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Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown2009

  • 3.7
H.P. Lovecraft was the forefather of modern horror fiction, having inspired such writers as Stephen King and Robert Bloch. The influence of his Cthulhu mythos can be seen in films, games, music and pop culture in general. But what led an Old World, xenophobic gentleman to create one of literature's most far-reaching mythologies? What attracts even the minds of 21st century to these stories of unspeakable abominations and cosmic gods? LOVECRAFT: FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN is a chronicle of the life, work and mind that created these weird tales as told by many of today's luminaries of dark fantasy, including John Carpenter, Guillermo Del Toro, Neil Gaiman, Stuart Gordon, Caitlin Kiernan and Peter Straub.

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"Best Documentary" winner at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con International Film Festival.

Member Reviews (22)

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top reviewer

It's somehow inaccurate to say this is a straightforward documentary of the mythos of H.P. Lovecraft because there is nothing straightforward about his mythos; but, there's probably been no better handle that I've found to gain a sense of the breadth of that mythos, rendered as articulate as possible through an assemblage of impressive talking heads. I mean, who wouldn't want to listen to Guillermo del Toro and John Carpenter or Neil Gaiman or Stuart Gordon talk on any subject, let alone such a strange figure as H.P. Lovecraft whose body of work is a testament to a supernatural alterity that is equal parts horror and fascination. I'd never heard of this documentary and so I'm grateful to Fandor for bringing it to my attention. Recommended, but only for those who either have a direct interest in Lovecraft, or a sense that they have been influenced by Lovecraft through movies and music, without knowing fully how or why.

3 members like this review
top reviewer

A solid and credible biography of that strange man from Providence, Rhode Island. The film has the look and pace of one of those documentary shows you find on A&E, Discovery, or the History Channel, but it is bolstered by an impressive roster of writers, artists and filmmakers who offer their insights on the man who was Cthulhu's father.

1 member likes this review
top reviewer

What KPBS intern put this documentary together?

top reviewer

I was given H.P.Lovecraft's 'The Dunwich Horror' as a reading assignment at a Catholic middle school. I couldn't get through it, and if I remember correctly, the papers we were to write on the story were never collected, to my great relief, as the penguins could very easily scare any monster back into its pit. The next time I was to hear of Lovecraft was in comics books (yes, as an adult, attempting to build a real childhood over the one I had.) This documentary will send me out to find the books and stories. I think I am ready. This doc was very well done, interesting, even a tad spooky in places. I look forward to my future adventures into the world of H.P. Lovecraft. And I am glad I watched this. I got a lot out of it.

top reviewer

What interested me the most from this thorough and evocative documentary, were the amazing similarities between Lovecraft and Poe. Both were born in New England to mentally and physically ill parents. Both were reclusive geniuses who had a rather warped and definitely bigoted view of their respective society. Both died prematurely and unrecognized. And both are definitely cult personalities. Sad...and yet...

top reviewer


0e5539172ba77355e79a9db0e1de45b7? m 0083
top reviewer

I'm no fan of Lovecraft, but was very glad to watch this, to learn about him in a way that was accessible to me, who wouldn't read his actual work. It's helps place it in context in many ways, and it was also an introduction to Caitlin Kiernan, who lived in rural Alabama.

This movie seems balanced and respectful, has a variety of viewpoints, is compassionate, without being cultish, and is visually interesting. Nice to hear Gaiman's words. To know the life of a writer, any good writer, through documentary, is one of my favorite things.

top reviewer

I'm already a big fan of Lovecraft, so I was happy to find this film on Fandor. It delivers as a documentary, in particular highlighting some aspects of Lovecraft's life that clearly influenced some of his stories. And the enthusiasm of the interviewees -- Guillermo del Toro conveys the spirit and the virtues of Lovecraft's stories particularly well -- reminded me of how much I liked the stories, so after watching the film I started rereading my favorites.

If you've never read Lovecraft, by all means do that. With some of the actual stories under your belt this film will be well worth seeing.

A fascinating, well-balanced look at the life and works of Mr. Lovecraft. He was a strange man with a singular talent. It's too bad Cancer The Thief took him out just as he was really getting up to speed.

Ia fhtagn, baby!

Not the best constructed doc, but it did inspire me to read a little more about HP Lovecraft.

very well done. the talking heads are all well versed in lovecraft lore.

Awesome. Eerie and informative.

liked it.

a must see for any lovecraft fan, the artwork shown is amazing, a good bio. pf his life, the oldest n strongest emotion is fear n the oldest n strongest fear is fear of the unknown

This was one of the most informative & entertaining documentaries I have ever watched.

My daughter is now interested to read what I grew up on and loved.

never new about his life this answers all my questions..

Never having read this literature, and having loved the horror film since "Nosferatu," I had heard too much of Lovecraft not to watch this Wyrd documentary. And Wyrd it is, especially the syntax. I kept thinking of Poe's only novel, Arthur Gordon Pym, and its obvious derivation from the conclusion of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Perhaps what fascinates me most about Lovecraft is his obvious influence on science fiction, which he apparently hesitated to continue writing because his almost exclusive publisher, Weird Tales, rejected his initial attempts and apparently Amazing Stories' acceptances came too late in his life to see his development of that genre take root. I knew a painter, Robert Almquist, in Lewiston, Idaho, who read Lovecraft but hardly exclusively; his regard for Vardis Fisher, Idaho's native novelist, triumphed, as it probably already had when we met and were acquainted briefly in the mid-sixties. So there I am, filled with the ineffable but preferring the inexplicable . . .

For those unaware of how Mr. Lovecraft shaped your world and your culture, this a excellent film!

This documentary of H.P. Lovecraft is clear in in the presentation of a Troubled recluse that has gone on to influence so many other artists and writers- including the people contributing their views on the man who made the monsters (The Old Ones) monstrous.

It is put into a great context of written literature of the time as Del Toro phrases it a “Time Capsule” of the period.

It’s too bad that two other writers such as Stephen King or Alan Moore could be added to such a list to place their thoughts about this horror artist of fiction.

Have come into the Lovecraft mythos late in life I have a great respect for the man who felt he was an outsider in a world unknown.

I as an artist could only hope to scratch the surface of the influence that this man has upon the world.

I'd heard bits and pieces of his biography by listening to the HP Podcraft Literary podcast over the last couple years. I love how this documentary pulled HP Lovecraft's life and works together.

It's everything I wanted a Lovecraft documentary to be. Congratulations and thanks to all involved. Now please release it for sale!

I believe this documentary did H.P. some justice. Where the movies fall so far behind, plenty of care and respect for the man was shown here for all to see.

This reminded me of all the stories I read so faithfully 40 years ago or more... the credits, the art, the reviews and the critiques enhanced my enjoyment of Lovecraft's works.

Thanks for providing us with this great insight into such an underrated author of our times...