The Last Lovecraft (2011)

Directed By: Henry Saine
Written By: Tom Konkle
  Devin McGinn
Starring: Devin McGinn
  Kyle Davis
  Barak Hardley
  Ethan Wilde
The Last Lovecraft

The Last Lovecraft is a thoroughly enjoyable, utterly silly, surprisingly bloody ode to the late, great H.P. Lovecraft. It is well acted but ridiculously cartoonish, the production values are ropey and the plot a giant mess, but it’s great fun for anyone who knows even a little about Lovecraft’s work.

I am going to write this review like you don’t know your Azathoth from your elbow, so apologies if I patronize any Lovecraft addicts. Don’t pummel me with Shoggoths! Millions of years ago, a gigantic monster called Cthulhu was trapped under the sea. In present day, the key for this prison is in danger of being discovered by one of Cthulu’s monstrous warriors called Starspawn, and the protectors of the relic-key are forced to deliver this precious item to the last descendant of H.P. Lovecraft, the original expert on the mythos of Cthulhu.

So who is the last descendant of Lovecraft? A kick-ass warrior? A supernerd with special abilities? Nope. A comic artist called Jeff (Kyle Davis), who’s stuck in a dead-end job in the middle of nowhere and has never even heard of Lovecraft. Convincing him that the relic is the real deal doesn’t take long as his home is promptly invaded by tentacled monsters and a horrific sucker-faced man!

Jeff flees and combines forces with his co-worker Charlie (Devin McGinn) and Lovecraft uber-geek Paul (Barak Hardley). The mis-matched trio set off on a journey to find the only survivor of a “deep one” attack, the mysterious Captain Olaf. Pursued by Starspawn (Ethan Wilde), his murderous pets and the entire cult of Cthulhu, Jeff and friends must defend the relic at all costs or the world will literally end…

You may be thinking; that plot sounds completely ridiculous. Well, it is. And it’s meant to be. The Last Lovecraft is essentially a comedy, and it plays out lightly and whimsically throughout. There are some wonderfully quotable lines (“have you ever been fish raped?”) and the evil red-faced demon monster Starspawn wears a t-shirt with a cartoon unicorn on it… which happens to be firing two uzi’s. It’s utterly silly and it’s meant to be – as long as you accept this and enjoy the slightly puerile good-humour you’ll enjoy it. If not, you’ll bloody hate it!

The Last Lovecraft never tries to be a classy piece of work, with crappy CGI, some genuinely terrible monster-costumes and a thin and meandering plot, but it is so much better than films of a similar ilk – such as My Name is Bruce and Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer – because it is charming and disarming and makes you really genuinely root for the heroes.

Devin McGinn, Kyle Davis and Barak Hardley all do excellently at creating mildly-baffled everyday blokes who’ve been thrown into a completely insane world they cannot possible survive in. Hardley seems to channel Zach Galifianakis from The Hangover, but is much more sensible and likeable because of it. The trio’s energy and camaraderie propel the movie forwards and it’s a pleasure to watch.

Now, some of you may be wondering who the hell H.P. Lovecraft is, and why he’s so damn important. Well, he was an American author who created the sub-genre of weird fiction, whose ideas have had a massive effect on culture and literature in general. Really? How? Well, remember the Necronomicon from Evil Dead? That’s Lovecraft. Arkham Asylum? Lovecraft’s creation. The Reanimator films? Lovecraft. John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness? Lovecraft. Board games, computer games, card games, television, film and literature have all been influenced by Lovecraft.

And Lovecraft is still influencing people today. Guess who’s making Lovecraft’s Mountains of Madness into a feature film? Guillermo Del Toro. And it’s being produced by James Cameron. Lovecraft is everywhere in modern culture – from Hellboy to World of Warcraft – you just don’t realize it. And The Last Lovecraft is a loving, funny, silly little homage to this great man and his work.

Silly, funny, bloody, poorly plotted and very shoddy in places; The Last Lovecraft contains much more love than craft, but it is ultimately a very enjoyable comedy-horror.

Rating: ★★★★★★½☆☆☆

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