Great filmic adaptations of the works of H.P. Lovecraft are pretty few and far between, surprisingly. While there are some very good independent productions out there, the only major works you’ve heard of are from Stuart Gordon or Brian Yuzna. Richard Stanley seeks to change that. The maverick cult filmmaker broke his 23-year narrative feature exile with Color Out of Space, a movie at once faithful to and in argument with Lovecraft’s dark sci-fi novella “The Colour Out of Space.” Stanley isn’t content with a one-and-done, either; in an interview about Color, the director told Nerdist his plans for two more Lovecraft movies. The first of these is The Dunwich Horror.
Written in 1928 and published a year later, The Dunwich Horror is one of Lovecraft’s most cinematic stories. It tells of the strange Whateley family in Dunwich, a rural berg outside of Arkham, MA. Old Whateley, the patriarch, forced his daughter Lavinia to commune with the Outer God Yog-Sothoth, producing two offspring. The first, Wilbur, grows to adulthood startlingly fast, reaching manhood within five years. Described as tall and goatish, Wilbur attempts to steal the fabled Necronomicon from Miskatonic University. Lavinia also has a second son, said to “take after his father,” and which becomes the titular “Dunwich Horror.”
Stanley is nevertheless optimistic about where the xenophobic author might have gone had he not died at the age of 47. “I’d like to believe,” the director shared, “that if Lovecraft had lived longer, he might have mellowed his views a little. Because I think I can detect a softening of his style in his latter stories. Like, his last completed story, The Shadow Out of Time, doesn’t even feel like a horror story anymore. He seems to be crossing the line into some kind of psychedelic sci-fi fantasy, which is stepping away from the stark horror and hideousness of the early tales. I often wonder what would have happened if he’d lived another 20 years. And whether he would have come to terms with some of the things that he found so shocking and blasphemous as a young man.”
If The Dunwich Horror mixes humor and heart with the ghastly and dreadful the way Color Out of Space does, it’ll be another rousing success.
Color Out of Space hits theaters and home entertainment on January 24. The Dunwich Horror will start production soon, and a third, as-yet-unnamed film in Stanley’s Lovecraft trilogy will come after that. The filmmaker ended our interview with a tantalizing promise. “Keep watching the space.”
Featured Image: American International Pictures