straight from it. Some characters are added to dramatize events which, in the story, are in the form of posted letters, but that certainly doesn't hurt the film. Yes there is a lot of dialog, but the camera is not static - things move, shadows lurk, and the dialog itself is terrifically ominous.

    It does not follow the near-standard Hollywood 3-act-play sequence, to its everlasting credit. Instead the sinister elements keep building steadily until they reach a climax and even feature an artsy epilogic montage. Just as with the story, the evidence before Albert Wilmarth (the main character) keeps growing until he can no longer deny his eyes. Even the revelation of the alien horrors is done bit by bit. First we see a footprint, then a blurred photo, then a shadow on a wall, then on a curtain, then a single leg, then a brief shot of one walking offscreen behind some humans. Ultimately we see them fully and they are worth the wait.

    But it's not just the aliens - every element of the story grows in this manner. As you learn the alien plan bit by bit, the horror and tension mounts.

    Every death in the movie was unexpected to me. As a long-term expert in horror films, I'm used to being able to peg who lives and who dies often in the opening credits, so this was a nice surprise.

    The movie has subtlety and class. One good example is the scene with the young girl, Hannah. Albert Wilmarth is hiding out with her in a barn, trying to avoid detection. He converses with her, and tells her of his own daughter, who died of influenza years ago. The scene is touching, but just before it degenerates into bathos, he offers to sing Hannah a song which he once sang to his own child, and Hannah shakes her head, and says, "No". Just in the nick of time! I saw an early version of the film, and this scene with the child is what convinced me to invest my money in this movie. The whole thing is very professional.

    It is not an action film, though it contains action. It is a cerebral horror film. There are no "boo" moments, and every moment segues logically into every other. It is a tightly knit coherent hole.
  • One cannot help but give full marks to the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society for their efforts to bring H. P. Lovecraft's eerie stories to the screen in a manner in keeping with the texture and mood of the original material. Although there have been other attempts to film Lovecraft stories, most have generally been unsatisfying failures due to misguided attempts to modernize or glamorize them. Not so with HPLHS, who have gone out their way to keep faithful to the period and locales in which the tales were set, even going so far as give the film the feel of an early-1930s black-and-white movie. Even their logo is an homage to the the old Universal Studios logo of the early 1930s (the studio which produced such classic horror movies as Frankenstein, Dracula and The Mummy), replacing the familiar airplane-circling-the-earth with a dirigible.

    The plot involves Albert Wilmarth, a college anthropology professor specializing in folklore, who becomes intrigued by a series of unusual newspaper stories reported from a rural part of Vermont after a period of particularly heavy rains. It seems that bodies have been observed washing down from the mountains in the swollen rivers, bodies which are, reportedly, neither human nor animal. The bodies apparently also recall, among the older inhabitants, old tales of strange beings that live in remote parts of the hills, beings that are neither human nor animal, and possibly not even of terrestrial origin. Wilmarth begins his investigation into these stories on the basis that they are nothing more than mere interesting folklore, but soon finds himself dealing with something far more sinister.

    Admittedly, the producers of the movie added some material and characters not present in the original story. In fact, the short story actually ends at a point only about one hour into the film. However, the original version was, after all, only a short story, and I suppose the makers felt that they had to add some material to the plot in order to expand the short story into a full-length movie. nevertheless, the movie still does a far better job of evoking the feel of H.P. Lovecraft's writing than any other movie versions of his works, with the only possible exception being the resent silent film version of The Call of Cathulhu, which was made by the same producers.

    One addition to the film is a debate staged between the protagonist, Professor Wilmarth, and Charles Fort. While that was not a part of H.P. Lovecraft's original story, it is interesting period touch because Charles Fort was actually a real person, a celebrated and controversial author of the early 1900s who was known to contemporaries as "The Mad Genius of the Bronx". Fort, who died in 1932, wrote about what are now called paranormal phenomena before that term was even invented, and is credited, among other things, with coining the word "teleportation".
  • In 1928, Miskatonic University folklore professor Albert Wilmarth enjoys debunking theories of the occult, even though he is roundly trounced – on radio, no less – by Charles Fort when they have a debate on whether certain stories in Vermont that have come to light following a flood are based in fact. He has also been carrying on correspondence with an intelligent, yet fearful, farmer in Vermont, who insists that the strange beings seen in the floodwaters are real, and are all around his farm. Wilmarth is curious, especially after he finds the original manuscript of a very rare book of folklore collected in Vermont back in the 1800s, containing stories which seem to correspond to what his farmer correspondent, Henry Akeley, has described in his letters. So when he receives a strange letter from Akeley that completely up-ends the farmer's previous fears about alien creatures and that invites Wilmarth to come to the farm to discuss the wondrous things that he has learned, well, Wilmarth can't possibly turn the invitation down. But when he arrives in the hills of Vermont, the local folk he meets all seem downright hostile, and when he arrives at the farm, he finds that Akeley himself is not well. And that is just the beginning of the discoveries that await him....

    This film, created by a collective called the HP Lovecraft Historical Society, is clearly lovingly made – done in black and white and in the style of the early 1930s, it tells one of Lovecraft's more evocative tales and then expands upon it. (Lovecraft's story ends at about the one-hour mark of the film, which continues for another 40 minutes or so.) The atmosphere is terrific, and the style of the story-telling really permits the audience to feel themselves back in the early 1930s, even up to the various mad-scientist gadgets that evoke such classics as the lab in the original "Frankenstein" film. The monsters are more or less what one might expect to see in an early 1930s film based on an HP Lovecraft story, but that doesn't make them any less menacing or eerie. You don't need to be a Lovecraft fan to love this movie, though it wouldn't hurt; you probably don't even need to be a fan of old movies. You just have to love movies, especially ones with great atmosphere and straight-up acting and a storyline that keeps you involved every step of the way. Highly recommended!
  • I've seen the other Mythoscope offerings and while I found them 'entertaining', I didn't have too high a bar of expectation.

    This movie blew that bar away. The producers chose good actors, made judicious use of current tech FX and CGI and wedded it to the true strengths of Black & White Media.

    Color is wonderful in its own way: It explodes across the screen and fills the eye. The Movie will do all the Imagination for you. The viewer just sits back and enjoys the ride.

    Black & White, however, is the true suitor to Horror & Suspense. It doesn't fill the eye-- instead B&W subconsciously invites the imagination to fill in the blanks-- to populate the shadows, to imagine the colors, to wonder what it would REALLY look like. This is why so many of us still prize the Old Outer Limits over its newer color cousin. Or as another example-- even in color, the scariest monster moments occur in the semi-Dark.

    The movie took liberties with the story-- as other reviewers have noted-- but HPL would have approved, I think. The story picks up speed and becomes more adventurous and action-oriented towards the end.

    The sights of the Alien/MiGo are carefully and sparingly dispensed-- and even when fully revealed are exceedingly well done. Creepily NOT-human and NOT-of-this-earth.

    And underneath it all, the imagined alien technology was well researched. Creepy, Dark and Unpleasant. In HPL's world, WWII had not happened yet. Dreams of technology were still running along the old Pulp adventure storyline we see in old series like "Tales of Tomorrow". And if anything, their view of technology was cold, outré and alienating.

    This movie is a MUST for HPL lovers. For those who've never read HPL, it can seem a bit...slow.

    But if you're willing to give this flick a chance-- play it late at night...when it's raining. Mood is everything.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    First off, this is my first review I have ever bothered to write on IMDb. And the reason is simply this...This is a pretty damn good movie. I loved "Dagon" the movie, my first exposer to HP Lovecraft freshman year of college and then started reading his stuff. 8 years later, I keep all his work proudly displayed on my book shelf so my daughter does not have to wait till freshmen year to hear about HP Lovecraft. As people who have read his work already know, the stories are impossible to translate into a movie, hence, terrible movies. I kept coming across weird horror movies that advertised themselves as "From the mind of HP Lovecraft" (one that is just called Lovecraft) and found them to be entirely lame, cheesy and an insult to the awesomeness that is Lovecraft. This movie however was a lot of fun. So fun in fact that around 20 min in, i decided to pause it and get myself a drink and change of cloths and turned my phone to vibrate which is kind of my ritual for movies that I get into and a nod that the movie truly has caught my attention and no more distractions will be tolerated. The acting is pretty good and the whole black and white deal gives it more of a "Twilight Zone special written by HP Lovecraft" feel. The creatures aren't Avatar standard CGI but honestly, Lovecraft monsters live in your head and to manifest them and visualize them only ends up diminishing the true horror of it all. All is all, I highly recommend this movie...HP Lovecraft fan or not.

    p.s. "From Beyond" isn't too bad either.
  • I saw this film as part of the "Imagine" film festival 2011 in Amsterdam. I booked it out of curiosity, wondering how a modern film maker would treat the 1930's source. I must confess that I'm not fond of most Lovecraft's stories. Though not having read any within more than 30 years, I'm still stuck with an impression of adjective-overloaded descriptions of monsters and their attributes. Many alternative books and stories in this same genre that I've read, attracted me much more. I'm prepared to accept that my reading sample was wrong and my bad impression is just as wrong.

    The film makers decided to run the film in black&white, which did not hinder me at all. It even seemed the natural way after some minutes. I'm very glad that we got sound with the film. I hate intervening text boards showing the dialog, known from silent movies. In anticipation I was a bit afraid that parts of the film would develop slowly, not unexpected given the original material, but my fear proved completely unjustified.

    The director was present at the screening and answered several questions during the final Q&A. We learned about the 350K$ budget, financed by the film makers out of their own pockets. They did the same for their previous 47 min short "The Call of Cthulhu", which paid itself back eventually. Understandably that several corners were cut for reasons of costs, but their love for Lovecraft did make up the rest. The editing of the material, as well as the pace in which the story develops, were adapted to match current speed expectations. Nowadays we cannot bear to watch 15 minutes of people reading letter fragments to each other, and this part of the original story was visualized differently for good reason. The finale shows a lot of action, and even some monsters. What these aliens look like, has been described by Lovecraft in much detail. These monsters could not be left out, or it would have left us strongly disappointed (said the director).

    Back at home I discovered the original story in my own book collection. It was bought a long time ago (1978), and I completely forgot having it. When re-reading the story, I saw some changes by the hands of the film makers in order to liven up the original. As mentioned above, the exchange of letters between Akeley and Wilmarth has been dramatized considerably. And with good reason, otherwise we certainly would have dozed off. Further, the final outdoor scenes don't appear as such in the original story, and has been invented by the film makers, if only to show a few alien monsters and to introduce some action scenes. Maybe somewhat detached from the original, especially the plane scene, but such liberties occur often enough when turning a static book into a motion picture.

    When leaving the theater, I gave an "excellent" score for the public prize competition. I can only applaud the design decisions by the film makers, choosing for black and white (no problem) but with sound (very good), and properly pacing the story to maintain a modern tempo throughout its duration. In other words, to a reasonable extent truthful to the 1930's style of film making, but not to such an extreme that it would be tedious for viewers A.D. 2011.
  • Really enjoyed the clean look of this film in black & white, and also the sound editing. This is probably the classiest example of what can be achieved with a limited budget when the filmmakers obviously have a love of the material which shines through. The script is faithful to Lovecraft yet it does cuts down on a lot of the excessive verbiage to make it somewhat more palatable to a modern audience. The pace progressively builds and does pay off. The standout performance is from the adorable Autumn Wendell "Hanna Masterson" who embodies the film and is very effective at being terrified, yet innocent at the same time. A perfect fit to a film which achieves the same things.
  • zetes7 October 2012
    An adaptation of Lovecraft's story of the same name, which I have read. Within seconds, I pegged this as the work of the people who made The Call of Cthulu (director Brannery wrote and produced that film). I liked that one, but felt it was perhaps too slavish to a short story which didn't really lend itself that well to such a literal adaptation. The Whisperer in Darkness perhaps lends itself a lot better to such a treatment, and this adaptation is therefore quite good. It's been probably ten or eleven months since I read the story, so I don't remember it perfectly, but I think this is very faithful (the ending seems different, but I can't recall how the story ended that well). This is very creepy, with nice black and white photography. I don't much care for CGI monsters, but, for some reason, I think they look quite good in black and white, and the flying crab aliens look very good. The acting is amateurish throughout, but I did like Matt Foyer a lot in the lead. He has a great look for this movie. Highly recommended.
  • It is so hard to find a good Lovecraft movie. But this one is excellent. It does not rely on cheap jump scares or the like. It builds up a creepy atmosphere that scares you by suggesting the unimaginable otherworldly. Just like Lovecraft, it presents a vision of superior forces beyond the control of humanity. The acting is great and the screenplay is very fluid. The set design is amazing as well. Sadly, the digital effects are rather noticeable and cheap. Especially on the creatures. I would have really liked to see some good old stop motion, especially on a film that looks so eerily like an old 30s or 40s horror movie.
  • danialcarroll7915 February 2014
    Warning: Spoilers
    As with many Lovecraft fans, I feel that his work is a creative goldmine just waiting for the right film treatment. I've seen pretty much every film even vaguely adapted from his stories, and though most are ultimately forgettable, a few—such as Dagon and Cthulhu—have been watchable. Then comes along this one...

    As it got going, I found myself in awe of the quality. For a low-budget film, the production, cinematography, acting, sound, and script were all top-notch. I thought to myself, "FINALLY someone has made a good Lovecraft adaptation!" Unfortunately, this amazement did not make it to the end of the film. When we are first introduced to the Mi-Go (the monsters of the story), we are teased with shadows and fleeting glimpses, which are enough to send a chill up your spine. However, in the final act of the film, they decide to go ahead and reveal the creatures in all their CGI glory... though I honestly wish they hadn't. I get that independent filmmakers can't afford the sorts of FX that studio films can, but that just makes me wonder, why put them in at all? The film was perfectly creepy without it, and as soon as I saw the cheap CGI, I was taken completely out of the film. It wasn't just one scene either, but the entire ending. I could have cried.

    Had this film stuck to the "less is more" techniques it began with, I would easily have given it 10/10, but sadly, the cheap CGI tainted its perfection.
  • kols24 January 2013
    Warning: Spoilers
    Glad to see so many positive reviews, all of which I agree with. Well acted, well-crafted and should be a staple in film school of how to make a movie.

    As a Lovecraft devotee, the only point I'd emphasis is that this is the only adaptation, except for Dunwich Horror (1970), that works.

    Lovecraft's stories speak to the darkest midnight of the imagination and trying to translate that midnight to film is virtually impossible; many movies have tried with few successes.

    Dunwich succeeded by weaving that midnight into a far more conventional story of innocence, power and lust (Sandra Dee's tour de force with strong assists by Ed Begley and Dean Stockwell) and Whisper does the same within an homage to both Noir and '30s SciFi and Horror films. It works beautifully, even the dangerously hokey finale with its potentially disastrous revelation of ritual, monsters, frantic flight and circular denouement. A little beauty hopefully destined to be a cult classic.

    5-22-14 P.S. Just saw The Haunted Palace again on TCM - a favorite from my early adolescence and one of the best of American International's horror movies. Vincent Price was flawless.

    Mention it because it has a lot references to Lovecraft, from the name, Charles Dexter Ward, to the deformations of the locals. And, like Dunwich, it does have a brief scene (the opening) of a semi-clad maiden about to be inseminated by an Old One (or spawn thereof). Not quite as erotic as Sandra Dee's Tour-de-Force but getting there.

    Despite those references, Palace is not a Lovecraft movie. It's a well-made AI horror movie using the Lovecraft allusions to add depth but not to drive the plot, which centers on Price's character, Joseph Curwen, being possessed by an ancestor named C. D. Ward (who bears no resemblance to Lovecraft's character). Point being that, while it is a very successful horror movie, it isn't a treatment of any of Lovecraft's stories or characters. Its success as a horror movie does not equate to success as a Lovecraft-inspired horror movie.
  • I saw almost everything whats's been done in term of so called "Lovecraft Cinema". From '63 The Haun­ted Palace , through '85 Re-Animator and 2005 Call Of Cthulhu. This is by far one of the best Lovcraftian adaptations. It really holds the right spirit of both his books and early 50-ties sci-fi cinema. If you're looking for speedy CGI action - forget about this one. If you're into Edgar Allan Poe books, '31 Frankenstein or '56 Forbidden Planet and know at least who Lovecraft is you should definitely see this. Decent acting, good script filmed with the right pace and an old-school production. A perfect alternative for these days cinema. Highly recommended!
  • "The Call of Cthulhu" by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society was an absolutely sublime film. Making it a black-and-white silent film to appear as though it were made in the '20s-'30s was a stroke of genius, and the film stays very close to the source material without being boring. So when it was announced that they were doing a follow-up film, adapting Lovecraft "The Whisperer in Darkness," I was beside myself with joy to the point of being giddy.

    Unfortunately, "The Whisperer in Darkness" fails to live up to the high water mark left by "The Call of Cthulhu." Instead of a silent film, this one is done more in the style of a '50s black-and-white horror film. While I don't take issue with the style they chose, they still make some very odd choices that left me feeling a little cold and at times saying, "Huh?"

    So, where does the problem arise? I started to wonder if I remembered the original story correctly. Then realized that I had. They not only make adjustments to the story, but treat the story as only acts one and two, creating a completely original third act. While I understand the adaptation aspect of movies and am more tolerant than many seem to be because I understand that a direct one-to-one translation of most literary works to the screen would, well, suck, the change in tone in the third act is enough to give the audience whiplash. The final act goes straight into traditional horror and action that seems like something more out of the Call of Cthulhu RPG as opposed to the slow-burning weird fiction of the unknowable that Lovecraft is most well known for.

    This leaves us with one of the most inconsistent movies I've seen in recent memory. The tonal change is so drastic that it's clear the different parts of the film were written in two completely disparate time periods. As such, this film is kind of a let down after "The Call of Cthulhu." I strongly recommend seeing that one over "The Whisperer in Darkness" and only recommend this one for hardcore Lovecraft fans.
  • This movie is very good. The atmosphere of dreadness keeps rising throughout the movie, acting is coherent with the chosen aesthetics, the movie flows very nicely and adaptation of the story is interesting and builds up good suspense. It is well done.

    OK, I just felt like writing this because of those unfair reviews trying to nitpick and don't doing justice to the work and love put on this movie. They seem to judge this movie like it was a big budget modern Hollywood movie. The same goes to the comments about "The Call of Cthulhu" (2005). Both movies are successful attempts to make adaptations as they would be made when Lovecraft was alive just adjusting their pace to modern audiences.
  • It is notoriously difficult to bring a Lovecraft story to the screens without reinventing pretty much everything. The reason for that is that the emotional tension in his stories is all based on what he tells you the characters feel. He doesn't really construct a horror environment as much as place people who are easily scared, disgusted or appalled in circumstances that are usually light sci-fi.

    Created by the same team that did The Call of Cthulhu in 2005, it is a black and white movie, only this time not a mute one. The story it is based on is also longer, but then so is the movie.

    I liked it, but then I kind of understand what H.P.Lovecraft was all about. For other people I think this would be a waste of time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Hats off to the HP Lovecraft Historical Society for creating yet another gem of a movie.

    Film makers are in a difficult position: If you make a movie 100% faithful to a text written 80 years ago, you will alienate the non-fan viewers. If you drift too far from the original text (or slap an "inspired by" sticker on it and then do something completely unrelated) then the fans will crucify you.

    The HPHLS have managed to walk the fine line - they remain true to the original story, and accurately cover 95% of the story with only minor embellishment to make it flow on screen. But remember also that the book itself was only a novella, so if they had stopped the movie at the end of the book, it would have been a short movie indeed.

    But after the "book" story ends, the movie continues with a logical extension of the story that remains faithful to the Lovecraft style and vision.

    Purists may not like this extension, but a movie that intends to articulate the Lovecraft vision and capture a new audience at the same time needs to appeal to an audience broader than just the fans.

    The acting is solid and consistent throughout, and consistency is an important word here, because the movie intends to recreate both a story, a style of writing, and a style of movie making. Consequently the special effects also reflect the 1930s - of course it's not Avatar-grade because it would look stupid if it was.

    I give it 10/10 not because it is the best horror movie ever made, but because it deserves to be recognised as the best recreation of HP Lovecraft's "Whisperer in the Darkness" story ever made.

    Highly recommended to every Lovecraft fan, and to every non-Lovecraft fan who is happy to accept it on its own merit.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    First you need to know that they made this film to look like it was made in the 30's or so... even credits, music, etc. Also, if you put budget in perspective the Effects and the Acting is very good. Some complain of over-acting... but in the 30's they all over-acted... if you seen one, or just a little bit of an old movie you will know...

    OK, now the story: I thought it would be impossible to make an adaptation to Whisperer in Darkess, one of my favorite HPL... I was wrong... This movie gets very good the intention, but lacks something I don't know what... Maybe the dialog by letters was better and kept me on the edge of my seat... but the movie don't have it, it is like the movie starts after they exchanged letters and all...

    Also, I think in the HPL story they don't tell much what the aliens are doing or purpose... in this movie it is very well explained. The ending run away too far from original, could be a car instead of a plane... would be more realistic. But I liked, in a way this ending is more "lovecraft" than the original story...

    The only way it could be better was if they could get the "mood", the creepy atmosphere from description in the letters of the places, situations and all... (the only way I know to do it is by flashbacks, that would get too boring after the second letter and would have the fate of "The Resurrected" movie has.)

    In the end I give it 9, can't get any better for the budget and I dislike the little girl part...
  • Bored_Dragon7 January 2019
    This black and white SF mystery is in every aspect designed to conjure up the experience of reading Lovecraft. Lovecraft is respected both with the story and atmosphere, which makes the film one of the rare true adaptations of this great horror-fantasy author. Its style resembles Film Noir quite a lot, and only quality of the picture breaks down the illusion that you are watching a movie from the first half of the last century. Even the opening and the ending credits are archaic. This is an independent low-budget film, produced by "The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society". Despite the low budget and unknown actors, the film is very well shot and acted, and the lack of money for quality CGI is offset by excellent directorial tricks that are, at least for my taste, far more effective in intimidating than the technically costly, but essentially cheap CGI explicitness. Unfortunately, towards the end, they decided to break the tension, gradually built with quality hints, by an explicit depiction of extraterrestrial beings. But even that did not turn out to be so bad to completely spoil the experience, although I would personally prefer if they have abstained from this move. Overall, I am very pleased and I would like to see more of such adaptations of my favorite authors in the future. The only thing from this century with which I could compare it, on the basis of personal experience, is the video game "Undying" by Clive Barker from 2001. If you played it and liked it, you will probably like "The Whisperer in Darkness". If you did not, and you like this movie, you should try out the excellent interactive horror of my favorite video game.

    7/10
  • This one came as a mighty pleasant surprise. It's a B-movie, make no mistake, with cheap SFX and wooden acting but it's superbly charming in its comic-book fake seriousness. , The faithful reconstruction of pre-WWII university & rural life and the obvious and unwavering love of Master HPL's work are commendable, as is the protagonist's astounding performance - he goes through the entire film with a despondent, "Why Me" expression on his face. B&W certainly helps, making the movie stylized, at times almost dreamy and otherworldly -to borrow Master HPL's beloved word. An entertaining flic? You bet.
  • Of all of America's great writers HP Lovecraft, and his eerie tales of cosmic horror, has suffered from not being given a decent film treatment. Or so I thought until I stumbled on this gem-a labour of love from the HP Lovecraft Historical Society. Filmed in lovingly recreated 1930's RKO style this tells the tale of strange alien goings on in the remote mountains of Vermont and an ancient evil hidden there. Considering this is no Hollywood big budget film the production values are impeccable and by using the 1930's feel even the limited budget's SFX look and feel a perfect fit. If you are a fan of Lovecraft's work or any decent Scifi or horror this really is a treat and until Hollywood at least tries to better it -easily the best screen version of Lovecraft's large body of work.
  • When I was 10 to 14, I stayed up as late as my mother let me to watch "Friday Night Creature Features." I began doing this during the summer after my father died. I guess I found some sort of solace in these films where nasty things happened to good people. I projected myself onto the characters and I projected my father (who died of oral tongue cancer) onto the creatures as well. I loved "The Wolfman" and "The Mummy." I liked some Frankenstein films and others like "The Thing" and "The Creature from the Black Lagoon." They were not monsters, until the world took them from where they should have been and put them where the should not have been. This movie took me back to those days, in a good way, and provided me with a hint of the catharsis I was looking for when I was young.
  • Lovecraft might not have been the best of writers, but he had a great influence on others and perhaps his greatest legacy was the invention of the Cthulu mythos that inspired and was inspired by such writers as Robert E. Howard, the writer of Conan the barbarian and Clark Ashton Smith, whom I prefer. His legacy was mostly the work of one August Derleth, who created the Arkham House publishing company with the intention to preserve and popularize Lovecraft's work, which he achieved as far as I can be a judge.

    I have read a fair amount of Lovecraft's work or tried to, as especially his longer works are a bore to read. The one that I still recall with a certain fondness is The case of Charles Dexter Ward. Whose namesake appears in the movie, just like others from other stories appear in the movie I personally think it is one of his best stories.

    The whisperer in the darkness I did not read, but the summary can be found on wikipedia. The movie takes liberty with the original story, probably because there isn't enough in the tale for a whole movie. Unfortunately this means that the movie has some unlovecraftian aspects, one of which is showing the monsters for a fair amount of screen time and another is showing a certain death(can't say which one because it might be considered spoiler). Two things you never see in a Lovecraft tale. But even from a movie making standpoint it would have been better if they hadn't shown both. It felt misplaced.

    Overall the story keeps in pace with the Lovecraftian mood although you feel that it lacks the budget. For instance, in once scene they needed a train to arrive and you can clearly see that it is a modern locomotive, even though they blurred it to hide that fact. And this made me wonder why they went through all the trouble to place the story in the thirties instead of keeping it in the modern day, like Lovecraft would have done. It seems nice that they tried, but there isn't really a reason.

    The movie shows a lot of talking, but it keeps the story going forward and there are some really nice shots that give a sense of weirdness that the should have used more often. One is where the camera looks down from the stair onto the professor while you hear nothing but the tic tic of a big clock.

    The trick that the professor uses to save the world is a neat one. How to save the world without firing a bullet.

    Pity is though: there is a big plot hole in the story.If you want to find it. Just have a look at the movie..

    Nice effort.
  • Good movie. In some ways, a masterpiece.

    The works of H.P Lovecraft are generally thought of as "unfilmable". In some respects that is true. First, they would appeal to such a small fan base that any major studio that would put some money into it would go bankrupt. Another reason is that Lovecraft, for all his imagination, wasn't really that good as an author. Many would disagree on that one. But that's the truth. A good novel, novella or short story need a beginning, a middle and an end. Lovecraft rarely delivered more than two out of three.

    Anyway, The Whisperer in Darkness was a pleasant surprise. The script was good, the acting was surprisingly good, and they made a decent work with the cinematography. It is an independent movie and the special effects was what you could expect. But there were no obvious anachronisms. The props and miniatures looked real. The monsters looked like something straight out of a horror movie from the first half of the 20th century.

    Shooting in black and white/monochrome added to the atmosphere.It gives the movie a "aged" or vintage look and feel, and that's the master stroke in my opinion. It actually do come off as an old horror flick from time to time.

    All in all, it's worth watching. I've seen worse - especially when we're talking Lovecraft adaptations.
  • I really wanted to like this, and in the beginning I did. It starts off with a coupla nice scenes, that are lifted from HPL's short story and set the tone. The "aged film" effect looks quite poor, but I appreciated the effort to make it look like an old movie, with the pompous acting and static direction, etc. And all the Lovecraftian references added in, with a knowing wink.

    Then, they skip to the end of the original story just 30 mins into the film. The story works because of all the letters exchanged between the two main characters. Here, when they meet, the viewer doesn't know any of that, as they're just barely mentioned, in passing.

    After that, the movie goes off the rails. Characters that are not even named in the story take centre stage. Ridiculous plot points that Azathoth knows why anyone thought they'd work... Unfunny comic relief scenes. And a poor man's Indiana Jones. Don't get me started about the ending. Worst of all, it doesn't get scary. Not one bit.

    I was beyond disappointed, but mostly sad, as the original story has enough strong material to make a good, atmospheric, suspenseful, SCARY (low-budget) movie. Instead they added one hour plus of their own, sub par, material and ludicrous dialogue. Even the one thing that holds the story together, the actual "whisperer in darkness", is done as wrong as one could possibly get it.

    I don't know if the movie would work for someone who has not read the story. I doubt it, as they skip two thirds of it. It certainly did not work for me. I spent the last half hour hoping Cthulhu would turn up and take me so I don't have to endure any more of it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm partly cheating here, as i'm writing the first part of my review before seeing the film - but bare with me;

    One of the reviewers of this film is Sandy Petersen, one of my idols and creator of, amongst other things, the famous Call of Cthulhu RPG, and he gave the film 10*. I would be most severely disappointed if this were a bogus rating, and to my defence i can say i have watched just about every Lovecraft-inspired film and short film out there and sadly, i have to say they are all mostly rubbish, except for the classic "From Beyond", and the rather good Cthulhu (2007), if you ignore the ratings.

    Anyway, i'm off to see the film, will let you know how it works out.

    Right!

    I'm back from the film and i was pleasantly surprised.

    The Whispered in Darkness is a *very* faithful adaptation of Lovecraft's novel of the same name - perhaps too faithful, even.

    The film itself is apparently a low-budget, amateur's production, but the results are much better than the (pretty bad) 2005 Call of Cthulhu silent film, made by what i assume is the same bunch of guys - the Lovecraft Historical Society; it's shot in black and white, of course, but the acting is much better and easily on par with Hollywood's less- than-stellar performances, sure they don't have Seymour Phillip Hoffman, but it's not Cop Out either.

    As for the production values, more would have been better (especially the flight sequence, but hey), but one can hardly complain since it seems that Hollywood wouldn't touch a Lovecraft story with a ten foot pole.

    Now, for the script; it's good, it is - after all, it's a great Howard P. Lovecraft story - but this might be its undoing; while i really liked 2007's Cthulhu, as it was more "loosely" based on and it was really just profoundly inspired by HPL's story, tWiD is too close to the story which we have all read before. And of course nobody but a HPL fan is going to watch this, nor i believe will it get any airplay.

    Don't get me wrong, i enjoyed this film, but i think that "inspired by" is more appropriate than "straight out copied from" since the target audience already knows everything HPL has ever written, by hearth. Also, on a final note, i like to say that i'v always felt HPL stories just don't translate well into film, or for that matter into any social setting; they are great books, but to be enjoyed alone. Even Sandy Petersen's great CoC RPG was a great read, but when played with friends, it hardly ever gave the same spine-chilling thrills. Sorry to break it to the folks at the HPLHS.

    Maybe perhaps, it's time to bring to the screen some of Derleth's stories.

    Anyway, my final vote : 6/10 - you'd be really dumb to miss this. (add up to 2 points if you like HPL)
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