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The 6 Best HP Lovecraft Movies You Must Watch

Howard Phillips Lovecraft was one of the most popular American writers of horror, fantasy, weird, and science stories, most of which have since been adapted into films. He was best known for his famous body of work, which was later referred to as Cthulhu Mythos.

If you would like to watch some of his movies, this article offers you the 6 best HP Lovecraft movies.

Who Is HP Lovecraft?

Lovecraft

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Born on August 20th, 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island, United States, Howard Phillips Lovecraft was a celebrated American writer who specialized in writing bizarre and ghoulish short novels and stories.

In fact, he is widely referred to as the master of the Gothic tale of terror of the 20th century. Since his childhood, HP Lovecraft had an extraordinary interest in science, but his lifelong poor health couldn’t allow him to attend college.

Lovecraft made his living as a ghostwriter and rewriter, spending most of his life in isolation and poverty. His literature became even more famous when he died. Most of his short stories were featured in the magazine Weird Tales since 1923.

His Cthulhu Mythos series of tales describe the experience of ordinary New Englanders when they encountered horrific beings of celestial origin. These stories blend his intimate understanding of New England’s topography and culture with intricate original mythology.

Other short stories that were written by Lovecraft deal with similarly scary marvels in which horror and gloomy fantasy acquire unanticipated credibility.

Some of his best short novels include The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (written in 1927 and published after his death in 1941), At the Mountains of Madness (written in 1931 and published in 1936), and The Shadow over Innsmouth (written in 1931 and published in 1936).

Lovecraft was considered a master of lyrical language, and he achieved remarkably high literary standards, especially in his fictional genre.

All through his adult life, Lovecraft couldn’t support himself from the little income he earned as an author and editor. Actually, very few people knew him during his lifetime, and was almost solely published in pulp magazines. But he is now regarded as one of the most noteworthy 20th-century authors of mystical horror fiction.

His fame came after the literary and scholarly resurgence that started in the 1970s and 1980s. This led to an increased number of critical and academic discussions of his life and works.

At the same time, there was an emergence of numerous adaptations and works that were based on or influenced by his writings. These adaptations form the basis of the Cthulhu Mythos, which utilizes Lovecraft’s characters, setting, and subjects.

Commonly referred to as “cosmic horror,” Lovecraft’s horror genre mainly focuses on the idea that mankind is a trivial speck of dust in the universe.

His writings seemed to suggest that human beings would be defenseless if an unforeseen threat from outer space, another dimension, or even beneath our feet — possibly a primeval deity from the unexplored depths of the ocean — presents itself at any time.

He also suggested that mankind would be unable to understand these unnatural occurrences or ghostly forces. In short, Lovecraft explored the fear of the unknown.

Which Film Was Originally Based On HP Lovecraft’s Short Story?

Which Film

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Without a doubt, the work of Lovecraft has influenced many artists, authors, and filmmakers. For instance, H.R. Giger — the artist who created the space creature from Alien — named one of his art books after the Necronomicon, a black magic book that repeatedly appeared in Lovecraft’s works. Another horror author, Stephen King, once said that Lovecraft “opened the way for me.”

Also, director Guillermo del Toro, a self-proclaimed super-fan, together with producer James Cameron and celebrity Tom Cruise, wanted to adapt At The Mountain of Madness, and the project had Lovecraft fans salivating, but unfortunately, it was scrapped when the studio got cold feet about the R rating. All they can do now is hope that Del Toro’s dream project will get back on its track one day.

Speaking of Cthulhu Mythos, one of Lovecraft’s most famous mythologies, you might spot a familiar tentacle-faced leviathan if you watch the tail end of Underwater starring Kristen Stewart. Lovecraft’s inspiration is everywhere.

According to the British Film Institute, films such as Ridley Scott’s Alien and Prometheus, Alex Garland’s Annihilation, and John Carpenter’s The Thing and In The Mouth of Madness all convey heavy Lovecraftian vibes.

Also, HBO’s Lovecraft Country, which is based on a novel with a similar name by Matt Ruff, explores themes that have the legendary author’s fingerprints all over them.

Over the last five decades or so, there have been tons of adaptations of Lovecraft’s work. Some of the best and most famous movies based on his literature were particularly done in the 1980s and 1990s.

Six Best HP Lovecraft Movies

Here’s a look at some of the most prominent Lovecraft movie adaptations that are worth your time and money.

1. Color Out of Space

Color Out of Space

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This film is based on Lovecraft’s short story “Color Out of Space”. It is a cosmic horror story about the bizarre occurrences that follow when a meteorite crash lands in the front yard of the Gardner family’s homestead. It features Nicolas Cage, who stars as Nathan, a dad who loves growing tomatoes and rearing alpacas.

The film also features Madeleine Arthur as Lavinia, his Wiccan daughter who is interested in the occult.

2. Re-Animator

Re-Animator

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This film is arguably one of the most celebrated Lovecraft adaptations. The late Stuart Gordon’s 1985 cult classic offers a modernized (and pleasantly twisted and awkward) take on the serialized short story “Herbert West—Reanimator.” It is also the first of five Lovecraft adaptations that were directed by Gordon in his career in film.

The film introduces you to medical student Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs), who is known for conducting suspicious experiments with terrible side effects. He was suspected of killing his professor when he actually brought him back to life, arguing that the experiment failed due to a wrong dosage.

3. From Beyond

From Beyond

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Re-Animator veterans Stuart Gordon, Jeffrey Combs, and Barbara Crampton come back together to work on 1986’s From Beyond.

As he did with Re-Animator, Gordon modernized the story to a present-day setting. Combs plays Crawford Tillinghast, a scientist who assists Dr. Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel) with his modern discovery, the Resonator — an engine that arouses the pineal gland of the human brain, leading to the development of a sixth sense that, when activated, allows humans to see beyond our plane of existence and into a matching dimension.

4. Castle Freak

Castle Freak

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This is another adaptation by director Stuart Gordon. It’s his third venture into the world of Lovecraft, who inspired the film with his short story “The Outsider”. Once again, Gordon brings Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton along for this film. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, right?

This story follows John (Combs) and Susan Reilley (Crampton) who have a seemingly strained marriage following a tragic accident that claimed the life of their son and left their teenage daughter (Jessica Dollarhide) blind. John becomes quite fond of alcohol, especially since Susan blames him for the accident.

5. The Unnamable

The Unnamable

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The Unnamable is another great adaptation of Lovecraft’s work that puts together a monster-loose-in-the-house setting and the famous dead-teen slasher recipe of the 1980s. The film is based on Lovecraft’s short story of the same name. It features Joshua Winthrop (Delbert Spain), who is woken up by screams and wails reverberating throughout the halls of his large, rusty home.

He is seen trying to tame the unseen beast, but things don’t go as expected, and he ends up six feet under. At present, we hear Randolph Carter (Mark Kinsey Stephenson) narrating the story about the Winthrop house and the tales of the “unnamable” beast that dwells in it to his Miskatonic University buddies. The house is located just a few meters away from the university.

6. The Resurrected

The Resurrected

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The Resurrected is a popular adaptation of Lovecraft’s short story “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.” The film was directed in 1991 by writer-director Dan O’Bannon, who is best known for co-writing the original screenplay for Alien and directing the 1984 comedy-horror hit Return of the Living Dead.

It features Chris Sarandon as Charles Dexter Ward, a chemical engineer who vanishes into his family’s centuries-old dilapidated farmhouse without the knowledge of his wife Claire (Jane Sibbet).

After a while, reports of a foul smell coming from the abandoned house attract the attention of locals, his wife hires the services of private investigator John March (John Terry) to look into what Charles has been up to.

During the investigations, they discover a diary of one of Charles’s ancestors, which indicates that there’s a history of necromancy in Ward’s family bloodline. They also come across catacombs beneath the rundown farmhouse where Ward has been performing some ungodly experiments.

It’s in these ghoulish catacomb scenes when the film shines most. Some of the surreal creatures, comprising entirely of body parts, are truly bizarre and brought to life with some effective puppetry.

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