Delve Deeper

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Online Viewing - The Shadow Out of Time


Here at Unfilmable.com we are always scouring the web for new and interesting films, short films and videos. If you haven't yet seen this, it is well worth a look. Put together with great care, this productions shows what can be accomplished with a little budget and a lot of time.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Meanwhile...elsewhere

Rick Lai at the Lovecraft eZine has put together one of the best writeups on the Dark Shadows "Leviathans" storyline that we've ever read. Be warned, this is a pretty in-depth look, and isn't something to casually glance over. At a touch over 14 pages of text, this covers all of the storyline, including the appearance of the Leviathans in the licensed storytelling of Big Finish productions.

Trust us, you REALLY don't want to miss this.

The Collinsport Horror: Dark Shadows and the Cthulhu Mythos

Shameless Plug!

Unfilmable.com founder Craig Mullins has been away. He's been hard at work on a number of writing projects. Well, the next of those project's will be released in January, from Strange House Books.


"Here's the cover for our first release of 2014, Craig Mullins and Drew Von Dred Ozkenel's Re-Animated States of America! With Cover art by Drew Von Dred and Jesse Reid Wheeler, edited by Sean Ferrari! Available January 6th from StrangeHouseBooks.com!"

Friday, December 6, 2013

Announced: The Dreamlands (Die Traumlande)


Having won multiple awards for his first foray into Lovecraft Country, The Color Out of Space (Die Farbe) Writer/Director Huan Vu once again channels the gentleman from Providence with his new film project, the Dreamlands (Die Traumlande). Attempting to make the first ever, feature-length, film focusing on Lovecraft's Dreamlands.  

The film is to center around Roland, an orphaned boy with a troubled past who finds himself led into another world by a mysterious old man. That world is one that has been created by the great dreamers of mankind in their sleep during the preceding thousands of years.  There the old man rules as a king and he wants to educate Roland to be his successor. But Roland is unable to overcome the dark shadow that weighs on him, and he must decide whether he wants to use his abilities to further expand the Dreamlands, or to destroy what others have built.

Having first come to fan prominence after the internet leak of his first project, Damnatus, Mr. Vu's first commercially available film took the Lovecraft community by storm and created a great deal of blood. For his latest project, he once again teams up with producer  Jan Roth and Director of Photography Martin Vincent Kolbert in an effort to recapture the mythos-magic of Die Farbe.
We had a chance to catch up with Mr. Vu and ask him a few questions about the forthcoming production.

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Unfilmable: Because you were born in Vietnam, and grew up in a divided Germany, you have said that "borders and limits have always been something to be probed, pushed and contested." With those feelings in mind, do you think that your background might give you a special view and insight into Lovecraft's Dream Cycle?

Huan Vu: Hmm, don't know if I can answer that question... you know it's just a "story", has to be read as tongue in cheek I don't think my background does really give me a special view on Lovecraft's writings I'm just a guy who obviously loves to seek out great challenges, wherever that came from, I don't know.

Unfilmable: This film reunited you with producer Jan Roth and Director of Photography Martin Vincent Kolbert. Obviously, having worked with them before, your existing relationships can certainly give you a head start. How much of an advantage is it that the three of you last worked on another Lovecraft film?

Huan Vu: It was really important for me to team up with large parts of the former Farbe crew again, it just makes sense And since "Die Farbe" received much praise for its beautiful and special cinematography it was out of question not to ask Martin if he would be interested. I have to admit though that he was a bit reluctant in the beginning, since he's not that much into fantasy films, but when he had read my first treatment he could see, that this won't be a sword & sorcerer type of film.

Unfilmable: The plan is to shoot this film in varied locations such as Iceland, Croatia, Turkey with an English-speaking cast. Do you feel that this is going to create any special challenges for the production?

Huan Vu: Those locations are possible destinations, we have seen other film productions like "Game of Thrones" going there to get special landscape shots and so we're considering to spread out and look for suiting locations for our story as well. Iceland has wonderful ash deserts and volcanos, in Croatia you get rocky beaches, in Turkey there are many ruins of Roman, Greek and Byzantine times. It would be awesome to be able to go out and capture those real environments. 

It certainly will be a new challenge for us, since we haven't yet shot anything on a larger scale outside of Germany. But I think with thorough preparation it will be manageable. And we're not planning to go there for months and shooting lots of scenes with lots of actors - just a couple with a small cast and crew.

Unfilmable: If budget and technical constraints were no obstacle, what story would you most like to bring to the screen? What is the "dream project" from the writer of the Dreamlands?

Huan Vu: Perhaps you already know that my first feature film was a Warhammer 40,000 fan film ("DAMNATUS")? - I would really love to go back to that universe and tell a huge sci-fi epic with vast space battles, giant daemons and Gothic cityscapes.

Unfilmable: As a Lovecraft fan, who is your preferred cult-film star? Mark Kinsey Stevenson as "Randolph Carter" or Jeffrey Combs as "Herbert West"?

Huan Vu: Oh, that's a question for co-producer Jan Roth, I think he has watched anything that has "Lovecraft" written on the cover. I know that both films are cult classics, but I still haven't found time to watch them.

<after checking with Jan Roth> 'definitely Jeffrey Combs'.

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To fund this ambitious project, Mr. Vu is reaching out to Lovecraft fans with a crowd-funding effort that is scheduled to begin in March of 2014.

More information about the project, as it becomes available, can be found at the film's website http://www.the-dreamlands.com/

Check out this special teaser from the production blog at http://www.the-dreamlands.com/the-awakening/

video


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Review - Beyond Re-Animator (2003) R


Thirteen years had passed since Bride of Re-Animator. Enough time for people to forgive how bad that movie was, and long enough for them to long for the return of Jeffery Combs in his signature role. In many ways, it was worth the wait.

The opening minutes prior to the credits could almost stand alone as a short, showing how other people were affected by the events in "Bride of Re-Animator". Dark and nicely done, it sets up the rest of the movie nicely for now Dr. West is behind bars.

As the film progresses the largest disappointment is the absence of Bruce Abbott as Dan Cain. The only mention of the character is when Dr. West tells his new partner that, "My last partner turned state's evidence against me." I'm not alone in missing Bruce Abbott's presence in the movie and I certainly hope that Dan Cain returns if there is indeed a fourth installment of the series.

Still, the movie actually succeeds at being rather creepy at times. A wonderfully over the top performance by Simón Andreu as the Warden carries on the tradition of the late David Gale's character, Doctor Carl Hill. The Warden carries with him a dark air of S&M/D&S that is disturbing on several levels. While this is a much more minor role that Dr. Hill, it seems a bit more realistic and less cartoonish (for the most part - by the end all bets are off).

The story itself does continue the progression of Dr. West's work fairly well and introduces us to a new substance, a bio-electric plasma that may very well be the soul (though West would never admit as much). Based on the old wives tale of the body losing weight at death, this energy allows for some interesting behavioral imprinting towards the end of the movie and also provides for the film's newest Re-Animation effect, the shimmering yellow energy that is used in conjunction with the now famous re-agent.

Of course, some portions of the movie are so cliché that you can see them coming from a mile away. This is a Re-Animator movie and so there must be loads of zombies, there are. The villain must be among the zombies, he is. This is a "Prison" movie and so there must be a riot, there is. Certainly, parts of the movie are weak. Not only is this a Re-Animator movie, but it is a Re-Animator prison movie. Yet despite a fairly weak script, the movie is well paced and fun ("Fun" being the operative word here, because this isn't a "good" movie).

That is really the key to the Re-Animator series, even among many Lovecraft purists, the dirty little secret, and the guilty pleasure that is Jeffery Combs as Herbert West. With a cult following that nearly rivals Bruce Campbell's "Ash" (though a bit more sane) Comb's Dr. West has carried the series and, if more films are made, will continue to carry them.

There are a few moments that were wholly unnecessary, including the kung-fu battle between a re-animated rat and a re-animated penis that runs during the credits. This really didn't need to be done...really. Actually, all of the unnecessary scenes are, as one would expect from Yuzna, sexually inclined. The Warden’s severed penis and the chewing of Nurse Vanessa’s breast just point to the adolescent humor that plagued Bride of Re-Animator. Fortunately, this time there is far less and the film survives despite this.

Overall, the movie is worth watching. Still I'm disappointed (again) with the extras on the DVD. There are only two extras. The first is a music video for a dance song called "Move Your Dead Bones" which, while interesting, is not a song that even appears in the movie.

Secondly there is a making of special that is mostly in Spanish. Still, it gives a bit of insight into Yuzna's thinking, which makes it interesting. That's it though, no other extras. In a time when extras are the driving force of a DVD, to find that a newly released film has so little is just plain disappointing.
Review © Bob Brinkman 2005

Review - The Unnamable II:The Statement of Randolph Carter (1993) R



Filmed during the Lovecraft renaissance of the early 90's and set immediately following the first Unnamable film, the Unnamable II does manage to incorporate portions of the "Statement of Randolph Carter" into its storyline. Unlike other, more mainstream, productions, this movie doesn't rely on blood and gore. While it does have its share of gore, is doesn't go over the top the way the Re-Animator series does. Instead it relies on story to drive it along.

The idea is simple, after separating the Demon from its host Randolph Carter must try to destroy the demon. It is that very simplicity that gives this movie some of its charm. The movie relies on its locations and characters to tell a fast paced, if simple, story. Indeed, one could almost imagine the scenario playing out this way very easily and the majority of the film has a very realistic flow.

The casting for the movie is rather interesting. In a time before Lovecraft porn began to appear, adult movie star Julie Strain put on the costume of the creature for this movie. Interestingly enough, this may be the first movie where she didn't bare all for the cameras. Another interesting bit of casting is John Rhys-Davies as Professor Warren.

Now, I have said that Jeffrey Combs as "Herbert West" is the guilty pleasure of Lovecraft cinema. If this is true then Mark Kinsey Stephenson as Randolph Carter is Lovecraft cinema's hidden gem. Stephenson's Carter is witty, charming and fun. He also is quite adept at pointing out the obvious that most people would like to overlook.

Howard - Do we have to do this at night?
Carter - Do you really think it would be any safer in the daytime?

Word is that a third installment of this series is to begin shooting summer 2005, twelve years after the release of this movie. I can only hope that Stephenson returns in the title role, the character won't be the same without him.

Of course, the DVD release of this movie hits on my biggest pet peeve, not a single bonus feature. No director commentary, no preview trailer or even a stills gallery. Equally disturbing is the fact that while the Unnamable II is available on DVD, the original film the Unnamable isn't. Hopefully someone will fix this eventually as I would love to have both in my collection of DVDs. I think that not releasing them together as a two disc set was a missed opportunity. Of course, in the UK there is exactly what I would want, a pack with both movies, loaded with extras, for £16.99. Hopefully Lions Gate films will get the hint.



Review © Bob Brinkman 2005



That is not dead, which can eternal lie

Things have been quiet around here for the last five months, perhaps it is time to explain why.

Craig Mullins, the founder of Unfilmable.com stepped down from the site to focus on other projects. His writing has recently appeared in the anthologies Strange-Versus-Lovecraft and Strange Sex. He continues writing and has quite a bit more in the pipe as it were.

Lady Lovecraft stepped in during the initial interim. I think we were all hoping that Craig would return to the site, and there was a general sense of disbelief that he was truly leaving. Six months ago, Lady Lovecraft went silent. She too is busy working on a number of things, and she keeps up an active social media presence.

July 10th, the site went quiet. Since that time, the original domain of Unfilmable.com has expired and this blog became a little harder to find. But tonight, it stirs in its sleep and begins to awaken.

Unfilmable has always been THE place to go to learn about Lovecraftian cinema projects and we're starting to get that back n track. We have some announcements coming in the next few weeks that are really interesting and we plan on reclaiming our throne.

For now, we'll start with reposting some reviews from the original site, content thought lost to time which, like ourselves is just no beginning to resurface.