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Belittling Horror Excessively: The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu06:31 PM -- Mon October 31, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A dangerous relic of Cthulhu is uncovered by the Cult of Cthulhu, so the Council of Cthulhu (no relation) has to send their other half of the relic into hiding, by giving it to the last remaining descendant of H.P. Lovecraft, so that the two halves won't be put together. He is of course a slacker guy, and thus, as he is hunted by Deep Ones and Starspawn, hijinks theoretically ensue.

Scariness Type: It's a comedy, with no hints at horror. There is some gore.

Rating: 2/5 Comic Books.

Awarded: Least Painful Broken Arms Ever. You just gonna let those swing around? Maybe a sling at least?

Good Stuff: There are funny bits here and there. It's also sort of interesting how heavily this movie, despite being silly, relies on the actual Lovecraft mythos. There's a cameo by Martin Starr which is really funny and nicely demonstrates how badly the rest of the movie misses the mark. It's like a ray of sunshine that illuminates the garbage heap. Oh, there are also moments early on that feel like an episode of Buffy, especially the monster costumes, so that's pretty good.

Bad Stuff: It's got some really big exposition (including one rather enjoyable animated sequence in which Cthulhu uses a severed triceratops head to stab shoggoths). There's a problem that happens when comedy tries to tell a fairly involved story, or even just make sense, rather than be silly. It drags it down and kills the fun. It can definitely be done, but it takes a very deft hand. Which is not present here. They manage to stay light-hearted all the way through, but that's not the same as entertaining.

Another big problem lies in some combination of the editing and direction. It's something you'll notice in low-budget movies, where they don't cut between things fast enough, or at the right time, making something that's theoretically very exciting actually end up looking awkward. The thing that exemplifies this is when the sea captain throws a spear at Starspawn, and he grabs it and throws it back. If you watch the equivalent scene (with a throwing knife) in Big Trouble in Little China, it's just awesome - whip-zang-whap-POW. In this movie, it's laborious and slow. These actors weren't any less agile than the ones in the other movie, it's all down to the editing and direction. And of course, if they can't keep the action flowing nicely, they're not keeping the comedy popping either. It's all about timing.

Classic Rules of Film: If you show an ancient relic that can cause the world to end in Act 1, you can't just stop the relic before it does that. It has to at least get started on it in Act 3.

My Take: Pretty lame. But it's comedy, so that's even more subjective than it would be otherwise. It may tickle your funnybone just right, but for me, it fell pretty flat. It wasn't totally stupid, and there were jokes I laughed at, but overall, not a winner for me.

Artistic Nonsense: There's something I've seen in other movies (Paul comes to mind immediately, but I know of some others... Chasing Amy is one, I think?), where a character is a struggling writer/artist/filmmaker who is totally unknown, then they go on this wild adventure (or regular old relationship issues, in Chasing Amy), and they make a book/comic/movie about that adventure which makes them famous because of course it's so interesting that everybody is enthralled. There's a fundamental hole in this premise that goes completely ignored: we just watched that movie, and it was not that amazing. It's like the movie's writers are trying to say "The story we just told is so awesome that everybody will be flocking to see it! Look, here's what that will look like!" And it's inherently ridiculous because of course tons of stories are about aliens or Cthulhu or relationships. Just because in the context of the movie, the characters actually lived this incredible adventure (which, yes, would be absolutely mind-blowing if it really happened) doesn't mean that anybody reading about it would believe that or care. They would treat it like all other fiction of that sort. I just watched Last Lovecraft - it was not amazing, and since I never heard of it before searching through the Netflix archives, I can assume it wasn't terribly popular either.

This is it! Our final movie for Halloween is Halloween: H2O! That's the spirit! Join in!
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