Anthology Film Archives


October 18 – November 5

H. P. Lovecraft – that misanthropic and politically repellent visionary – has inspired legions of filmmakers directly and indirectly. Through marvelously overwrought tales of uncaring gods breaking through a thin veneer of bucolic reality, Lovecraft extended Poe’s supernatural sensibility into the cosmological dimension. In a dark twist on the Gnosticism that sees the material world as a trap from which only hidden knowledge can free us, his protagonists uncover the menacing truth that lies just beneath our supposedly rational world: we are but puppets in a meaningless play of suffering and misery. And yet, it’s not really a particular narrative that marks these films as Lovecraftian, but the existential mood and wonder; as contemporary science-fiction author China Miéville puts it, “for Lovecraft, the point is the weird.” Such preeminent weirdo auteurs such as Roger Corman, John Carpenter, and Stuart Gordon have fallen under Lovecraft’s spell, and the result is a cool, crushing cinema of cynical terror.

Guest-programmed by Josh Anderson, who wrote the introduction above.

Special thanks to Brian Belovarac (Janus Films); Bret Berg & Elizabeth Purchell (American Genre Film Archive); Richard Blackburn; Chris Chouinard (Park Circus); Amy Crismer (Disney); Tatiana Faris (IFC Films); Harry Guerro; Jason Jackowski (Universal); Edda Manriquez (Academy Film Archive); Diane O’Bannon; and Todd Wiener & Steven Hill (UCLA Film & Television Archive).

< Back to Series