The Whisperer in Darkness (2011)

For my tastes, H.P. Lovecraft adapts poorly to film.  It’s difficult to capture the genuine eeriness conveyed by his writing style. There are exceptions —I like Stuart Gordon’s 1985 cult classic Re-Animator and especially the silent-filmed gem The Call of Cthulhu (2005) rendered by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society (HPLHS).   Their new film The Whisperer in Darkness, directed by Sean Branney is even better and had me hooked by the end of the opening prologue. The Whisperer in Darkness (H.P Lovecraft) was written in 1930 and first appeared in Weird Tales in 1931. I vaguely remember reading the story in a collection of Lovecraft works. The story has sci-fi and horror elements and was a departure from the tales of Cthulhu and the ancient ones. This film adaptation should keep any fan of b-movies happy.  It all starts with the unprecedented Vermont floods of 1927…

Miskatonic University professor of English, skeptic and folklorist Albert Wilmarth (well-played by Matt Foyer) questions the existence of a hidden race of monstrous beings or hill creatures appearing in rural Vermont.  He claims it’s all bunk and based on mythology.  After a radio-broadcast debate (moderated by a man named Ray Bradbury), Wilmarth is approached by a young man who claims crustacean-like beings, or Mi-Go exist on his uncle Henry Akeley’s farm in Vermont. The man provides Kodak images of claw-like tracks and the alleged carcass of a Mi-Go, but the being is invisible. Through the use of  a parallax-corrected stereoscope a strange entity is visible.  Wilmarth investigates further and travel’s to the Akeley farm. There he meets the strange and ill Henry Akeley who speaks with a strange auditory vibratto.

Akeley reveals the story of the Outer Ones who travel the universe by surgically extracting brains and placing the liquid/ether in cylinders to allow for safe storage and passage on long temporal journeys.  Human’s can also travel and are re-animated through an electronic device reminiscent of the projection apparatus from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004).  An explorer from cylinder B-67 speaks…

Wilmarth learns about a cult of locals in cahoots with the Mi-Go, and the remains of Henry Akeley are found.  As Wilmarth investigates further he discovers the horrifying plan of these beings and it’s up to him to stop the invasion…

A Mi-Go drone attacks…

This is terrific film-making and near flawless execution of the genre. It has everything —a great story, good acting, creepy atmosphere and engaging special effects, some shocks, humor, solid score and sound effects, suspense and bizarre aliens (not like anything I have seen).

On this same day I watched the forgettable quarter-of-a-billion dollar Disney mess John Carter (my brother fell asleep in a 3D/IMAX projection of this crap).   The Whisperer in Darkness is a superior film in just about every single facet.

They do make ’em like they used to! Bravo!

2 Responses to “The Whisperer in Darkness (2011)”

  1. Haven’t seen this one yet, but have seen the short, silent adaptation. This new version appears to be better.

    Lovecraft’s contemporaries, like Raymond Chandler and Dashiel Hammett, had books that were immediately made into successful movies because they could be made cheaply. Lovecraft’s stories couldn’t be made into movies until recently because they have so many fantastic monsters they would have been prohibitively expensive. I liked the Herbert West stories like Re-Animator, which was a successful movie, but it wasn’t a very typical Lovecraft story.

    Look forward to seeing this, and hope they used whatever technology they needed to tell the story. Thanks for the heads-up on this movie, Barry.

  2. Rich Chamberlain Says:

    Definitely agree. Watched this myself last week and was just as entertained as I was with their first film “Call of Cthulu”. Hope they continue as they totally get what their audience wants.

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