The Call of Cthulhu Silent Movie

by Jennifer Knighton

The Call of Cthulhu is a title well known in gaming circles. Whether you are a die-hard Lovecraft fan, have played the CCG, RPG, or video games based on Cthulhu, or just seen the big green guy on a t-shirt, you’ve heard of him. Most of us also know to associate Cthulhu with unspeakable horrors and sanity loss. How would you react if I told you that a movie rendition of The Call of Cthulhu has recently been released on DVD? How would you react if I told you it was made as a 1920’s style silent film or better yet that it is faithful to the story? I suspect you’d say I was mad. You might be right. However, the HP Lovecraft Historical Society (HPLHS) has created and released this film.

The Call of Cthulhu is a short film, approximately 47 minutes, that follows the story very closely. It premiered at the HP Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, Oregon. The HPLHS walked away from the festival with the Audience Award for Best in Show and the Juror Award for Best Picture. Rave reviews from fans around the world have streamed onto the HPLHS website (

The HPLHS held a screening of the film for cast, crew, and select guests in Los Angeles at the Silent Movie Theatre. For many involved it was their first time seeing the completed project. The crowd cheered. They laughed. They loved it. The sound system complimented the beautiful score, and the big screen highlighted the amazing work done by cast and crew alike. After the film, we watched the making of featurette and made fun of each other. This project was amazing to be a part of – it truly was a labor of love for all involved.

I will not say the movie is flawless. In fact, I find my own short performance lack-luster. It did not send shivers down my spine or give me nightmares. That being said, it is the most faithful adaptation of The Call of Cthulhu I have ever seen, and the creativity and love that went into its production makes it a must-have for any Lovecraft fan, die-hard or otherwise.

The DVD, which can be purchased on the HPLHS website, includes the making of featurette, stills, a CR-ROM accessable copy of one of the props, more translations than I’ve ever seen on a DVD, and some wonderfully funny Easter Eggs (you’ll have to find those on your own). The beautifully created score is also available on CD from the site.

Every review I’ve read – both positive and those with complaints – has expressed hope that the HPLHS will continue to create films. They have many other projects on their schedule at the moment but the next film, which they refuse to disclose the title of, is already growing in their minds.

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