I'm somewhat at a loss here. From the glowing reviews of this DVD I'd read on Netflix I had expected something better--or at least something half way decent. What I got was a confused, jumbled, mess of a story that looked as though it had been made for television. Worse yet it seemed to assume that I was familiar with the back-story and so I was plopped down in the middle of all this with nothing to go on. It seemed as if it were part of an on going series. At first it appeared as if it would be about ritual sacrifices that were taking place in order to bring back the great god Cthulhu, but then it switched tracks and decided that it was going to be about an organization that had been formed to oppose the Cthulhu cults and then it changed its mind yet again to tell (in flashback!) the story of a psychiatrist's encounter with an ancient Cthulhu worshipper during the Falkland Islands War! Thank God it was a short film or it might have become REALLY confusing!
There were several other short films included on the DVD that varied in quality, half of which suffered from the usual problems film makers encounter when they try to update Lovecraft. THE TERRIBLE OLD MAN is a terrible failure and the less said about it the better. EXPERIMENT 16 and EXPERIMENT 17 (or was it 17 and 18?) fared better if only because they were shorter. They dealt with Nazi experiments with the Necronomicon. The most successful was FROM BEYOND which began with a voice-over telling of the protagonist's history with Crawford Tillingast in very Lovecraftian language. But those brief bright spots don't really justify recommending this to anyone other than devout Lovecraft fans.
Do not mistake DREAMS OF CTHULHU for THE CALL OF CTHULHU which was produced by the H.P.Lovecraft Historical Society. This DVD is as different from that one as night is from day. Although both fall into the realm of independent armature productions with extremely low budgets the comparisons stop there. CALL OF CTHULHU is extremely well thought out, has excellent production values, and surprisingly good actors in all of the major parts. This film has absolutely none of those virtues. CALL OF CTHULHU is a silent film shot in black and white to resemble a film a film which might have been made during Lovecraft's lifetime, DREAMS OF CUTHULHU is in washed out color for the most part although a couple of the short films are in black and white. CALL OF CUTHULHU is an enormously entertaining film that most genre fans will enjoy. It featured wonderful stop-motion animation and mind-bending sets. DREAMS OF CTHULHU is for the greatest part bereft of creativity and is recommend for Lovecraft completists only.
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