Cthulhu calls at Cinequest

*The Call of Cthulhu
Even The Yemenite—we don’t pronounce the Mad Arab’s proper name around here, because you never know who or what is listening—might have shuddered at Andrew Leman’s loving and ambitious 45-minute pastiche of German Expressionism. Using vintage costuming, black-and-white photography, make-up, miniatures, music and stop-motion animation, the director and Lovecraft cultist shows us what would happen if, say, Paul Leni had directed a story of the worst of the slumbering Old Gods. (At the very least, you could call it the ancient prequel to Cloverfield.) A doctor examines the strange occurrences of March 1925, a time of mass delusions, nightmares, earthquakes and cult activity from the Theosophists to (italics mine, San Joseans) the brotherhood of the Rosy Cross. All are indicators of the stirring of a lurking horror, whose devotees range from Greenland’s icy mountains to the swamps of Louisiana. Leman doesn’t feel that there’s anything quaint or primitive about silent film. Thus, the medium repays him with genuine scariness: a line like “At night I dreamt of a Cyclopean city …” looks ever so much better highlighted on a title card, than it would if it were said aloud. This recommended film has been knocking around the film festival circuit, and finally arrives here for a couple of special screenings at Cinequest, today, Tuesday March 4, at 4:45pm, and on March 8 at 12:30pm. Be sure to have a look at cthulhulives.org, an absolutely Chris Ware-worthy selection of arcane typefaces and Miskatonic U. wear. Seriously, though, it never fails to amuse me how seriously people take this balderdash about ancient gods. Really, it’s about time someone put paid to this supersti…ack! gag!
(RvB, RIP).

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