The Last Lovecraft – Indie Cthulhu Comedy
I happened across this whilst trawling through the DVDs in a pound shop on the off chance there might be something interesting lurking behind all the cartoon-a-like Disney knock-offs and the public-domain footage documentaries. And indeed there was – The Last Lovecraft, or The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu to give it it’s needlessly long full title.
Our hero Jeff is basically a standard-issue indie movie protagonist, in that he’s an ineffectual twenty-something working in a dead-end job alongside flatmate and prospective comic-book artist Charlie. Except that one day a weird old professor turns up with the news that he’s the last remaining descendent of H P Lovecraft1, gives him an ancient relic and tells him that the fate of humanity is in his hands. Because it turns out that Lovecraft’s influential cosmic horror stories were actually drawn from his real experiences battling the lurking horrors that threaten humanity.2. Before they can ask any questions a bunch of cultists and monsters arrive, so whilst the professor holds off the bad guys Jeff and Charlie scarper. For an older guy in academia the professor turns out to be pretty handy with the old harpoon-and-hammer, in the ‘shot of man swinging weapon, cut to shot of other man getting hit’ style beloved of films that can’t afford many stuntmen. With no idea what they’re doing they decide to find their old schoolfriend Paul3, a huge Lovecraft fan and general geek, the kind of person who’s clearly been waiting his whole life for something like this to happen. The three of them set off on their quest, persued by cultists, Deep Ones and Cthulhu’s chief satrap, Starspawn.
There isn’t really much plot, the three heroes have to keep the relic safe, they get pursued by crazy people and monsters, at the end there’s a showdown around a caravan. It’s definitely more of a comedy than a horror, although there aren’t really that many ‘jokes’ as such; most of the humour revolves around the general banter between the three main characters and how absurdly out of place they are in a cosmic horror/adventure story. That said, the effects are surprisingly good for what I assume was a low budget; some rather good monster prosthetics combined with CGI that’s at least adequate. I’ve seen far worse in straight action or horror films, so for what’s primarily a comedy it’s impressive. There’s also an animated sequence showing Great Cthulhu’s arrival on Earth and his war against the Elder Things, which I wasn’t expecting.
I suspect that how much you enjoy this film will depend greatly on two factors; (i) whether or nor you’re a fan of Lovecraftiana in general, and (ii) your tolerance for indie/slacker comedy movies. As someone who scores highly on both points, I rather enjoyed it. Probably the best comparison is to a Call of Cthulhu game where everyone’s just kind of messing around and making silly jokes.
1 A man who, as the film helpfully points out, was an only child who died without an heir.
2 Variations on this idea are fairly common – my favourite being Necronauts, a story in 2000AD that featured H P Lovecraft, Harry Houdini, Charles Fort and Arthur Conan Doyle as a sort of early 20th century weird-fiction/fringe-science Avengers.
3 In my opinion the film shows commendable restraint in not making the obvious joke.