Saturday, November 17, 2007

J'espere que Cloverfield ≠ Cthulhu

I spent about fifteen minutes combing through the web, trying to find leaked images of the tightly-guarded monster from J.J. Abrams' upcoming film, Cloverfield. That's all I could stomach before realizing I'd rather just see it when everyone else does. The amount of time some people have put into analyzing the trailer (which reveals nothing) and analyzing cloud patterns in the teaser poster (which just looks like clouds to me) is staggering. Every time there is a highly guarded event movie in the geek world, there are tomes-worth of speculation spun from the web. Everyone insists, "No, THIS is exactly how the plot of Spider-Man 3 will unfold!" or "THIS is the new grille design for Optimus Prime!" And, invariably, everyone is wrong. This is TIME WASTED, people. Go solve that theorem you've been working on, or play a video game, or spend more time with your pet iguana. Anything else would be quality time in comparison.

I certainly hope many of the bloggers are wrong about one thing: even though the web suggests that it's been denied by Abrams, one of the most prevalent theories out there is that the monster is Cthulhu, the unpronounceable master of people's nightmares from the work of the grand-daddy of modern horror, H.P. Lovecraft. But, while Cthulhu is indeed a big slimy monster (above), the beauty and horror of his story is what happens when he's not on the page. The Cult of Cthulhu is perhaps more frightening than the monster itself. This god-like entity can haunt and control the subconsciousness of a population... can drive men who haven't seen or heard of him mad with fear... can make murderers and psychopaths of anyone through ancient, demonic magic. Cloverfield, on the other hand, seems to be a simple, good-old-fashined disaster/monster flick. Nothing wrong with that. It's been a long time since a truly good one. But I see nothing in the trailers that indicates any build-up in collective fear and subconscious paranoia. I somehow doubt there will be any bloody orgies of the damned in Cloverfield (Lovecraft really was a sick f%#*).

Cthulhu could make a really good movie (there's a straight-to-video one I haven't seen). But I sort of hope Cloverfield is just a big slimy monster movie (à la the original Kong or the kaiju big-boy himself, Gojira). When they do Lovecraft, I want them to do Lovecraft.


zak forrest said...

i know someone who saw it (nbd) and said it was the best movie ever (nbd)

go make movies not iguanas

danica mckellar is a mathemagician

Ryan said...

I like going to see movies that I haven't heard a THING about. Like when I went to see No Country for Old Men last Friday, I had no idea if I was in for a romantic comedy or digitally enhanced cartoon about talking silverware with the leads narrated by Christoper Walken and Queen Latifah.

Thanks for adding me to your list of blogs. I'm honored. I'll do the same to you as soon as I figure out how.

Anonymous said...

I read pretty much everything H.P. Lovecraft ever wrote and I don't recall any mention (or suggestion) of "bloody orgies of the damned". In fact, anyone who has ever read a Lovecraft biography or any of the collections of his published letters knows how improbable this would be. Perhaps the blogger is referring to a movie. Lovecraft died long before any movies supposedly based on his fiction, much less any of the modern ones likely to incorporate such nonsense.

Potomac said...

Anonymous, thanks for you telling me I'm mistaken, but I'll direct you to Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu," in which police come upon and break up a gathering of cultists in a Louisiana swamp. A long excerpt is below, but given repeated uses of the words "orgy" and "orgiastic," coupled with the presence of several "marred bodies" of cult victims, I'm going to stand by my own rephrasing of "bloody orgy of the damned." Would you prefer if I had said, "naughty rites of the faithful?" I stand by my blog.

"... The present voodoo orgy was, indeed, on the merest fringe of this abhorred area, but that location was bad enough; hence perhaps the very place of the worship had terrified the squatters more than the shocking sounds and incidents.

"Only poetry or madness could do justice to the noises heard by Legrasse's men as they ploughed on through the black morass toward the red glare and muffled tom-toms. There are vocal qualities peculiar to men, and vocal qualities peculiar to beasts; and it is terrible to hear the one when the source should yield the other. Animal fury and orgiastic license here whipped themselves to daemoniac heights by howls and squawking ecstacies that tore and reverberated through those nighted woods like pestilential tempests from the gulfs of hell. Now and then the less organized ululation would cease, and from what seemed a well-drilled chorus of hoarse voices would rise in sing-song chant that hideous phrase or ritual:

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."

"Then the men, having reached a spot where the trees were thinner, came suddenly in sight of the spectacle itself. Four of them reeled, one fainted, and two were shaken into a frantic cry which the mad cacophony of the orgy fortunately deadened. Legrasse dashed swamp water on the face of the fainting man, and all stood trembling and nearly hypnotised with horror.

"... From a wide circle of ten scaffolds set up at regular intervals with the flame-girt monolith as a centre hung, head downward, the oddly marred bodies of the helpless squatters who had disappeared. It was inside this circle that the ring of worshippers jumped and roared, the general direction of the mass motion being from left to right in endless Bacchanal between the ring of bodies and the ring of fire."