I've Read Most of H.P. Lovecraft's Works — Here're 3 Movies That Best Convey His Brand of Horror

I've Read Most of H.P. Lovecraft's Works — Here're 3 Movies That Best Convey His Brand of Horror
Image credit: D Films, Legion-Media, Netflix

The Lovecraftian horror genre is incredibly difficult to adapt to the screen, but some filmmakers have managed to do it almost perfectly.

Few authors have been influential enough to create an entire new genre based on their work, but H. P. Lovecraft is definitely one of them, even though his works did not gain true popularity until long after his death in 1937.

Despite the fact that the vast majority of his novels and stories were quite short compared to many other iconic authors of the genre, Lovecraft had a talent for instilling primal fear in the reader with just a few words.

However, his unique brand of horror, which mostly relied on horrific things beyond human comprehension, is notoriously difficult to adapt, as it is virtually impossible to bring unimaginable horrors and barely describable creatures to the screen.

Still, some filmmakers have managed to do it, sometimes without even relying directly on the author's works, so let's take a look at three that have done a near-perfect job of capturing the Lovecraftian horror.

The Void (2016)

This Canadian movie, directed by Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie, is arguably one of the best Lovecraftian horror films to date, as even after watching it you will still have a lot of questions about what just happened on screen.

Without any explanation, it throws the viewer into the thick of things, following a group of people who encounter the effects of what seems to be one reality beginning to merge with another, more sinister one.

The story has a lot of familiar traits of the genre, such as mysterious cultists, horrible creatures, disgusting transformations, other dimensions and people who have lost their minds after seeing things that break their psyches.

In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

I've Read Most of H.P. Lovecraft's Works — Here're 3 Movies That Best Convey His Brand of Horror - image 2

Directed by the legendary John Carpenter and starring Sam Neill, this horror film may have fewer tentacles than the previous entry on our list, but it still manages to convey the atmosphere of insanity in the best tradition of Lovecraft's work.

John Trent is an insurance investigator assigned to find the incredibly popular novelist Sutter Cane, whose works allegedly drive people crazy and who has suddenly gone missing.

Though skeptical at first, Trent soon understands that Cane has somehow become able to influence reality itself and may have doomed the entire human race by allowing sinister forces to seep into our world.

Guillermo del Toro 's Cabinet of Curiosities (2022)

Although it is not a feature film, but an anthology TV series, Cabinet of Curiosities deserves a place on our list because it tells separate short stories, two of which are among the best direct adaptations of Lovecraft's work there are.

Episode 5 "Pickman's Model" and episode 6 "Dreams in the Witch House" are based on the author's stories of the same name and translate them almost perfectly to the screen, which makes them stand out from the majority of other direct Lovecraft adaptations.

The rest of the episodes are also absolutely brilliant, especially "Lot 36," "The Autopsy," and "The Viewing," even though they are based on stories by other authors.

Hopefully one day we will see Guillermo del Toro's take on At the Mountains of Madness, another Lovecraft novella that was a passion project for the filmmaker but has been stuck in development hell for years.