With all due respect to Call of Cthulhu and The Dunwich Horror, Whisperer is my favourite Lovecraft story. This is an actual movie of it made by the H.P.Lovecraft Historical Society and you need to go buy it now instead of reading this.

hey cool
Mythoscope perfection
but YUCK
I don't not like anything about this movie

When asked what's my favourite horror movie (I think it happened twice) my knee jerk reaction was always the Vincent Price tour de force Theatre of Blood, but I'm not so sure anymore shipmates.

There are very few things in this world that I truly love. Even my favourite things usually disappoint me in one way or another, and that makes it all the more amazing when something doesn't. I love this movie. But I don't just love it as a movie; I love it in a personal sense. I love it as a thing in the world, I love the physical DVD in my house, I love the people who made it, I love its presence in my consciousness. It's one of those rare works of art that have actually made my life permanently better by its existence.

Whenever I rewatch the movie I'm briefly surprised to remember that it's black and white. The movie actually feels more colourful in greyscale than it would have been in real colour - that's how effective the HPLHS's Mythoscope process is. They describe it as "a mix of modern and vintage techniques" and while I don't understand it completely the use of matte paintings, miniatures and stop motion combine perfectly with digital manipulation to create what the mind's eye sees when we read a Lovecraft story.

And of course we see and feel not only what the words say, but what they suggest. What Lovecraft gave us was more than stories. He was a good but not great writer, and had he written stories of ghosts and witches they'd likely be long forgotten. But he imagined a weird new colour of horror, like a colour out of space. It's the shuddering vastness of the night sky and the roll of deep dark seas - and the things that come out of them where the hills rise wild.

I could compliment the usual movie stuff like great actors, dialogue, direction, cinematography, all of which it has, but it's how endemic it is to the genre we now call "Lovecraftian" that sets it shoulders above any other movie trying to cash in on that label. I will say of the performers though that in this area Whisperer actually improves on Lovecraft. His protagonists aren't exactly known for having any personality whatsoever, but the characters in the movie are just delightful, if that's not too quaint a way to put it.

Some might call the whole movie quaint, and I guess it is, but not in a trivial way. It's shooting for a different bullseye than something like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, although it could certainly give a kid nightmares. For me this is like reading a musty old Arkham House edition while sipping aged brandy and smoking fine tobacco, on a dark and stormy night of course. This is the very pinnacle, or should I say depth of horror vibe.

Unlike their production of Call of Cthulhu the HPLHS have taken major liberties with the story. When I first saw the biplane parked in a barn I said to myself "please don't do an action dogfight sequence with the Mi-Go", and of course there's an action dogfight sequence with the Mi-Go. I didn't hate it though and it made the movie seem more like something from the 30s. The Lovecraft story is mostly just an exchange of letters and people talking, so if you don't add something it might as well be a radio play (which the HPLHS also do and by all means listen to them). The final scene was darker than Lovecraft's anyway, so all's well that ends horribly.

If on the zero percent chance any of the HPLHS ever read my notice here I want to say thank you for this, and if in the even more unlikely event I become wealthy I'll throw money at you until you do At the Mountains of Madness in Mythoscope.