As the stars align in weird conglomerations, this edition of Esoterror Sinema shall stick the blade of cinematic bullsh*t into the subject of occultism within the films adapted from the works of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. The literary genius of H.P. Lovecraft is well known to anyone with even the most infantile understanding of the origins of horror and understands his name does not represent the joys of knitting and scrapbooking.
The works of Lovecraft deal with horror on every level from the macrocosmic to more personal natures. The stories of Lovecraft deal with things such as homoerotic Victorian misogynistic fear for the chick at Starbucks, paranoid xenophobia against that “brown” guy at the gas station, and an aversion to Long John Silvers fish sticks right? That of course is a simplification but the point should be understood. Talking to squishy fish things from outer space and reading aloud from musty books equals bad stuff.
The cinematic adaptations of the literary catalog of Lovecraft is enormous; growing larger each year like the waist size of a chick thinking the Turbo Jam workout involved extra jelly on her French toast. Well some of these film adaptations are as good as extra jelly and some of them stink as much as the crotch area skid marks of that same fat ladies oversized panties because her arms could only reach so far around to wipe.
To fully analyze the list of cinematic adaptations of Lovecraft would be too large for the scope of this article as there are no less than 77 films dealing with the tales of Lovecraft. This does not include accounting for horror films utilizing inspired elements of his tales such as the Evil Dead films with his invented tome the Necronomicon. What I shall unveil here is more of a compressed piece dealing with the films of Lovecraft. I do not have that kind of attention span anyway so deal with what you get.
From feature, short, or inspired films the cinema of horror has been invaded by the viscous tentacles of Lovecraft’s creations on many levels. The works of Lovecraft entrances fans and filmmakers alike. None are immune from its invasion. It is as if aliens offered free candy for anal probes where the small yellow bus picks up the retards. Can one yet investigate, dissect, and analyze (and you cannot analyze with some anal) the occult aspects in the films of Lovecraft without delving first into the original literature as its foundation? My response to that is one of an indecisive schizophrenic, yes and no. The underlying occultism is the same of course but what we will confront within this article is simply an overview of a much deeper and complicated esotericism within its film. Did I say that already?
It should be stated that there are two schools of thought on the creations of Lovecraft, be they written or cinematic. One insists that his works are nothing more than the nocturnal ramblings of some tall skinny guy with mommy issues and a falsetto voice. There’s a lot a creative fodder to be found in psychosexual neurosis and a spaceship full of Isms that may be found within the psyche of Lovecraft. The other school of thought believes that the creations of Lovecraft are actual subconscious occult transmissions from midgets with Eroded Telomeres. You know? They rode in the basket on the bike with that kid in that film with the Reese’s Pieces? I am referring to ALIENS!
Regardless of the dissension between literary and occult scholars, the question remains the same. Do the occult phenomena within these tales hold accurate esoteric and occult validity or is it simply stupid fantasy because Lovecraft was afraid of women, dogs, terrorists, and plates of tuna fish? I do not suggest that I will have those answers for the reader. If I had any control over your thought process I would not waste it on such nonsense and tell you to give me all of your money instead.
Let us begin with of course with one of his more famous creations, the Necronomicon. First mentioned in his story The Hound, the Necronomicon written by the “Mad Arab” Abdul Alhazred is one of many forbidden tomes dealing with the sorcerer’s communication with space fish, that Babylonian dude with the pointy rocks, and sex with goats. It also has a kick ass recipe for Hummus.
The actual film entitled Necronomicon is a three-tale anthology of short stories allegedly being read from the book by Lovecraft himself as portrayed by Jeffrey Combs. It’s shorts The Drowned, The Cold, and Whispers, each are loosely based on his works, but any actual occultism within its celluloid is forgettable so I am not finishing this sentence with….
The Necronomicon or the “book of the dead” is most known to horror fans from the Evil Dead Films. The book is pretty much mentioned in most of the cinematic adaptations of Lovecraft’s works whether as backdrop or significant to plot. Although Lovecraft claimed the book was received in a dream after a night of dancing in his mother’s panties while reciting lines from Greek poetry about gay sodomy, many modern occultists insist the book exists as a more subtle reality . Common perception is that the book may be accessed as an “astral Necronomicon” in the well, astral plane, duh!
As illustrated in the above picture, the astral plane is…Oh wait! That’s not the astral plane. That’s ass ON a plane! Sorry, I get those two confused when my medication kicks in. What does this mean you ask? It means that occultists can enter a form of consciousness that has nothing to do with wishful thinking, drugs, alcohol, and mental illness to look at all the pretty pictures in the invisible book. Page 276 has this way cool image of a butterfly landing on the back of a newborn puppy but I didn’t get to look at it too long because my mom knocked on the door asking why I was in there so long and what happened to her lotion and new issue of Cosmo.
That knocked m out of my trance. Hmm, maybe that was not the astral Necronomicon I accessed but an astral edition of Martha Stewart’s Living. I would prefer to access an astral issue of Swank if I must say but let’s move on ok?
Occult tradition holds that everything in the physical maintains an astral mirror and every thought in the individual and collective psyche of humankind may manifest a tenuous existence within this plane. Without delving too deeply into this, such implication suggests that from the various energy infused into the concept of “a Necronomicon” by Lovecraft, fans, occultists, aliens, etc has generated a vibratory existing text that one may access via dream, magick, drugs and insanity.
Does this “astral Necronomicon” imply an existential or ethereal reality of the tome or simply suggest that occultists have just as much a need to believe in invisible Hobbits and fairy dust, as do practitioners of all religions with their fairy tales. That is a question having no empirical quantitative resolution. You know that already right? For me, I say yes! I do believe in spooks, and ghosts too!
Examining the Re-Animator films gives us even more fun stuff to play with! Re-Animator and its sequels all deal with a green Kool-Aid Viagra that makes you dance like an epileptic, prove the fact that the “stranger” hand job really is possible with amputation, and illustrate that even with a severed head you can still get between a chicks legs! Did I mention I want to perform disembodied cunnilingus? Just checking! I am obsessed with that possibility. Let’s move on shall we?
The scientific basis for reanimating the dead per Herbert West’s reagent is of course implausible. If that were the case then every horny guy would become an embalmer and mad scientist to insure he had a date for every Saturday night. Of course injecting something green and viscous from a pointy object into a human that raises it from the dead holds some sexual symbolism no? Either that or it suggests a need to see a doctor for your undead space gonorrhea.
The closest historic parallel of West’s experiments may be with Giovanni Aldini and Galvanic reanimation of the dead. Galvanism involved the induction of electrical currents within corpses in a manner similar to electronic abs and vibrators. It’s all about where you stick that thing! All in all, galvanic reanimation is a good read and whether such things inspired Lovecraft for Herbert West-Re-animator would be conjecture. That and I don’t really care. More occult connection with the reanimated corpses of Herbert West may be found within the various Voodoo/Voudun traditions with zombification. Being horror fans you are all familiar with zombies so I won’t waste time typing about it.
Films such as Dagon and the Dunwich Horror both deal with human votaries of the specific deities within its plotline, those being Dagon and Yog-Sothoth. Let’s begin with Dunwich shall we? Besides Sandra Dee looking hot on the altar beneath the monotone dialogue from the dude from Quantum Leap, the film was horrible in terms of both being true to the original story as well as occult lore.
The rituals Wilbur performed appeared embarrassingly like motions from someone with OCD and involuntary spasms. The reappearing symbol on the ring, staff, etc of the Whateley family is a solar symbol found in the traditions of those drunks driving pickup trucks whining because the white man was stronger than they were. You know whom I mean? We gave them rotted meat and blankets with smallpox? They have that dude in the commercial that used to stand on the side of the road crying about all the trash dumped in the 70’s?
Dagon on the other hand has a hot Spanish chick with tentacles! The film Dagon is not an adaptation from the Lovecraft story of the same name but inspired from his tale The Shadow over Innsmouth. But that’s ok because did I mention the hot Spanish chick with tentacles played by Macarena Gómez? Dagon deals with worship of the entity known as…Do I really need to say it? Dagon.
Dagon is commonly perceived as a fish God despite a connection to grain and agriculture. The origin of the name comes from Hebrew dāg/dâg meaning “fish” if you ignore also Ugaritic and Arabic roots that connect it to grain and clouds. So was the physical representation of Dagon in the film accurate? Most accounts of the physical aspects of Dagon are of a hybrid man/fish and not some gigantic squid but that’s ok because the film has the character of Uxía Cambarro! She’s a hot Spanish chick with tentacles! I would still have hit that even if she were my half-breed sister with tentacles!
The film From Beyond on the surface has more science, Quantum psychics to be more precise than occultism, but it’s there if you know what to look for. Within the film the Resonator machine stimulates the pineal gland allows you to see underneath that hot chicks clothes to see if the carpet truly matches the drapes or if her landing pad may get slippery when wet.
The pineal gland or third eye as it’s called by the guy who owns the convenience store down the street smelling like BO and burnt cat is the place of mystical vision and perception. Descartes calls it the “seat of the soul” but what does he know, he’s dead. Awakening the third eye allows ones consciousness to perceive not just if that chick in the next cubicle really has a third nipple on her left breast, it allows you a mystical vision. That means you obtain enlightenment as to why God would give her a third nipple and reveal just how you can get to suck on it.
The Unnamable 1-2, which have superficial connection to the original literary plot, deals with a haunting ancient creature that defies the five senses hence it’s “unnamable”. In the film the use of rituals from the Necronomicon summons the demon creature Alyda, who is a hot naked chick who doesn’t say much and that sounds like some magick I could be into! Although…I think some of my ex-girlfriends were this “unnamable” creature and I don’t mean they were hot, naked, and mute, but defied all senses and still haunt me. I do not think this film is so much “occult” as pretty much damn existentially frightening! Let’s move on please?
In terms of film being faithful to Lovecraft’s original vision, the film The Resurrected starring that guy who killed Inigo Montoya’s father in The Princess Bride, so far holds that honor.
Adapted from Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, also adapted by Roger Corman in 1963’s The Haunted Palace,the Resurrected has a great deal of occult within its 108 minutes. This films chronicles the exploits of Joseph Curwen, a sorcerer claiming abilities to raise the dead and do all kinds of witchy circus tricks.
Raising the dead of course is a huge subject to discuss in terms of theory and practice so I won’t. At least here at the moment, it’s in the works so be patient. Are the formulas for raising the dead in The Resurrected indicative of authentic occult formula? No, they are not. You cannot raise the dead you fool, they are dead!
There are of course many other cinematic adaptations of Lovecraft that I have omitted for relevance, space, and of course because after this many pages my ADD kicks in. Do many of these other films contain genuine occult representation? Some do sure, especially if you stretch and click you ruby heels together.
The literary and cinematic works of H.P. Lovecraft are permeated with occult wisdom on some very deep levels. From the many deities that each represents spiritual formulas and states of consciousness to the rituals that one may perform to access these energies, the Lovecraftian tradition is one that is more then simple entertainment and fiction. If one wishes to discover these esoteric secrets, one simply has to know what to look for.
Where does this leave us my dear readers? It leaves us at the end genius!