"Beyond the Wall of Sleep"
H.P. Lovecraft movies
are generally a good bet.
There really are only a handful of them, and most of them turned
out well. There are the great Jeffrey Combs performances of the
"Re-Animator" series, the romp that was "From Beyond",
and even "Necronomicon", which had its pluses.
Let's be charitable about things and not bring up "Dagon".
And those of you bringing up “Cthulhu Mansion,” hey
now, that wasn’t really that bad. Especially when you stack
it up against “Dagon.”
But at any rate, "Beyond the Wall of Sleep" is going to
prove to be somewhere in between the polar extremes of "Re-Animator"
What we have here storywise is about par for the Lovecraftian course--lots
of quack science intermingled with insanity, lots of scientists
abusing their positions, and lots and lots of bloody messes. A "mountain
man", one of those living in the counterculture of the Catskill
Mountains around the 1920, is committed to the Ulster County Asylum,
following the brutal murder of his own family. The mountain man
in question has a succession of odd growths on his back, and as
the asylum probes the mountain man, soon it becomes apparent that
he's not what he looks to be. And that's when all hell breaks loose.
"Beyond the Wall of Sleep" looks to have everything it
needs to join that grand fraternity of choice Lovecraft. Especially
from the first five minutes--"Beyond the Wall of Sleep"
takes fullest advantage of that classic confused terror that is
the hallmark of pretty much anything H.P. Lovecraft ever did. From
the beginning, you are quite sure that something is very, very bad
wrong here...and yet, you have no real way of knowing just what
that something is. And despite your hopes, you will likely never
know just what it is that went wrong.
Only that it did.
Now there are more than a few horror fans out there who like their
stories clean and delineated. A start, a middle, a clear and obvious
end with maybe a couple nodded-at loose ends for sequel potential
down the line.
This is by and large not the standard operating procedure for Lovecraft
horror. The most horrendous enemies of reality will be brought into
play--possibly only for moments--before being banished to the realms
from whence they came and all like that. And who knows for how long?
Which is actually Lovecraft in the truest sense. The monsters are
truly monstrous--Freddy Krueger would probably wet himself if he
ever got a good look at Hastur, and even old Michael Myers would
start screaming and gibbering if put in the same room as the classically-described
Yog-Sothoth. They're only barely repulsed, and the chances that
they'll come back sometime in the near future are a pretty good
Which I'll confess isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea. It's
scary, make no mistake, but it's really more scary in the "think
about it" sense than it is the "huge evil monster jumps
out from the shadows and eats your sister's face" sense.
The ending is also pretty standard as Lovecraft goes--watch for
the classic appearance of squid-face Cthulhu as well as Amdusceus,
a fairly new player to the Lovecraftian horror scene.
The special features include filmmakers' commentary, English and
Spanish subtitles, storyboard gallery, audio options, a behind the
scenes featurette, and trailers for "Akeelah and the Bee",
"Madea's Family Reunion", "A Good Woman", "Minotaur",
"Maid Of Honor", "Beyond the Wall of Sleep",
and "The Graveyard".
All in all, it's Lovecraft. For better or for worse, it's genuine,
honest to goodness Lovecraft, with all its faults and foibles cleanly
intact. "Beyond the Wall of Sleep" may well be the most
representative example of Howard Philip's work to come out to video
stores in quite some time.
the Wall of Sleep
Directed by Barrett Klausman, Thom Maurer
Written by Barrett Klausman, Thom Maurer
Starring William Sanderson, Fountain Yount, Kurt Hargan, Rick Dial
Produced by Koko Polosajian
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