The H.P. Lovecraft Collection, Vol. 5: Strange Aeons
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The 5th volume of The H.P. Lovecraft Collection® continues to showcase author H.P. Lovecraft's unique contribution to American Literature having melded the best in traditional supernatural horror with the genre of science fiction emerging from the 1920s. The featured film on the collection is Strange Aeons: The Thing on the Doorstep, directed by Eric Morgret featuring music by composer Richard Temple (Untraceable, Ghost Rider). Base on Lovecraft's short story, it is a unique tale about the unfortunate match between scholar Edward Derby, and Asenath Waite, a young heiress with mysterious hypnotic powers. Soon after getting married, Edward changes drastically while advisor and friend Dan Upton realizes that he may be too late to stop what has already been set into motion. The film includes English subtitles, audio commentary by director and screenwriter, a bonus "making of" featurette and behind the scenes slideshow. The DVD also contains Patrick Weber's short film Maria's Hubris(also based on Lovecraft's Thing on the Doorstep) and the animated shorts From Beyondby Michael Granberry and Don't Feed the Bookby Robin Ator. The disc is packed with special features including an interview with director John Carpenter, teasers from the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, trailers and much more! Total running time is approximately 120 minutes.
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The Call of Cthulhu: The Celebrated Story by H.P. Lovecraft
Acting-wise it's a mixed bag. Erick J. Robertson's Derby, is a plodding, somnambulistic exercise, while J.D Lloyd plays Derby's mentor, Upton, and his spiral into madness really well. Angela Grillo seems to relish the part of Asenath, getting a few excellent opportunities early on to establish herself with some fun dialogue and sneering looks. But it's Jerry Lloyd's turn as Robert Black that steals the show in a single outstanding scene full of madness and menace with an interesting stage design evocative of "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari." Overall, "Strange Aeons" is a long film at over one buck fifteen and could have done with some judicious editing.
The additonal film on the DVD, "Maria's Hubris," is a German version of the same story and its really very good. At only 13 minutes long and directed by Patrick Weber it's got more dramatic impact than the main feature and a claustrophobic visual style in keeping with a tale involving body-swapping. The small, generally more mature, cast have a typically German grittiness and expressivity about them which tends to overshadow the younger and more inexperienced American cast of "Strange Aeons."
Nonetheless, buy this DVD, watch it on its own merits and I'm sure you'll enjoy aspects of it. Just don't expect a "Cool Air" or "Pickman's Model."