“The most compelling proof to date that there is a way to bring H.P. Lovecraft to cinematic life... the needle on the creep-meter goes through the roof” — Paul Constant, THE STRANGER
Director: Sean Branney
Screenplay: Sean Branney, Andrew Leman, from H.P. Lovecraft
Cast: Matt Foyer, Barry Lynch, Stephen Blackehart, Matt Lagan, Andrew Leman
Producers: Sean Branney, Andrew Leman, David Robertson
Print Source: HPLHS Motion Pictures
2011 | 17 min
French language, English subtitles
You are about to encounter what very well may be the single most successful H.P. Lovecraft adaptation ever to lick fear across a screen.
The place: Arkham, Massachusetts. Fresh after losing a ferocious public debate with a specialist in the occult, Miskatonic University professor Albert Wilmarth (Matt Foyer) finds himself more than a little curious about documents sent to him by a terrified Vermont farmer who insists that mysterious creatures have been appearing all over his town. He has photographed hoof prints in the soil near his home, and he is very, very afraid. Professor Wilmarth steps onto a train for Vermont and begins a journey that will plunge him in the centre of a terrifying conspiracy. One that is, unquestionably, not of this earth. Ready or not, the Old Ones are coming.
While the fantasy film universe mourns the stillbirth of Guillermo del Toro’s hugely anticipated, mega-budget Lovecraft film AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS, here comes an indie production made at the other end of the financial spectrum that proves you don’t need godless sums of money to do Lovecraft’s visions right. Shot on a budget of $350,000, mostly raised by the filmmakers, WHISPERER goes above and beyond what earlier Lovecraft adaptations have delivered, bringing the master’s original 1931 novella to expanded, breathing life with vivid intensity and flair. More to the point: they’ve delivered one damn scary solstice, and it’s a hellishly fun ride into fright, at that!
If you’re unfamiliar with Lovecraft’s writing, worry not, WHISPERER is a perfect introduction. If you’re an aficionado, then you know there have been many fine films based on the infamous pulp author’s work, but as far as purely Lovecraftian experiences go, none have fully nailed it. This is the film that does, a production made by lovers for lovers, without being fannish, geeky or anything less than 100% accurate to the man’s concepts, era and sensibilities.
Directed by Sean Branney, WHISPERER is the first feature film from a collective who call themselves The HP Lovecraft Historical Society (their masterful short, THE CALL OF CTHULU was the object of much love at Fantasia in 2006). Shot with an aesthetic, production design and performance style angled to emulate the feel of a ’30s/’40s Universal horror film — without falling into camp — WHISPERER arrives like shadows out of time, a discovered relic from another dimension. Its plot is fevered with occult terror and a Ray Bradbury/EC Comics sense of horror-fantasy — take, for example, canisters of preserved brains equipped a mechanical communication device through which they converse with our hero — while feeling dreamily plausible through and through. Perhaps an even bigger accomplishment — this is a film that actually makes Vermont feel like a land of wakeless nightmares! There be monsters here, and they are wonderful — in the very literal sense of the term. This film is amazing.