In Which Cthulhu Kicks Cloverfield's Ass Without Ever Showing Its Face

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All this talk of the Cloverfield monster has made you forget the original monster from the sea — the monster whose aspect imparts such eldrich horror that to look upon it is to GO INSANE. Luckily some have kept the true faith, and in 2005 released one of the greatest monster movies in the past decade: The Call of Cthulhu, a pitch-perfect recreation of H.P. Lovecraft's original short story, complete with the melodramatic fear-awe. The best part? It's a silent film.

Call of Cthulhu emulates movies from the period when Lovecraft invented the monster whose tentacled, alien power has haunted pop culture for nearly a century. Don't worry — there are no spoilers in this clip. You'll see a group of unlucky sailors who happen upon Cthulhu's scary city, just risen from the depths of the ocean during a storm. The men are terrified by its non-Euclidean geometries and shocking statues. You'll have to watch the movie if you want to see what these inventive filmmakers did to create their Cthulhu.

What's great about this short film, which is available on DVD, is that it manages to hover between devoted homage to Lovecraft, and slightly campy tweak on the original. It would be hard to recreate any Cthulhu story without some acknowledgment of its purple-prosey, over-the-top-ness. And these actors, in their 1920s pancake makeup, manage to convey that with their intense ironic-seriousness.


I thought Cloverfield was actually a great monster movie, but Call of Cthulhu has it beat for sheer originality and verve.