Short story by Michael Thomas-Knight published in Kaiju: Lords of the Earth

Kaiju Lords of the Earth - web

Kaiju: Lords of the Earth

My story, Unleashed in the East, has been chosen for inclusion to the collection of giant monster stories by JEA Press, Kaiju: Lords of the Earth

I’ve been a long time fan of Kaiju movies and specifically Toho films, the father of Asian giant monster cinema. I see these films as more than just giant monsters run amuck. I feel a correct Kaiju film has an overtone of sadness to it, often reflected in the powerful yet melancholy music by Akira Ifukube. There is always a cause and effect reason for the monsters appearance, a great foible of man that has awakened something uncontrollable. The giant monster is an overbearing punishment that mankind must endure for his wrongful treatment of nature and mother earth. There is usually a sense of duty and honor in a proper Kaiju story. A choice will be made by the story’s main character(s); a sad sacrifice to salvage the fate of his fellow man.

These are the aspects I have tried to capture in my story, Unleashed in the East. As it often happens, my story stemmed from a current event news item, a real event that I wrestled, wrangled and mangled onto a fictional tale. I’ve also managed to flavor the story with an H.P. Lovecraft style cosmic creature rather than the usual radioactive giants of early Kaiju films.

Available for Kindle and Paperback:

Kaiju: Lords of the Earth

16 Kaiju Monster stories by authors: John Ledger, Stephen Blake, Michael Noe, Peyton Pratt, Alice J. Black, R.T. Sirk, Essel Pratt, Vyvecca Danae Pratt, Amanda M. Lyons, Brian Barr, Kevin Candela, Dona Fox, E. Doyle-Gillespie, Roy C. Booth, T.S. Woolard, and Michael Thomas-Knight

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The Call of Cthulhu (2005) – Movie review

The Call of Cthulhu pic 14

The Call of Cthulhu (2005)

HPLHS Films

H.P. Lovecraft is considered by many to be the father of 20th century horror. His writing has influenced many horror fiction authors and his books and collections continue to sell to new generations of horror fans looking for the thrill of terror. However, by Hollywood’s standards most of Lovecraft’s works are considered un-filmable; partly because of the grandiose descriptions of ancient cities and cultures, partly because most of his stories are told with multiple flashbacks, and partly because much of his The Call of Cthulhu pic 8stories are the contemplation of ideas and concepts thought about by the main characters. Most Lovecraft stories adapted for film are re-written, quite often completely, leaving only the title, character names and most basic concepts in their wake.

Back in 2005, the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society decided to focus on the most faithful adaptation of a Lovecraft story attempted to date. Sean Branney and Andrew Leman set their course unto a world unknown (much like Lovecraft’s characters themselves) and produced an extremely interesting project in “The Call Of Cthulhu”. With Branney adapting the screenplay andThe Call of Cthulhu movie Leman directing, what was birthed is a very ambitious project by a devoted and determined crew.

The Call Of Cthulhu is a period piece set in the time in which Lovecraft wrote the story, 1926. For an interesting decision, Branney and Leman set out to shoot the film mirroring a motion picture that would be filmed in the 1920’s – that being a black & white, silent movie. To stay within their limited budget they employed a multitude of ingenious and creative techniques to tell the story of Cthulhu and the ancient city of R’lyeh and in my opinion they did so with stunning success.

If you have an appreciation for black & white image, Cthulhu is a silver screen gem of chromatic artistry and beauty. The grainy, old style film seems to add a convincing realism to the story. They follow the account of a man entrusted to care for his uncle’s possessions which include a case file on the Cult of Cthulhu, for which the nephew is advised to destroy. Intrigued, the nephew delves into the file which takes him around the world exploring strange and ghastly phenomenon that coincide with the alignment of a chain of heavenly bodies. The alignment of these stars will signal the rebirth of an ancient culture and the return of The Old Ones lead by the monstrous god, Cthulhu. The final investigative file recounts The Call of Cthulhu pic 9the fatal voyage of the crew and sea vessel, Alert. This segment of the film reminds me of my favorite black & white adventure epic, King Kong. Cthulhu likewise is an epic adventure and feels big as it ventures to the four corners of the world to discover the hidden secrets of the ancients.

It is quite interesting to watch the special features because you gain a real appreciation for the ingenuity and resourcefulness put forth to complete this epic adventure. The composite scenes are wonderfully crafted and the swamp set is impressive. Bringing the sea vessel, Alert, to life was a vast undertaking and it is quite interesting to see the techniques engaged to achieve the task successfully. The whole crew was phenomenal, from the set designs to the wardrobe and make-up. The music was crafted perfectly for a silent movie, a symphonic masterpiece in of itself. The cast fully delved into the 1920’s silent era of acting which employ quite different techniques than today. Matt Foyer is exceptional as ‘The Man’ discovering his uncle’s obsession and slowly getting absorbed by the case file his uncle had warned him about. Noah Wagner is also notable as Captain Collins, as he leads his crew to inevitable doom at the hands of the monster. And of course Cthulhu is represented by stop-motion animation similar to perhaps the early silent work of Willis O’Brien.

The Call Of Cthulhu may not be a film for the casual horror fan. You may have to have an appreciation for black & white film and nostalgia to enjoy it. If you are a H.P. Lovecraft enthusiast you would definitely want to check this film out. I enjoyed it very much because of both of these aspects.

review of The Whisperer in Darkness (2011) HPLHS Films

reviews of Lovecraft movies: Lovecraft in Film

(review was originally posted on Mantaray Pictures.com)

 

Cthulhurotica – book review

Cthulhurotica – edited by Carrie Cuinn
Dagan Books

They say seafood is an aphrodisiac. What if the potential seafood is at least as big as you are, often bigger, and even more often, considered to be an ancient God? Cthulhurotica is an anthology that explores some of the possibilities of love and lust intertwined with the Cthulhu Mythos. We have some potent tales within these pages; ‘Descent of the Wayward Sister’ by Gabrielle Harbowy leads us to a dark basement with an erotic secret. ‘The Assistant from Innsmouth’ by Steven James Scearce, shows us an accountant who hires local help on a project but soon doesn’t know who is assisting who. ‘Infernal Attractions’ by Cody Goodfellow unveils shades of From Beyond as a young woman forces her man to build a Tillinghast Resonator, in order to quench her demanding addictions.

Despite these transgressions, this collection does not portray a far-fetched world of monsters and sex. It relays a world that is very much like it is today with a bit of Cthulhu around the edges of its reality. It is more like an aphrodisiac than the main event and never gets too harsh. So if you are expecting caustic aggressions that would shock as much as they would arouse, this is probably not the anthology you have in mind.

Cthulhurotica made for some enjoyable reading and entertained in its melding of seemingly incompatible worlds. My only concern is that perhaps this is the first step to Twilight-izing the Cthulhu Mythos – to turn the silver-gray and dismal dark shades of alien beasts to lavender and fuchsia, turn the rotting stench of decaying sea-life to a supine fragrance, and turn the slimy, scaly textures of monstrous hide to a subtle oiled leather – creating a more acceptable world for the non-horror reader. The Lovecraft world is an exclusionary one. The people that love it have an instant bond in their knowledge of strange secrets that no others could fathom. The last thing I want is a Lovecraft film staring Robert Pattinson and a bunch of tweens discussing the merits of The Great Old Ones. Did you know that Nyarlathotep’s skin shimmers in daylight?