Lovecraft – Fear of the Unknown

Lovecraft – Fear of the Unknown

Static Mass Rating: 4/5

Release date: February 7th 2011
Certificate (UK): E
Running time: 90 minutes

Director: Frank H. Woodward

Cast: Gullermo Del Torro, John Carpenter

Lovecraft – Fear of the Unknown is a feature length documentary which manages to stay true to its subject matter while at the same time documenting, with much insight, the life of this peculiar man. It chronicles not just Lovecraft’s work and life but also traces the roots of his imagination to its earliest sprouting.

Beginning with the account of how is father went insane when Lovecraft was a child and taking us right through to his later years when he wrote The Call of Cthulhu (published in 1928) which introduced readers to more weird and terrifying creatures from other worlds. Lovecraft – Fear of the Unknown also features interviews with John Carpenter, Guillermo Del Toro, Neil Gaiman, Stuart Gordon, Caitlin Kiernan, and Peter Straub, just a few of the many who have been influenced by his work.

Lovecraft - Fear of the Unknown

Lovecraft’s impact can be felt with recent films such as Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) and Hellboy (2004). Del Toro’s passion for Lovecraft is about scale new heights as the director now plans to bring At the Mountains of Madness to the big screen in 2013 (although this is not discussed in the documentary, which was made in 2008). But Lovecraft’s hand can be felt in literature, art, music and even kids toys. With the interviews presented here, we get a strong sense of that.

Coupled with its spooky soundtrack is the voice of Robin Atkin Downes who provides not only the narration but also speaks all the parts of Lovecraft, giving the effect that he’s really there. Surprisingly, the documentary also spends time on the issue of Lovecraft’s asinine xenophobia. It’s not sidestepped but brought to the light where it can be examined closely. It seems the man who wrote extensively about the fear of the unknown was actually quite afraid of those he didn’t know, having lived in isolation for much of his life.

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear,
And the oldest and strongest kind of fear is of the unknown.
- H.P. Lovecraft


  • Extended Interviews
  • Lovecrafian Art Gallery
  • Trailer

Despite his Old World prejudices we can’t deny that Lovecraft had a wonderful and frightening mind and more than anything, that’s the focus here. Its strong narration and story-driven structure with relevant and interesting interviews makes Lovecraft – Fear of the Unknown an appealing documentary for fans both old and new.

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