The good folks at the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society have once again endeavored -- successfully -- to present a work of H.P. Lovecraft as a movie from the 1920s. Their version of The Call of Cthulhu was a black and white silent film. Their latest venture is a version of The Whisperer in Darkness that maintains the atmosphere and horror of the original tale, while exanding it well past the original's ending, as a black and white pulp film.

The Whisperer in Darkness can be divided into three parts. In the introduction, it's 1927 and Miskatonic University folklorist Albert Wilmarth (Matt Foyer) is annoyed by the rumors that the floods in Vermont have dredged up corpses of monsters. Investigator Nathaniel Ward (Matt Lagan) urges Wilmarth to be careful. Rich playboy adventurer Charlie Tower (Stephen Blackhart) finds it all amusing. And believer in the unknown Charles Fort (Andrew Leman) urges Wilmarth to keep an open mind. In the midst of all this, Wilmarth get a visit from George Akeley (Joe Sofranko) with evidence of the monsters -- and of their activities. His father, Henry Akeley (Barry Lynch), has been besieged on his Vermont farm by some sort of flying creatures, and he sent his son George to enlist Wilmarth's help.

The second part of The Whisperer in Darkness follows the original tale pretty closely, as Wilmarth heads up to Vermont to help Henry Akeley. There are assorted people he meets along the way, from the overly theatrical driver P.F. Norris (Daniel Kaemon) to the nervous farmer Will Masterson (Caspar Marsh) and his young daughter Hannah (Autumn Wendel). Then there's the meeting with Henry, who is quite ill and stationary -- and whose change in attitude only adds to the mystery (until the big reveal, of course).

The third act of this movie combines the horrors of the original with an action movie. Gunshots! Cultists! Monsterous Mi-Go! Chases! Alien technology! Melodrama! A desperate last stand! This part of the movie may put off purists, but it continues past the normal Lovecraftian dramatic revelation to give the audience a sense of action in the face of the horrors discovered in the remote Vermont mountains. It's tense, it's unpredictable, and in its own way it's as horrifying as what came before.

The Whisperer in Darkness is another excellent adaption from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. While the melodrama was a little overdramatic at times, Matt Foyer does an excellent job as Albert Wilmarth, the bookish scholar and skeptic who soon finds himself immersed in a situation far over his head. The combination of the black-and-white filming and near-omnipresent rain make this feel like a pulp film from the 1920s, and even the CGI monsters look and move like creatures from the old films. And the dvd extras -- over two and a half hours! -- show the creativity and passion that went into making this on a very low budget, from the miniatures to the constant rain to creating the Mi-Go. If you love Lovecraft and/or classic horror, you should definitely check out The Whisperer in Darkness.

Overall grade: A-

Reviewed by James Lynch

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