H.P. Lovecraft’s Pickman’s Model (2008)

Pickman’s Model DVD (click for larger image)Reviewed by Kryten Syxx

Starring Conor Timmis, Jesse Murphy and Derek Meinecke

Directed by Gary Fierro

H.P. Lovecraft looks to be the biggest friend of the indie filmmaker aside from the zombie. While many of us are still clamoring for big screen / big budget productions featuring The Old Ones, Lovecraft’s smaller tales of demons, ghouls and ancient evil can still be told effectively on a smaller scale. OK, maybe not all the time.

Odds are this is going to be a short review. Why? Because the fourth volume of the “>H.P. Lovecraft Collection (review) gave us four different versions of “Pickman’s Model” which were all superior in style and direction to this one. This isn’t to say there’s nothing to like about Gary Fierro’s crack at the tale of a maniac artist and his ghoulish inspirations, but after you’ve seen far better versions … it’s a bit harder to stomach one that has no budget.

Even Conor Timmis, who did a fantastic job in Creating Karloff, just seems far too over the top here as Richard Pickman. How is that even possible, especially when we’re talking about an H.P. Lovecraft story?! Well, that’s the problem with the whole production; everything is off. The lighting, mood, actors, sets, locations and total feel of this 19-minute short don’t have a Lovecraftian feel. The only area of the film that has that otherworldly feel is when we get a glance at Pickman’s artwork and even then it’s too little, too late.

Pickman’s Model (click for larger image)Since nothing was around that really stood out, I wondered where all the money went. Then the extra features started, and it was clear: All the cash must have gone to Cloverfield make-up artist Norman Bryn. He was responsible for making Mr. Timmis look like a deranged hermit and did a serviceable job. Yet, since all of Pickman’s scenes are darkly lit, the Primetime Emmy nominated artist’s work goes nearly unnoticed. Luckily the special features do contain an entire featurette dedicated to watching Bryn turn Conor Timmis into Pickman.

Speaking of special features worth watching, the commentary is bustling with information that would have been interesting if the flick was worth sitting through again. The same goes for the featurette Pick’s Model: The Documentary. Here we have another 19 minutes worth of ‘meh’ that again would have proved quite interesting if you hadn’t already seen plenty of other incarnations of Pickman’s Model.

Sigh. Well, at least the disc does come with the original story by Lovecraft that you can scroll through… but that is seriously not something to brag about as the DVD’s best feature. In any case, pick up “>H.P. Lovecraft Collection Volume 4 to get more bang for your buck. Why settle for one film when you can get several?

Special Features

  • Commentary with Conor Timmis, Justin Tacchi and Gary Fierro
  • Pickman’s Model Story
  • Creating a Villain featurette
  • Pick’s Model: The Documentary featurette
  • Trailer
  • Photo Gallery

    2 1/2 out of 5

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  • Mike Phalin

    Mike Phalin is a contributing writer, reality television star and engineer.

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