So how would a Cthulhu movie be made today?

I was checking out Retrocrush’s Top 100 Monsters , and Cthulhu is on this list, even though the webmaster commented that there’s very little that exists of the Great Elder God visually except for some posters and “Hello Cthulhu” dolls. The Z-grade movies made that were supposedly based on Lovecraft didn’t touch Cthulhu at all, and come to think of it, It only appeared in a couple of HP’s stories.

There’s also a role playing game, but that’s how D&D was made into a movie, so let’s not go there…

So let’s pretend that somehow somebody sells Hollywood on the idea of making a Call of Cthulhu movie, and its production values are going to be in the neighborhood of Lord of the Rings quality.

Remember, don’t base your comments on what Hollywood should do, since that’s not a reality. Post about what they would if the Big C got the green light. Remember, movie producers are going to want a project that will guarantee a blockbuster, and they’re going to throw in any gimmick or formula they think will attract moviegoers.

Naturally, they can use CGI for most of Cthulhu’s likeness, and probably a multi-user puppet with boocoos of prosthetics and robot arms, like Jabba the Hut, for closeups with actors. If it’s anything like the short story, Cthulhu would only be in the movie for a few minutes, unless they decide to make It another Godzilla type monster, where It goes around rampaging and destroying cities.

I’m guessing Hollywood’s not going to go for the cast being a bunch of stuffy professors, so the cast will be the handsome/cute action hero, the busty babe, and a couple of smarmy friends who get eaten at some point. I doubt the script would be anything approaching a psychological drama, even though the main thing that made Lovecraft’s stories frightening was not the monsters, but the possibility of normal people losing their fragile grip on reality. It would probably be something along the lines of a rich unscrupulous corporate type du jour thinks he can make a deal with the devil, and gets these gothy White Wolf RPG type sorcerers to summon the Big C, then lose control of the situation. It’s up to the heroes to somehow lure the monster back into the Abyss from which It came.

Now if they were able to stage a scene where the Big C emerges from the ocean and the rules of reality get turned inside out within a mile of the beast, that’d probably be cool, but there’s bound to be something to insult the audience’s intelligence up to that point. They’d probably have slimy minions lurking around in baseball stadiums or something up to that point, kidnapping homeless people to use as sacrifices.

So, any ideas who Hollywood would cast as Action Hero, Busty Babe, Comic Relief 1 & 2, Annoying Screaming Kid, Villanous Corporate Exec, Eccentric Scientist, Insane Cult Leader, Rough and Ready Army General, US President, and what they would shill for Product Endorsement?

If it was given to a smart producer/director team, you’d not even see Big C at all… Or at least not very much of it, and then distorted through the dreams of madmen.

Rather, think “Seven” or “Candyman” but with the madman being motivated by the mind-blasting insanity of Great C’thulhu’s unknowable dreams.

How would a Cthulhu movie be made today?


Given Hollywood’s propensity for “improving” :dubious: works of literature to increase its commercial potential, I suspect that Cthulhu would appear as a Broadway dancer tapdancing it’s way into our hearts, rather than the unholy horroe we all know it to be. Or he will be, after they’re through with the re-writes.:smack:

Hmmm. I’d actually take 12 Monkeys as an inspiration and use a setup like Alien, where you hardly ever see the monster.

12 Monkeys would work.

Still, remember, mere sight of Great C’thulhu is enough to blast one’s mind into flinders, so a skilled director/producer team would never even need to show you it’s unworldly visage. All you need to see is the melting horror on the faces of the unwise, should they gaze upon Things Man Was Not Meant To Know. This could have been done very effectively by a director like Hitchcock. I have no idea who I’d let touch it today.

I don’t care how they do it, as long as this happens:

When Cthulu emerges from the water, he sings these words,

“One lonely beatie I be.
All by myself without nobody.”

beatie=beastie, for the sake of pete!

Bah, just get any good Call of Cthulhu module, and run some experienced roleplayers thru it.

Then write up the outcome as a screenplay.

I’ve played some kickass CoC modules at conventions that were as good as the best horror films.

I mean, heck, it’s hard to improve upon a movie where the majority of the characters goes insane as the true nature of the horror they face is slowly revealed…

Hire Peter Jackson. Or David Kronenberg, maybe.

They’d cast Ben Affleck as the hero.

And fighting the “old ones” would involve lots of “bullet time,” “wire fighting,” and that thing they use in Ridley Scott movies that cuts out all the motion blur.

Cthulhu would arise in an abandoned—but oddly well lit—warehouse. Which, in a further blasphemy to the code of horror movies, wouldn’t either burn down or blow up during the finale.

All the characters’ intelligent, pondering dialogue would become “Get a handle on it, M***********! This is the real thing!

The old ones would be really plasticy-looking CGI. Ironically, the 1980s method of]double-exposing a muppet would have not only looked more “realistic,” but would have been scarier and cheaper.

And the people in Hollywood would never understand why it bombed.

I’d let Terry Gilliam have a crack at it. He’s got a reputation for doomed projects, but still. Maybe David Lynch. Or Ridley Scott.

And the problem with the “melting horror on the faces of the unwise” is that it’d be a little too Twilight Zone to really be successful today.

The only problem with writing a screenplay would be that most of the Lovecraft stories are “I’m about to tell you about this really horrible thing. It’s so horrible and terrible. Let me slowly reveal the horror. BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA! Wasn’t that scary?”

Definitely David Cronenberg.

With art direction by H. R. Giger.

And music by Danny Elfman. (no, seriously!)

The cast would have to include Christopher Walken.

Or at least Lance Henrickson.

Dunno about Cronenberg, but he’s definitely SKILLED enough to make it work. Thing is, he’s not one to NOT show you the monster. Hell, Cronenberg’s more apt to want to shove the monster down your THROAT, LITERALLY, in at least one of his movies…

I think the trick here would be to NOT show Cthulhu, and in this day and age of megazillion-dollar CGI, I just don’t think that would work too well. The problem with real horror movies is that you have to work on plot, pacing, characterization, and you HAVE to know what you’re DOING. Just throwing a monster in there doesn’t give you a monster movie. Do that, and you wind up with something like “Eight Legged Freaks,” a passable monster movie but no one’s idea of classic horror.

The REAL trick would be to convince the viewer that IF THESE BAD GUYS FINISH WHAT THEY’RE DOING, Cthulhu WILL rise and eat everyone.

It could be done. Hell, a recent film actually convinced me, for two hours, that a videotape could kill you seven days after you’d seen it.

But it would have to be done RIGHT, by someone who KNEW what he was doing…

I had another thought: Tim Burton. Nobody does creepy and weird like Tim Burton.


As for the movie, it has to end with my rising and humanity actually losing, as that would be hella cool.

Ok, a serious response this time:

Did anyone ever see that HBO Original Cast A Deadly Spell, with Fred Ward?

Not really a horror movie, but they do a good job with the Great Old Ones almost rising thing. You only see a part of a monster, and I think they do a very good job with what is being suggested here.

Check it out, if’n you ain’t seen it.

It would be more akin to Hitchcockian suspense, but very dark.

And unless you can get audiences running screaming from the theater like they did in The Blob when the blob actually showed up there, it wouldn’t be a successful CoC movie.

You’d have to equip theaters with nonsensurround.


Be my horror.

Fun with eldritch horrors.


Cthulhu in a jar.


A Cthulhu film in itself would be bound to be disappointing, but the pitch for the project is still salvageable by looking at the film as one facet of a widespread hoax phenomenon. Compare War Of The Worlds radioplay with War Of The Worlds the broadcast.

I’d want leads that could do an extensive pre-publicity tour, participate in a huge internet marketing campaign, and truly convince me that this was actually happening right now, and that they’d seen the eldritch horror firsthand.

I’m thinking Farrah Fawcett and Gary Busey.

It’s been my dream for quite a while to see the Cthulhu mythos cast as a giant monster movie.

Now before you go crazy (no pun intended), hear me out. . .

Of course we have an obligatory setup of stuffy academia, but that can be quickly thrown out of the water, as the rising of the elder gods would necesarrily be prestidigitated by riots of bizarre cults and occult happenings.

We have the actual awakening of Cthulhu (and like minded beings) from the ocean floor prefaced by secondary sources. Rantings from merchant sailors, satellite film degraded for no discernible reason, sunspots, weather degradation. . .

Here’s the kicker. As Cthulhu treads his way into civilization, no doubt personified by New York, we never actually see the creature himself. Pictures of building collapsing, your neighbor frothing and stabbing himself in the eye, a gigantic claw crashing through reality. . .

But the only way I can think of to make this impressionable enough, we’re going to have to bring back that subsonic sound system that shook theaters apart when they showed that crappy movie EARTHQUAKE. Cthulhu on the movie screen will have to break the theater, and quite possible your eardrums.

Problem. There is no good way for this movie to end. Everybody dies. Good luck ever getting that made.

Set it in the near future. Have the last few survivors getting on a spaceship and flying off Earth. As their ship disappears, we see a giant shadow following behind them.

There, I gave ya an ending and an opening for a sequel.

What about a movie about The Dunwich Horror?