by BEN KROMER & r & & r & The Call of Cthulhu & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & A & lt;/span & s I type this, the Cthulhu toy I paid $25 for watches me from atop a tower of books, comic and otherwise. About half the books were either written by or influenced by H.P. Lovecraft. They're right next to an enormous quantity of DVDs, which is the other place my money goes. Lots of the DVDs have a Lovecraft influence, but not one is an adaptation of one of his stories. My point? I'm a huge dork. But take it from me: None of the previous Lovecraft movies have been worth buying, but The Call of Cthulhu pleases me greatly.

It's a straightforward adaptation of Lovecraft's most famous story, and it's done as a 1920s silent film, as if the story had been adapted right after it was published in the pulps. The filmmakers really sell it, too. Some of the visuals are brilliant (in a retro way) and the silent-film motif is completed by an orchestral score and actors who mimic the stagy acting style of long ago. Even the DVD's FBI warning looks ancient.

Since I'm a professional movie critic, you might assume I get my voluminous knowledge of film and film history by watching a lot of old or foreign crap. Actually I just watch Terminator 2: Judgment Day over and over again and pretend to watch other movies. What I'm getting at is that I don't know enough about silent films to properly critique one. For what it's worth, it's definitely more fun to watch than Nosferatu or Birth of a Nation. At this point, it's the best Lovecraft adaptation on film, and that should be critique enough for cultists. For non-fans, at least it's a unique viewing experience and a fair initiation into Lovecraft's world.

If you are one of the uninitiated, you must please believe me: When the Old Ones come down to Earth from the spaces between the stars, they won't be taking "I never heard of H.P. Lovecraft" for an answer. The horrors they unleash will make your petty Christian Hell seem like Candyland, and before your feeble mind releases you into mercifully uncomprehending madness, you'll think: "I should have bought that damn DVD."

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