Friends, the World can be a tough place. Certainly most of us are aware of this. Frequently unfair and mean as well as cynical. Granted when we step back and look at it logically. We know of course that we can count on friends and family to offset the woes we experience. To say nothing of the simple joys one might discover on the internet. Say like the merging of the writings of H.P. Lovecraft and the musical skills of Billy Joel? Or as singer and song-writer, Julian Velard, so eloquently described it. H.P. Joelcraft…of course!
“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.”
I’m not sure if H.P. Lovecraft would be as enamored with H.P. Joelcraft as I am. But I can at the very least say this mashup of Lovecraft’s Nemesis with Joel’s 1973 Piano Man is incredibly entertaining.
We have to thank Birth. Movies. Death. for the heads up on this delicious madness. Who in turn were surprised to find a tweet by Captain Video. Who posted a rather interesting discovery a few days back. The good Captain realized that Lovecraft’s 1917 poem Nemesis possessed the same meter as Joel’s Piano Man!
Thanks once again to Birth. Movies. Death. the wheels were put into motion to have this actually put to music. Except to their surprise it had already been accomplished. Julian Velard had in fact just uploaded H.P. Joelcraft to SoundCloud. Just the other day, H.P. Joelcraft, was released on YouTube as well. While Julian Velard admits he had to trim a few lines of the poem to work – the spirit of the poem is still intact.
Now without further ado, my friends. Straight from his headlining performance for a third Eon in R’lyeh. Enjoy H.P. Joelcraft’s hit Nemesis!
While I have certainly been a fan of the works of H.P. Lovecraft for quite some time. Thanks in fact to 1985’s Re-Animator. I do not believe the now quite famous author would ever have expected that his works would be adapted into film. Much less two CGI animated movies from Shout! Factory. Which are based on the graphic novels by Dwight L. MacPherson and Bruce Brown from 2009. But that certainly is what has happened with Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom. Which is actually a sequel to the 2016 movie entitled Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom.
In the Howard Lovecraft series we are introduced to the future author as a young boy. As well as quickly finding out that the stories we love are actually entities and people that Howard Lovecraft had met in his youth. In the first adventure our hero reads from his Father’s book. An odd tome that describes a darkly fantastic realm named R’yleh. Doing so conjures a portal that sends Lovecraft into the path of Thu Thu Hmong.
Of course Howard is a young boy and he surely can’t be expected to pronounce that properly, right? So that is how this ancient and very wise entity comes to be called by a much simpler name. Spot. The duo set out to tackle the dangers of the Frozen Kingdom and beyond.
Peppered throughout both films are not just nods to Lovecraft’s works. But actual biographical information of the author is included as well. Of course since this is a family film, some facts are softened. In particular I refer to Howard Lovecraft visiting his Father in the Butler sanitarium. While the filmmakers have altered the works of the author to entertain a younger audience. As well as of course the cosmic entities that threaten our heroes. On the whole it does deliver a tasty Lovecraftian treat.
I think you will immediately pick up on the animation of the films. This is not Pixar of course. On the other hand it is certainly serviceable. However the real draw to both movies is the voice talent. You have the likes of the legendary Christopher Plummer as Dr. West. Ron Perlman as a Shoggoth. Then we have Hellraiser‘s Doug Bradley providing the voice of Nyarlathotep. None other than Mark Hamill as Dr. Henry Armitage. And last but certainly not least we have Jeffrey Combs of Re-Animator fame!
Speaking of Combs, he is really the only bonus feature provided for this release, beyond a trailer. It is a nice addition however nonetheless. A short segment in which the actor talks about the continuing popularity of Lovecraft’s work.
Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom will be available in stores on December 5th. If you cannot wait until this upcoming Tuesday however you can of course hop on over to Shout Factory and pre-order your copy today!
Now that you know about Howard Lovecraft why not enjoy this audio treat? Roddy McDowall reading H.P. Lovecraft’s The Hound
Ghost Stories of an Antiquary – Volume II is an upcoming graphic novel. An Adaptation of four of M.R. James’ supernatural tales of terror. By the way of Leah Moore and John Reppion, under Self Made Hero in fact but published by Abrams Books. M.R. James has been cited as being an influence on the works of both H.P. Lovecraft as well as Stephen King.
The esteemed M.R. James – medievalist scholar as well as writer of ghost stories!
With it being October of course, what better way to celebrate the season than with some of James’ stories? Because with the second volume of Ghost Stories of an An Antiquary you get a nice selection from the author’s work.
With Number 13, illustrated by George Kambadais. We are introduced to a young man named Mr. Anderson. Who has arrived at the Golden Lion inn in Viborg, Denmark. A researcher who certainly uncovers something startling. Whilst checking on his fellow lodgers he discovers there is no room numbered 13 listed in the available rooms. Except if that is the case…why does Mr. Anderson pass a room marked 13? As well as the mystery of the singing and laughing from behind a door to a room that isn’t supposed to exist?
Next up in Ghost Stories of an Antiquary – Volume II is Count Magnus! Illustrated by Abigail Larson it is the tale of one Mister Wraxall. A travel guide writer. Mr. Wraxall is visiting Sweden for research on an upcoming book. However the man instead learns of the bloody handed legacy of the titular Count Magnus. A fearsome man who it was rumored was to be on a ‘Black Pilgrimage’. In addition to causing enough fear to warrant three large padlocks on his place of rest. What might happen if those padlocks were to be opened?
Some doors are not meant to be open!
Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad is the third entry. In addition this is a story by M.R. James that I know well thanks to a television adaptation. This story which is illustrated by Al Davison concerns Professor Parkins, who is on holiday. While the Professor might intend to spend time playing rounds of golf, he uncovers an odd item located in a burial site. What was once a Templar preceptory hides a whistle. Being an educated man and scorning of what some might deem superstitious. Parkins blows the whistles. Twice. Being a ghost story it shouldn’t surprise you that something answers the call, right?
Professor Parkins is going to learn to keep an open mind!
The last story presented in Ghost Stories of an Antiquary – Volume II is The Treasure of Abbot Thomas. Illustrated by Meghan Hetrick. In this tale we meet Antiquarian, Mr. Somerton, who follows the trail of a coded message. Which in fact is hidden within a stained glass window in the Abbey of Steinfeld in Germany. Furthermore the reason for this coded message is it is said to lead to a hidden treasure. Somerton and his trusted servant, Mr. Brown – are able to decipher the clues which lead to an abandoned well that once belonged to Abbot Thomas. A well that curiously indeed contains steps that lead down into the darkness…as well as a guardian.
It is the fourth tale that is very much like the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, friends. It is probably my favorite of them all. But each one does represent a wonderful type of ghost story by the way. If you find you need a little something to help you get into the spirit of the season. Ghost Stories of an Antiquary – Volume II comes out this Tuesday. Or instead you can order a copy for yourself by following the link to Abrams books.
Now that you now what to expect from Ghost Stories of an Antiquary. Why not watch the 1968 television adaptation for Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad?
Rejoice, Fright Fans as The Resurrected is finally being given its Blu-Ray release. Thanks of course to our friends from Scream Factory! Just in time when our thoughts began to turn to things Halloween. Furthermore The Resurrected is based on H.P. Lovecraft’s The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward!
The Resurrected boasts some incredible talents. For example in front of the camera you have the likes of Chris Sarandon (Fright Night). As well as John Terry (Hawk the Slayer, Lost). Rounding out the cast are Jane Sibbett (Herman’s Head) and Robert Romanus (Fast Times at Ridgemont High). The film is directed by the late and great Dan O’Bannon (Alien, Return of the Living Dead).
I will admit that back in my youth, while working at the local video store. I knew of The Resurrected. However for some reason I never actually rented the film itself. I think it might actually have had to do with the VHS cover of the time. While I certainly knew of Chris Sarandon thanks to 1985’s Fright Night I wasn’t aware of the Lovecraft connection.
The story for The Resurrected concerns a private investigator named John March (Terry). Who takes a case for a distraught Claire Ward (Sibbett) concerning her husband, Charles Dexter Ward (Sarandon). Claire is quite worried about her husband’s actions lately. The scientist’s late night disappearances as well as working with an odd Doctor, they have led her to hire John to find out the truth. Lonnie (Romanus) is John’s right-hand man who aids in uncovering disturbing things about Ward.
There is also that matter regarding the portrait found of Charles’ kinsman, Joseph Curwen.
It would appear that Charles isn’t exactly feeling quite himself anymore. That might have more than a little to do with finding his lost kinsman’s diary. Which as it turns out contains the secrets of achieving immortality. But who is to stay that gift is meant for Ward and the betterment of humanity?
So what did I think of The Resurrected?
O’Bannon crafted a very well done H.P. Lovecraft adaptation. And trust me, I know there are more than a few bad film adaptations of the author’s work out there. While it may indeed have been an early 90s movie, it feels like it came from the 80s. The horrors slowly pay themselves out, including generous doses of blood and gore. All of the elements wrapped in a quasi-noir movie.
What about the Scream Factory extra features?
You can rest easy. They have most definitely added worthy special features. Although I was shocked they didn’t include in the listed extras, the fact they have a clip from the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards. Featuring none other than Bruce Campbell and Quentin Tarantino, presenting the award to Dan O’Bannon for The Resurrected.
2K transfer from the film’s vaulted interpositive film element
Claire’s Conundrum – an interview with actress Jane Sibbett
The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward – an interview with S.T. Joshi, author of I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft
Audio Commentary with producers Mark Borde and Kenneth Raich, screenwriter Brent V. Friedman, actor Robert Romanus and make-up effects artist Todd Masters
The Resurrected Man – an interview with Chris Sarandon
Abominations & Adaptations – an interview with screenwriter Brent Friedman
Grotesque Melodies – an interview with composer Richard Band
Lovecraftian Landscapes – an interview with production designer Brent Thomas
Human Experiments – an interview with special effects artist Todd Masters
Deleted and Extended Scenes from the workprint
Home Video Trailer & Japanese Trailer
The good news is you can head out today and pick up a copy of The Resurrected for yourself. Although if you are worried about the gruesome horrors that might be lurking outside your door. You can hop on over to Scream Factory and place your order online!
If you’re in the mood for the moon, or perhaps for awakening eldritch horrors, this is your week, soundtrack collecting friends.
There’s a new soundtrack out for a movie based on some classic H.P. Lovecraft lore, and if you’ll pardon the expression, it’s a great old one. Intrada this week brings us Richard Band’s complete score from 1986’s From Beyond, including alternate recordings of some of the movie’s cues. Alternates are an interesting glimpse into the compositional process, a look at how a scene could’ve played out musically…but didn’t. Maybe it’s a slight shift in arrangement, maybe it’s a total rethink of the piece of music from the ground up.
Oh, but it gets better – since Intrada has rolled out a new release that combines Lovecraft and Richard Band and Jeffrey Combs, why not offer a special deal on another soundtrack that has all of those things in one place? The already-released Richard Band score from 1985’s Re-Animator can be yours for 15% off – with or without the purchase of From Beyond – if you use the coupon code BEYOND at checkout.
Now let’s go to the moon. Many an ardent fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation will tell you that the show’s music was much better in its first four seasons on the air thanks to composer Ron Jones, whose tendency to buck the showrunners’ very strict ideas on music didn’t exactly endear him to them, and they simply stopped engaging his services toward the end of the fourth season, even though he’d given the show its most celebrated score (1990’s fan favorite two-parter The Best Of Both Worlds). Jones has since moved on to Family Guy, happily leaving space behind…until the makers of a new documentary about the space program sent him back into orbit.
Jones’ score from Fight for Space can now be brought down to Earth from Amazon’s digital music service. (No CD release is planned at this time.)
If you’re looking for a more fanciful trip to the moon, however, Kritzerland Records brings us John Scott’s classic score from 1967’s Jules Verne’s Rocket to the Moon (released in the U.S. as Those Fantastic Flying Fools in an attempt to grab the coattails of Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines). This soundtrack was released…in 1967…on vinyl…in the UK. Chances are, for most soundtrack collectors, this is their first realistic shot at owning this one. Scott was near the beginning of his career here, prior to such high-profile assignments as The Final Countdown, Greystoke: The Legend Of Tarzan, and King Kong Lives, and this score makes it easy to see how he started climbing the Hollywood ladder so quickly.
Coming next week: the late, great Elmer Bernstein rides again with The Sons Of Katie Elder. Tune in next time, true believers.
Speaking of showbiz and soundtracks, it’s time for the penultimate installment of the Retroist Scoreboard Glossary, giving you the lingo that crops up so often in discussion of collecting soundtracks.
The Retroist Scoreboard: The Industry & The Hobby & Some Acronyms
AFM (American Federation of Musicians) – the trade union of session musicians hired to perform film scores in the United States, the AFM represents its members in negotiations for the release or reuse of their music, and as such wields considerable power in the soundtrack industry. The AFM contends – quite rightly – that if labels or the directors/studios of later movies wish to make use of music already recorded, the musicians who performed in those recordings should benefit from that continued use as well. The AFM was responsible for establishing the approximately 45-minute “ceiling” on the amount of music on most soundtrack albums through the ‘90s (and, as such, can be inadvertently thanked for making complete or expanded score reissues necessary in the first place). Negotiations between the AFM and Film Score Monthly (FSM) in the late ‘90s led to the industry-standard 3,000 copy limited edition that has become the norm for boutique soundtrack labels, though that limit can also be said to have created the secondary market for limited edition soundtrack releases.
Film Score Monthly (FSM) – the long-running periodical publication of the film music collecting hobby, Film Score Monthly was founded as a fanzine in 1990 by Lukas Kendall, became a glossy professional publication in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, before going digital (like many other print magazines) more recently. Film Score Monthly also became, chiefly in the 2000s, a soundtrack label unto itself, releasing such classic film scores as The Dirty Dozen, Logan’s Run, THX-1138, Ben-Hur, Patton, Heavy Metal, and dozens of others, though Kendall opted to cease operating as a label several years ago. Some out of print FSM titles are now worth serious money on the secondary market.
Holst – in soundtrack collecting circles, you hear a lot about Gustav Holst (1874–1934), the composer of The Planets (Op. 32) orchestral suite, which was not a soundtrack. But Holst’s unique style, especially the opening bars of “Mars, Bringer Of War” (The Planets’ first movement), has had a profound influence on orchestral scoring. You can clearly hear its influence on John Williams’ Star Wars (and, via Williams’ influence on later generations of composers, to much more recent fare), and various filmmakers and composers have even licensed and incorporated snippets of The Planets into their own scores, such as The Right Stuff. (Director Nicholas Meyer originally wanted to track Star Trek VI with The Planets, but the cost of licensing the music from the Holst estate ruled that out; see tracking.)
Korngold – a descriptive term derived from the name of legendary film composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957), who all but invented the full-blooded orchestral film scoring tradition for movies with fantasy settings, bestowing a brassy, heraldic sound upon The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938) and Captain Blood (1935). (The irony of it is that, if Robin Hood was a real person, the dominant music of that period in history would likely have been plainchant, not a brass section.) Korngold is often pointed out a major influence on most later film music composers, including one John Williams; over half a century after his death, his name has become a verb among some film music fans (“wow, he was really Korngolding it on that movie!”).
Perpetuity Rights – in the early days of the specialty soundtrack label (namely, the 1990s), small labels such as Varese Sarabande and GNP Crescendo negotiated the rights to film and TV scores they released in perpetuity – no other label can release that soundtrack. Ever. This has an effect on reissues in that, unless that label releases an expanded or complete score later itself, there’s now an additional party to pay in reissuing/expanding a previously partially released score. This was a major issue with La-La Land’s 2012 release of the 15-CD complete music collection from classic Star Trek: GNP Crescendo had to be paid because it had locked down the soundtrack rights for the scores from the original series. This behind-the-scenes negotiation is invisible to the buying public, but may substantially increase the price they pay for a reissue.