H.P. Lovecraft, a pioneer of science and horror fiction, not only influenced generations of authors but inspired hordes of filmmakers as well. And it is these films which Lurker in the Lobby focuses on, indexing and chronicling their stories (in front of the camera and off) and general worth to the Lovecraft fan. The book begins with the HPL quote, "I shall never permit anything bearing my signature to be banalised and vulgarised into the flat infantile twaddle which passes for 'horror tales' amongst radio and cinema audiences!" His warning is actually quite apropos as most of these films hardly live up to the maddening horror described in his works. Some of the movies therein are direct (and indirect) adaptations while others only contain certain reoccurring Lovecraft themes.
The authors do a good job of pinpointing a variety of Lovecraftian cinema including stronger representations such as The Dunwich Horror (1970), In the Mouth of Madness (1995) and Re-Animator (1985) to the lesser known yet respectable Call of Cthulhu (2005), The Resurrected (1992) and The Shunned House (2003) to the "flat infantile twaddle" Lovecraft prophecised with Die Monster Die (1965), The Shuttered Room (1967), and Beyond the Wall of Sleep (2004). Though I warn the potential reader, the films' plots are entirely synopsized, so beware of spoilers throughout the book. After the Features is the Television section which documents episodes from such series as Masters of Horror, Monsters and Night Gallery to even Digimon and The Real Ghostbusters.
The Gallery section exhibits a range of pre-production sketches from an array of made and (mostly) unmade features to poster art and production stills. The artwork is truly grotesque in its beautiful depictions of Lovecraft's menagerie of creatures, curiosities and gods. The Interviews to some will be the most fascinating section as the authors converse with such directors as Guillermo del Toro, John Carpenter, Roger Corman, and Stuart Gordon among other artists willing to discuss behind-the-scenes tidbits and their adoration for HPL.
After finishing the book I found myself delving deeper into Lovecraft's literature and indulging in the films mentioned in this collection, even searching out some of the lesser known ones, having a great time understanding and studying the influence that is H.P. Lovecraft. Lurker in the Lobby: A Guide to the Cinema of H.P. Lovecraft is a well organized reference for the followers of Lovecraft who wish to learn more about their preferred film adaptations and perhaps shed new light on a few forgotten gems.
4 concluding conflagrations out of 5
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