The Best HP Lovecraft Movie Adaptations, Ranked

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Howard Phillips Lovecraft, otherwise known as HP Lovecraft, is arguably one of the most influential writers in American history to date. Focusing on works largely related to science, fantasy, and horror fiction, his very distinct writing is still transforming modern music, movies, video games, and novels decades later. Two of Lovecraft’s main influences were Lord Dunsany, an Irish author of fantasy tales, in addition to the beloved works of Edgar Allan Poe.

A fun fact about Lovecraft is that he began his writing career as a journalist, joining the United Amateur Press Association in 1914. A year later he established his own publication, The conservative, where he wrote several essays and various articles for the magazine. Around the same time, Lovecraft had begun producing under-the-radar fictional plays, but it was not until 1917 that he became more serious about his stories.

In 1923, the horror magazine strange tales had purchased some of Lovecraft’s fiction, propelling him into mainstream notoriety. Shortly after his two-year marriage to Sonia Greene ended, Lovecraft returned to Rhode Island where he began working on what are now considered his best stories. Call of Cthulhu was published by strange tales in 1928, and is considered his most recognizable portrayal of an ethereal form of terror that many now call “cosmic horror”. The Cthulhu character has been in everything from countless video games like the witcher even episodes of South Park.

Lovecraft introduced the world to supernatural beings that would wreak havoc on humanity, combined with a unique darkness and cosmic pessimism, creating an organic formula that sparked both fear and deep interest in those who had the courage to fully immerse yourself in his world. Lovecraft once said that his “tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and emotions have no validity or meaning in the cosmos at large”, according to American heritage magazine. Let’s take a closer look at the best on-screen HP Lovecraft movie adaptations.

6 The Risen One

Talk about not knowing your spouse. In The Risen One, Claire Ward (Jane Sibbett) becomes increasingly suspicious when her husband Charles Dexter Ward (Chris Sarandon) begins receiving packages that appear to be human remains. After Claire contacts a private detective in order to find out what her husband is up to, the family’s secluded cabin becomes the key to a series of experiments in which Charles takes part, posing as a wizard who works to bring back the dead.

Related: Ron Howard Talks His New Movie HP Lovecraft

5 The Whisperer in the Darkness

Adapted from Lovecraft’s 1931 novel, The Whisperer in the Darkness follows horror and folktale researcher Professor Albert Wilmarth (Matt Foyer) as he investigates the history of strange events and creatures that surround the remote hills of Vermont. Wilmarth’s in-depth investigation reveals a gruesome truth that may be linked to the emergence of creepy, monstrous aliens in and around the abandoned farmhouse. The film was shot using a Mythoscope, mixing vintage and modern techniques to produce a replica of the stylistic elements of the 1930s.

4 The Dunwich Horror

The Dunwich Horror is perhaps Lovecraft’s best-known work, with a mythos that spans all of pop culture. Occult expert Dr. Henry Armitage (Ed Begley) travels to an old Whateley mansion in Dunwich in pursuit of Nancy Wagner (Sandra Dee), a student who mysteriously disappeared the night before. Henry and Elizabeth, one of Nancy’s friends and classmates, are quickly turned away by the family’s heir, Wilbur (Dean Stockwell). However, Henry is persistent and unravels the mystery through conversations with the locals and further investigation, revealing the evil entities associated with the mansion as well as the Whateley family.


3 Resuscitator

The 1985 American comedy horror film is loosely based on Lovecraft Herbert West – Resuscitator. In Resuscitator, directed by always Lovecraft’s best adapter, Stuart Gordon, Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) stars a young scientist who discovers a mysterious fluid that can bring dead tissue back to life. After recruiting his roommate Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) to join the project, the two young scientists dive deeper into experimentation, as reanimated corpses begin to flood the campus, putting everyone’s lives in immediate danger. It’s a hilarious, gore and crazy movie.

2 color out of space

In color out of space, Nathan Gardner (an incredible Nicolas Cage) and his family are in sudden danger when a meteorite unexpectedly lands in the front yard of their farmhouse. In close contact with a mutated alien organism that infects their minds and bodies, the battle between them and the terror that plagues their surroundings turns everyday rural life into a living nightmare.

Related: Color Out of Space Review: Savage Lovecraftian Horror That Lets Nicolas Cage Shine

As a particular fireball liquefies on planet Earth, the matter and properties of spacetime become infected with an unusual color. To their surprise, the Gardner family discovers that the alien force is gradually transforming any life forms it manages to take over. color out of space was a triumphant return for Richard Stanley, who had been absent from directing for two decades following the disaster surrounding the film’s troubled production The island of Doctor Moreau.

1 From beyond

From beyond savor the science, horror, sex and mystery so darkly present in Lovecraft’s best tales. The well-reviewed film finds Dr. Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel), an obsessed scientist, and his assistant discovering a way to access a parallel universe by tapping into the pineal gland of the brain, with the creation of the Resonator machine. After Dr. Pretorius is killed by forces from this other dimension, his assistant, Dr. Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs), is framed for the murder. Psychiatrist Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton) and Detective Bubba Brownlee (Ken Foree) both deal with the case, as the group ventures an unusual return to the world to further solve the mystery.


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