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Episode 38 - Society (1989)

April 14th, 2021

Seeing as Jim made his triumphant return to the movie theater for the first time in well over a year, it's only fitting that the boys spend a little time talking about the (very dumb) film ushering people out of the pandemic, Godzilla vs. Kong. 

Skip ahead to 26:30 to avoid spoilers and a discussion of all things related to large beings destroying tiny cityscapes and to get to the main event, the discussion on Brian Yuzna's directorial debut, Society. Joining to discuss the film that only gets grosser as it gets older is James's partner in life and crime, Corinne Corrosive! 

The film's narrative logic - or lack thereof - may not hold up any better than its 1980sness, but man oh man are those practical effects from Screaming Mad George still nauseating and it's scary how the film's themes of the rich feeding on the poor have become all the more relevant today. Perhaps if Trump runs again in 2024, he should be honest with everyone and run on the Shunting Party card.

Episode 37 - The Endless (2017)

March 24th, 2021

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear. And the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."
- H.P. Lovecraft

"Adding a Lovecraft quote to your film doesn't make your film Lovecraftian."
- The Cast of Cthulhu

So, we're talking about The Endless, a film that pays lip service to Lovecraft, but we're also talking about so much more than that, so check out the timecode notes below if you want to get straight to the discussion of a film that raises more questions about its world in its attempt to give us answers and that fundamentally misunderstands the term "Lovecraftian" (if that's even what the filmmakers were intending in the first place).

We don't get into that discussion until 42:03 though as we first spend some time to encourage listeners to pick up Battleship Pretension's 101 Best Movies of the 2010s at 1:13, discuss our thoughts on #TheSnyderCut at 3:45, and discuss the horrific allegations against Richard Stanley and why we support his "canceling" (and also why we hate that term) at 19:18.

For more information on AAPI organizations to support in the wake of the horrible actions of a white supremacist, check out this link and let's all contribute to stopping Asian hate.

Episode 36 - Resolution (2012)

March 18th, 2021

The first episode in the Benson/Moorhead back-to-back is here with this review of Resolution, though as we're wont to do, there's a fair bit of banter before the episode begins, this time on beer and breweries and pouring one out - figuratively - for the bankrupt Alamo Drafthouse (jump ahead to around 10:19 to skip over it - you'll know the discussion is about to begin when James says "let's talk about meth").

Jumping from abuse of one substance to another gets us into the discussion on Benson & Moorhead's directorial debut, the (extremely) low-budget feature that has basically everything you've come to love about a Lovecraft story - a character who recognizes and accepts his unchangeable fate, another who doesn't and suffers for it, and a seemingly cyclopean entity that cannot be described or depicted - despite the fact that the filmmakers had no idea who Howard Phillips Lovecraft was. Another thing of which the filmmakers had no idea? Good taste in humor! Does it distract from the effectiveness of the film? Not greatly, but it also shouldn't make anyone eager to check out the film's cringeworthy special features.

Click here to read the interview with Benson & Moorhead from Medium.com that was quoted in this episode.

Episode 35 - WandaVision (2021)

March 9th, 2021

Before you ask or complain, no - WandaVision has absolutely nothing to do with H.P. Lovecraft and we don't even make an attempt to connect the two. Instead, this is just an episode to dive into our thoughts on the recently wrapped WandaVision with a very special guest, Jim's lovely wife, Emma Aarnes!

From our shattered expectations to our satisfaction with the ending, there's a lot of ground to cover and a lot of tangents to get lost in, including how Donald Sutherland still weirdly brags that he had actual sex with Julie Christie while filming Don't Look Now and frequently objectifying Chris Evans' ass. WandaVision was a show that led to a great deal of speculation on where it was going - most of it gloriously incorrect - and the reactions to its conclusion were divisive, but we salute Jac Shaeffer and Matt Shakman, the risks they took, the story they told, and the fun they brought back to weekly TV viewing.

Also, here's Anthony Mackie quoting Shakespeare while eating hot wings.

Episode 34 - Annihilation (2018)

February 26th, 2021

A fair bit of dillydallying on this episode before the discussion on Alex Garland's criminally underseen Annihilation including a (very) lengthy discussion on WandaVision and the Disney's grey morality as a content/art provider, a less lengthy discussion at 27:46 about why we'd rather fight with Cthulhu than Haku, and the least lengthy news at 34:32 that Spike Lee is producing a Cthulhu film for Netflix.

At 36:54 we get to the main event, a discussion on Annihilation, a sci-fi that was so brilliant in its existential musings that Paramount had no idea what to do with it, dumping it into a late February 2018 release with little fanfare. With gorgeous cinematography from Rob Hardy and marvelously understated writing and direction from Garland, Annihilation was one of the best films of 2018 and is arguably the best adaptation of "The Color Out of Space" you'll ever see - even though, ostensibly, it has nothing to do with the classic Lovecraft sci-fi/horror story.

Episode 33 - Cast a Deadly Spell (1991)

February 11th, 2021

Gavin Mevius, co-host of The Mixed Reviews joins us to talk about Cast a Deadly Spell, the made-for-TV movie from 1991 that asks us all to imagine a world where anyone can use magic, but with one hard-boiled detective named Harry Philip Lovecraft (Fred Ward) who chooses not to for...reasons? Perhaps it has something to do with his backstory, which is...never brought up? Or the rules of magic, which are...absent? Or the societal order, which is...never mentioned?

Alright, you know what? You dig just a little bit into this HBO original and you'll discover that its film noir roots are deep, but its Lovecraftian influence is superficial at best. But hey, what it lacks in substance it makes up for with jokes about racism, transphobia, and statutory rape! Maybe there's a reason Joseph Dougherty isn't a household name.

The discussion ends around 59:35, but feel free to keep listening on after that for Jim's crazy Batman Returns theory and a poll as to whether watching the Super Bowl or The Snyder Cut inspires more dread.

Follow The Mixed Reviews on Twitter @TheMixedReviews
Follow Gavin Mevius on Twitter @FriendlessMean

Episode 32 - Cold Skin (2017)

January 28th, 2021

Before we get into reviewing the not quite Lovecraftian Cold Skin, we've got some real eldritch horrors to discuss. Cut rate Corman clone Charles Band - yeah, him - is producing a sequel to From Beyond called Miskatonic U: The Resonator and there are behind the scenes photos to feast your eyes upon if you're into that type of thing. We're not really, which is probably why we ultimately diverge into a conversation on which Fantastic Four film is the worst and how Kang the Conquerer fits into the MCU.

Skip ahead to about 28:45 if you'd rather not hear about the latest venture from the producer of Corona Zombies and would rather hear about this rather tepid adaptation from New French Extremity director Xavier Gens. Including aquatic creatures that mate with humans does not make the film Lovecraftian, nor does an opening Nietzsche quote make it meditative, but even if Cold Skin is ultimately forgettable, the viewing experience was certainly not regrettable. 

Visit IndieWire to read Dave Ehrlich's review in full.

Episode 31 - Black Mountain Side (2014)

January 13th, 2021

Happy New Year, y'all!

Before discussing the surprisingly good Black Mountain Side, we catch up on some news and housekeeping, including Jim bidding adieu to I Do Movies Badly (boo...), a new home for The Cast of Cthulhu on Battleship Pretension (hooray!), and discussion about indie directors Benson & Moorehead signing on to Moon Knight.

But if you'd like to bid auld lang syne to what was and focus on what's ahead, skip ahead to roughly 31 minutes where we dig into Nick Szostakiwskyj's Black Mountain Side, a claustrophobic slow burn cosmic horror film with more questions than answers and the creepiest, most gravel-y voice this side of the French New Wave.

Head over to The Lovecraft eZine to read the interview with writer/direct Nick Szostakiwskyj's quoted in the episode.

Episode 30 - The Call of Cthulhu (2005) with Andrew Leman & Sean Branney

December 22nd, 2020

"Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Ftagn!" does not translate to "happy holidays!" but we still extend those wishes to everyone out there and are doing what we can to make those wishes come true by gifting you or biggest episode yet! Joining us to discuss the too-long-to-be-a-short-but-too-short-to-be-a-feature The Cast of Cthulhu are none other than the writer and director, Sean Branney & Andrew Leman!

The two have plenty to say about how they got into Lovecraft, their mission and work at the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, and how they arrived at the decision to not just adapt the allegedly "unfilmable" short, but to adapt it in the style that would make sense for 1926 (largely inspired by the short film, "The Old Man and the Goblins"). This Winter Solstice, warm yourself with laughter as Leman & Branney regal with you tales of the nightmare prop maker from The Whisperer in Darkness or how and why we may one day see H.P. Lovecraft's The Girl with a Chainsaw.

Ho ho holy cow this episode is chock full of Cyclopean goodness, even if it does start out with Jim making a bonehead of himself by incorrectly attributing the creation of the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast to his guests. 'Tis the season for giving, so give this episode a listen and have yourselves a merry Christmas and happy holidays! See y'all next year!

Episode 29 - The Whisperer in Darkness (2011)

December 9th, 2020

Look up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, actually it's a Mi-Go chasing a plane. That must mean, of course, that we're talking about The Whisperer in Darknessthe feature-length talkie from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society's Sean Branney and Andrew Leman! 

Including a climactic chase in a 1930's biplane wasn't the only improvement that the filmmakers made upon the original sci-fi heavy source text; they also upped the ante of the emotional and cosmological stakes, acting as Lovecraft's Frank Darabont(s).

Be sure to stick around to the very end to hear our very exciting news about what The Cast of Cthulhu will be delivering to your ear stockings this Christmas!

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