Category Archives: HPLHS

>It’s News to Me!

>While browsing through Comcast’s OnDemand service, I discovered that the “Preferred Collection” menu (found in both the “Free Movies” and “Premium Channels” sections) contains free movies that aren’t listed in any of the other movie categories. If you want to see films like Curse of the Demon and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, I highly recommend it!

Thanks to laughingsquid on Twitter, I found out that somebody made a fire-breathing Godzilla snow sculpture.

In other Godzilla news, IDW Publishing has worked out a deal with Toho to publish a comic book called Godzilla: Monster World. The comic, which will be released next month, will also feature appearances by other monsters from the Godzilla franchise! Licensing issues prevented that from happening in the Marvel and Dark Horse Godzilla comic book series, although this will not be the first time an original American comic book will feature other Toho monsters. That honor goes to Trendmasters’ one-shot comic book, although it would have happened sooner if Atlas Comics’ proposed Godzilla series had ever been realized. Hardcore fans will note that the promotional Godzilla vs. Megalon comic doesn’t count since it was a loose film adaptation rather than an all-new adventure.

Your dreams have come true…there is an Alien Pez dispenser.

The Warner Archive has released an official DVD-R of the rare Rankin-Bass/Tsuburaya Productions giant turtle movie, The Bermuda Depths. It’s right up there with Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and Legends of the Super Heroes in terms of highly sought after video rarities released by the Archive.

Someone is actually making a sequel to The Killer Shrews. I hope they either call it “Shrew Fast Shrew Furious” or The Killer Shrews: The Squeakquel.

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, best known to readers of this site as the makers of The Shadow Over Innsmouth audio drama and the “Scary Solstice” CD series, have announced that their film adaptation of “Whisperer in the Darkness” will premiere at this year’s H.P. Lovecraft film festival. Those booking a room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel to attend the festival should use the code “HPL” before checkout in order to get a nifty discount. For more information, please visit its official Facebook group and/or the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society Facebook group. Oddly enough, that last group posted a picture of a fungi-infected spider that nicely illustrates the sort of head structure Lovecraft intended for the Mi-Go of the story the film is based on.

Also on the Lovecraft front, Bang! Productions Ltd. and Colin Edwards have completed an audio movie version of Lovecraft story “The Dunwich Horror.” Although the concept of audio movies predates this adaptation, it does seem to be the first drama-style audio movie that is in 5.1 sound and plays in theaters (as opposed to “direct to CD/MP3” release). For more information, please visit the official website.

Finally, I’d like to announce that we have some updates coming to the site this year. Gravedigger’s Local 16 is in the process of being redesigned and moved to a new server. We’re also in the process of adding images to older articles. Although we originally only intended to add cover scans to old reviews, we’ve also been toying with the idea of putting pictures in other articles. Please let us know what you think of this, or anything else you would like to see here, by contacting the Front Office. While you’re writing, please feel free to discuss your favorite podcasts, as we’re in the process of creating an official Gravedigger’s Local 16 podcast with music, stories and more! More will be posted about this as it develops…

We Wish You a Mythos Christmas

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society has given the world a ton of cool Lovecraft-themed goodies, from the modern silent movie version of The Call of Cthulhu to the “Dark Adventure Radio Theatre” audio drama series (as covered in my review of The Shadow Over Innsmouth installment). They’ve even released not one, not three, but two Christmas albums! Both A Very Scary Solstice and An Even Scarier Solstice are chock-full of creeped up Christmas classics and the only thing scarier than the subject matter is just how good the singing is! But don’t take my word for it, just check out this fanmade video for “I Saw Mommy Kissing Yog-Sothoth” from A Very Scary Solstice by aabeeceed.

As if that wasn’t enough, the HPLHS also has a page with free sheet music and clips from the albums!

Merry Christmas!

The Shadow Over Innsmouth

You might remember the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society from my “Printable Halloween Decor” article or for their 2005 silent film, The Call of Cthulhu. Just as that “Mythoscope” film was designed to look like a 1920’s silent film (as the original story was written/published then), their Dark Adventure Radio Theatre CD series seeks to adapt Lovecraft tales in the style of old-time radio shows. To date, the series has adapted At the Mountains of Madness, The Dunwich Horror, The Shadow Out of Time, and The Shadow Over Innsmouth.

The Shadow Over Innsmouth is a tale of one man’s harrowing visit to a strange seaside (and mostly fictional) town in Massachusetts. The odd-looking inhabitants are very suspicious of outsiders and fiercely secretive about the practices of their religion, the Esoteric Order of Dagon. Rumors of the townspeople making sacrifices to and interbreeding with sea demons turn out to be more than the ramblings of the town drunk…

The HPLHS has put together a simply amazing audio adaptation in the grand tradition of horror-themed radio shows like Lights Out, Quiet, Please and Inner Sanctum Mysteries. Thanks to the acting and authentic-sounding opening sequence, one could easily pass this off as an episode of an obscure radio series to an unassuming listener. That is, until they get to the humorous “1931…plus 77” copyright notice. The tongue-in-cheek ads for the nonexistent Fleurs De Lys brand of cigarettes (a staple of the Dark Adventure Radio Theatre dramas) are an amusing callback to the days when cigarettes were supposedly good for you.

In order to make the story more suitable for the radio play style (and too add more dramatic impact than the lead simply reading the story), some changes had to be made. Whereas the original story frequently has the protagonist recap events and conversations he has, the audio drama opts to dramatize them. Similarly, the start of the play now features a fake clip of a radio news story on and interviews with the FBI agents raiding Innsmouth rather than the original’s narration about the events, which may remind listeners of Mercury Theatre on the Air’s infamous broadcast of The War of the Worlds. A framing story featuring an FBI agent interviewing the protagonist has been added to make the story end with “more of a bang,” as noted by the production blog. Occasionally, extraneous lines that didn’t add anything important from the story have been left out. This was most likely done to allow the audio to fit onto a single CD and only the most anal-retentive purist would be bothered by this. Truth be told, I only noticed their absence after the CD inspired me to read the original. As for the running time, The Shadow Over Innsmouth. clocks in at a little under 80 minutes, comparable to the length of the average feature-length film.

The acting and music are both top notch. The conversations all sound natural (or as natural as you can get with Lovecraft’s purple prose) and the rural Massachusetts accents are dead-on accurate. The actor playing Robert Olmstead will amaze you by how easily he can transition between the world-weary man tortured by what he has experienced at Innsmouth and the cheery, chuckling student he used to be. I was also impressed by the use of old-fashioned pronunciations for words like “roof,” which led to one person who overheard the audio play into thinking it was Canadian! Composer Troy Sterling Nies has put together a terrific score, which effectively enhances the both mood and sound effects. Their well-timed, minimal nature of the effects provide a sense suggestion that Lovecraft himself would have approved of. Given Lovecraft’s low opinion of this particular story, he might have even approved of the alterations made for this particular adaptation.

The Shadow Over Innsmouth comes with informative liner notes about the genesis of the story. As it turns out, the name “Robert Olmstead” was never used in the story and the name was found in H.P. Lovecraft’s old notes on the story. On top of that, the CD comes with an assortment of props similar to the “feelies” that came with old Infocom text adventure games.

The props include a “Newburyport Historical Society” postcard depicting some Innsmouth jewelery, a book of matches from the Gilman House Hotel (with a single unused match), a page torn from an old newspaper about the FBI raid, and a fish-scented scratch and sniff map drawn on First National Grocery paper. Like the liner notes, a lot of hard work and research was put into these. The actual logo and slogan from the now-defunct First National chain are used for the map and the fake newspaper clipping draws its design from the New York Evening Graphic, an out-of-print tabloid from the era. And if you carefully removed the custom security sticker, you also get an Esoteric Order of Dagon seal!

All in all, the props are very cool and do help the listener get a better connection to the story. Home haunters probably won’t have much use for them and would probably prefer the occult tome pages from the The Dunwich Horror and The Shadow Out of Time installments of the series. The props could also be used in a Lovecraft-themed RPG (be it tabletop or live action) or left where a Lovecraft neophyte could stumble upon them as a gag. Like the Infocom feelies, they can be thought of a a kind of copy protection (after all, you can’t torrent a scratch and sniff map). I also suspect they are the result of the HPLHS’ origins as a LARP group. Speaking of which the Fate of the Ancients episode mentioned at the end of the play is a reference to one of their old gaming sessions. Only time will tell if that adaptation will really happen.

Special thanks to the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society for the review copy!