Last Lovecraft, The: Relic of Cthulhu (UK DVD) - Dread Central
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Last Lovecraft, The: Relic of Cthulhu (UK DVD)

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The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu UK DVDStarring Kyle Davis, Devin McGinn, Barak Hardley, Ethan Wilde

Directed by Henry Saine

Distributed by Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment


H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos is undoubtedly amongst the crown jewels of any horror fan’s beloved literature, and while we’ve been treated to many a serious take on the material over the years (none more notable than the works of the venerable Stuart Gordon), outright comedic filtrations have been… scarce. Not anymore, though, with the arrival of Henry Saine and Devin McGinn’s The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu.

The story is simple: A cult of Cthulhu’s followers, led by the monstrous Starspawn (Ethan Wilde), has obtained one half of a key to the underwater prison of the Elder God himself – the city of R’lyeh. The other half, held by the professors of the Miskatonic University, is entrusted to the sole living descendant of Lovecraft himself – average Joe office worker Jeff (Kyle Davis). Forced to go on the run accompanied by his geeky friend Charlie (Devin McGinn) and Lovecraft uber-nerd Paul (Barak Hardley), Jeff seeks out the legendary Captain Olaf (Gregg Lawrence), who may be able to help them defeat the Starspawn and prevent the apocalyptic awakening of Cthulhu.

It’s a good, basic story populated by entertaining characters and a through-the-roof level of Lovecraft geek love, but the execution leaves The Last Lovecraft sorely lacking. Occasionally awkward direction and frequently poor editing serve to rob many of the comedic set pieces of any effect whatsoever, relegating even the simplest of pratfalls to illicit groans rather than sniggers. McGinn’s script attempts to emulate much of the quick fire, off-kilter dialogue stylings of Kevin Smith; however, the players and visuals prove almost utterly unable to meet the all-important beats of comic timing, leaving exchanges of dialogue feeling awkward and forced and events that should be funny simply falling redundant.

When it gets it right, though, The Last Lovecraft gets it right. The laughs that hit, hit hard – for example, a sucker-faced creature attaching to a car window and Paul’s approach to combat training in the event of confronting an Old One. The highlight of the flick comes in the form of the aforementioned Captain Olaf and his frank discussion with the boys regarding the horrors of being raped by a fish. The circumstances surrounding the progeny of this mating, his half Deep One son, Gary, are just brilliantly funny. Coupled with some colourful and imaginative animated sequences (and a final shot that just almost makes it into holler-out-loud great territory), the film delivers frequent, frustrating glimpses at something far, far better than it ultimately is.

For the low budget the practical effects are quite impressive, especially the animatronic Deep Ones, though the big bad Starspawn looks like a rejected makeup test from a poor episode of “Charmed”. The less said about the digital effects, the better, though the fully CG sequences at the gates of R’lyeh are atmospheric and well presented.

Frustration is the word of the day here. A huge amount of love for the source material leaks from every scene, which makes it really difficult to dislike, but The Last Lovecraft too often falls into half-cocked attempts at sheer stupidity that only manage to avoid insulting that which it loves so much by a hair’s breadth. Coupled with comedy that misses far more than it manages to hit, it becomes very difficult to make it through the almost stagnant second act – and at a brief 78-minute runtime, that’s not good at all.

Still, it’ll be difficult to stop just about any Lovecraft fan from giving this one a go, but expectations should be kept suitably low. The inevitable belly laughs garnered from Olaf and Gary may prove enough to justify the time spent, but only just. Here’s hoping Saine and McGinn work to refine their skills in the arena of comedy on celluloid for the sequel promised in the final frames – there’s some definite promise on show here, but as a complete package it’s off the mark.

Save for some really nifty animated menus, Kaleidoscope’s UK DVD release of The Last Lovecraft is also way off the mark in comparison to the US release – having no special features whatsoever.

Film

2 out of 5

Special Features

0 out of 5

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American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review

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Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

Directed by Colin Bemis


Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

  • Strawberry Flavored Plastic
3.5

Summary

Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)

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We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View

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Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

Directed by Marcel Sarmiento


Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

  • Film
2.0

Summary

Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

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