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Come for the Lovecraft, Stay for the Madness

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By Chris Kavan - 07/29/10 at 11:04 AM CT

Despite writing relatively little, H.P. Lovecraft managed to craft an entire world of his own imagining - one that has spawned lots of fan fiction from some big names, lots of imitators and some good (and bad) adaptations. With the announcement that Guillermo del Toro and James Cameron are teaming up to take on The Mountains of Madness, I present my favorite films inspired by a true master of horror.

1) In the Mouth of Madness: Sam Neill at his most unhinged, searching for an author whose books are making people go insane. He ends up in a town that shouldn't exist and when he finds what he's looking for, he'll really wish he hadn't. While this isn't a direct adaptation - the allusion to all things Lovecraft is apparent - Sutter Cane is based off the author - Hobb's End could easily be any number of Lovecraft quaint New England towns that hides a deadly secret. The elder gods would be proud.

2) Re-Animator: Based (loosely) on the Lovecraft story Herbert West - Re-animator, Stuart Gordon directs this humorous / horrific tale of a med student who has found a way to reanimate dead tissue. This takes a more tongue-in-cheek approach, but it really doesn't bother me too much. It's a fun 80s romp that any fan of horror would appreciate and despite the many liberties, Lovecraft fans should get it too.

3) Dagon: Stuart Gordon makes another appearance - the man has a thing for Lovecraft. Although this is more direct-to-video than feature, it's still a decent adaptation. Although it borrows more from The Shadow Over Innsmouth than Dagon, it is pretty creepy, at least you'll swear off seafood for awhile.

4) Crouch End: Remember how I said that there was a lot of Lovecraft fan fiction? Stephen King did his own version of Lovecraft with this story. Although not a full feature, Crouch End was part of the Nightmares and Dreamscapes mini-series and one of the better stories featured.

5) Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, Army of Darkness: Okay, so this is cheating a little as really the only tenuous connection to Lovecraft is in the Necronomicon that makes an appearance in each story. The book of the dead plays a big part in many of Lovecraft stories, so Sam Raimi was right to make it part of another horror franchise.

Lovecraft is by far one my favorite authors - it's not easy to create an entire world based around strange gods and towns - one that seems like it could exist on the fringes of reality - one that lasts well beyond the author itself.

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