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The World of Lovecraft

A documentary film about the fantastic universe of H.P. Lovecraft

About the project

AN AMBITIOUS DOCUMENTARY FILM ABOUT THE FANTASTIC UNIVERSE

OF THE AMERICAN WRITER HOWARD PHILLIPS LOVECRAFT

IS AT LAST GOING TO BE MADE! 

 

The World of Lovecraft will be a documentary film about Howard Phillips Lovecraft, an American fiction writer who lived at the beginning of the 20th century. Led as an investigation, it will immerse the viewer into the universe of the famous writer and will analyse his work under various angles. It will address how it has influenced contemporary culture and how, nearly one hundred years after its publication, it resonates with some of the main concerns of our time, such as the environment or the dangers of Science.

The films will be directed by Marc Charley (La Transition d’Ulrich Zann, La Malédiction des Plumes) in collaboration with the professor emeritus and specialist of American literature and cinema Gilles Menegaldo. The aesthetic unity will be entrusted to Nicolas Fructus thanks to his work as a Lovecraftian illustrator.

Join the community of friends of the project and help it exist through your contribution!

AN  INVESTIGATIVE FILM

The World of Lovecraft will be made mostly of interviews of renowned experts of Lovecraft as well as writers, filmmakers and other artists who have been inspired by his work. These interviews will be punctuated by archive footage showing the places where Lovecraft lived (Providence) and where the action of some of his short stories takes place (Massachussets, Vermont) as well as extracts of films adapted from or inspired by them and fantasy illustrations of his works created by Nicolas Fructus. At times, the voice of an actor reading excerpts of these works will be heard.

In order for these various elements to be connected, they will be intertwined with a fictional investigative storyline which will allow to create a Lovecraftian atmosphere and to play with the viewer.

Lovecraft, for his own pleasure and that of his readers, created a fictional universe, with cosmic entities, imaginary cities and books, among them the famous Necronomicon or Al Azif. This ancient manuscript is quoted many times in his stories. Written in Arabic by Abdul Alhazred in 730 AD in Damascus, it is supposed to contain many secrets as well as formulas allowing to summon creatures and monster gods like Yog-Sothoth or Cthulhu. Therefore, most governments on the planet have banned it.

The book itself is said to drive its readers crazy...

According to Lovecraft (History of the Necronomicon, 1936), there are several versions of the Necronomicon written in different languages, Greek, Latin, English, German... The National Library of Paris owns a version in Latin, printed in Spain in the 17th century.

At the time when our story begins, this book has disappeared from the storehouses of the National Library of Paris. The management, distraught and unwilling to disclose the case, has hired a private investigator to discreetly locate the book. This pretext will trigger the investigation into the world of Lovecraft.

Of this investigator-narrator, dressed in a felt hat and raincoat, only the shadow or the silhouette will be seen, like Thompson, the Citizen Kane news reporter. Most of the time, a subjective camera will be the eyes of the investigator-narrator.

This investigator will enter into a fantastic library. Whether this library is imaginary or real, we shall not know. There, he will encounter various experts of Lovecraft (academics, folklorists, illustrators, writers, musicians, filmmakers...) by moving from one room to another, by pushing a door or a row of books hiding a staircase. 


This library will be designed by Nicolas Fructus and then built as a miniature model by Pierre-François Lucas (puppeteer, scenographer). It will have the general appearance of a nave where books will be stored on both sides and even under the ceiling. Doors, staircases, galleries, lamps will be part of the film set. Some elements will be painted in green (doors, picture frames...) to enable the embedding of other images, such as visuals of the interviewees, illustrations or landscapes of New England, the region where Lovecraft lived and where the action of some of his books takes place.

At the end, the investigator will understand that it is futile to search for the Necronomicon, since it is a book written by Lovecraft to entertain, but also manipulate his readers. Moreover, the computer file of the coveted book will disappear from the Library server at the end of the film. 

 

WHO IS HOWARD PHILLIPS LOVECRAFT?

 

Howard Philips Lovecraft (1890-1937), has become an icon of our contemporary culture. His work, at the frontier of science fiction, fantasy and horror, echoes the issues of our present time, such as religions and forbidden knowledge, myths, History and the fall of civilizations, the dangers of Science, the status of the human being and its future.

 

Even if the writer's life has been told in a number of biographies, the themes, the originality and the sources of his work have hardly ever been tackled on film.

 

WHO IS THIS FILM FOR ?

This film is meant for both the general public and the novelist's fans. Recently, Lovecraft's work entered the public domain. Since then, new editions, comics, role playing games and illustrations have been blooming out. New readers have emerged, eager to learn more. As to the older ones, those who have "fallen" into the world of Lovecraft, they will be happy to find an atmosphere that was that of their early readings.

We intend to have the film released all around the world through every channel of distribution: cinemas, television, internet platforms and DVD/Blu-Ray.

 

HOW TO HELP US ?

If you like this project, are passionate about the topic like us or simply find the idea worthwile, 

  • spread the word around you. Tell your friends that an ambitious documentary on H.P. Lovecraft is finally being developed.
  • Talk about it on social media, share the link, "like" the project page.
  • Help this film be made through your contribution and join the World of Lovecraft's community.
  • Choose a perk. Original artefacts have been designed especially for this project by our artistic director Nicolas Fructus, a well-known illustrator.

THANK YOU !

 

 

WHY ULULE ?

Ulule is a well-known platform, adapted to the needs of film related projects, with an international scope. Raising funds through crowdfunding will allow us to keep full creative freedom, by avoiding to tie ourselves to a broadcaster or a distributor at this initial stage of production.

What are the funds for?

                                                         YOUR CONTRIBUTION IS CRITICAL
                                                       TO THE SUCCESS OF THIS PROJECT!

                 

                                                      

 

The amount which we need to raise in order to fund the shoot of the film is € 30,000. This sum will enable us to shoot enough footage for a 60-minute film.

                                                      

Don’t hesitate to support the project even if the objective of € 30,000 is reached. Once the film is shot, it will still need to be edited and finalised, which will require an additional € 15,000.

                                                    

Our real ambition is to produce a 90-minute documentary which will include more material and tackle more themes than the 60 minute version. In order to achieve this, we shall have to shoot more footage, especially in New England, the region where Lovecraft lived all his life. The additional shoot and editing will require to raise another € 15,000.

                                                             

THE PERKS: A FEW ORIGINAL ARTEFACTS

 

1. DVD of the film "The World of Lovecraft" with bonuses

2. The poster of the film "The World of Lovecraft" (to be created by Nicolas Fructus)

3. The T-shirt of the film "The World of Lovecraft", which will use the visuals from the poster

4. The DVD of Marc Charley's short films

5. A framed print of an illustration to be created by Nicolas Fructus

6. Sculpture of the gate to the world of Lovecraft, made of wood and laser cut, 16 cm/6.3 inches high.

7. Bas-relief sculpture of the gate of R'lyeh, resin (visual: plastiline prototype)

 

About the project owner

THE TEAM

This project was born from the encounter of Marc Charley, filmmaker, Gilles Menegaldo, writer and scholar, and Nicolas Fructus, illustrator. They are all passionate about Lovecraft and have decided to pool their talents in order to create and ambitious, rich and original film.

MARC CHARLEY

Director

Marc Charley has been a Lovecraft enthusiast since his early days. One of his short films is adapted from the writer’s short story The Music of Erich Zann. His other films, The Curse of the Feathers, The Tomb, Special Train and Interview of Jean Croque, are inspired by his works and the mysterious and fantastic atmosphere which prevails in them.

GILLES MENEGALDO

Author, Interviewer

Emeritus Professor of the University of Poitiers, Gilles Menegaldo is a recognized specialist of fantasy and science fiction literature and cinema. He is the author of numerous books and articles, in particular on Lovecraft. For the film, he will gather the best specialists of Lovecraft and his work as well as artists, illustrators, filmmakers (S.T. Joshi and other English and American scholars, Lauric Guillaud, Éric Lysoe, Denis Mellier, Christophe Gans, Marc Caro, Philippe Druillet, Jean-Michel Nicolet, Emmanuel Carrère, Jean-Pierre Dionnet, David Camus, Christophe Thill, etc.)

NICOLAS FRUCTUS

Artistic director

A Graduate from the Émile Cohl School of Art and Design, Nicolas has been working in the field of fantasy illustration for more than twenty-five years. In particular, he has contributed to the creation of illustrated books such as KadathUn An dans les AirsJadis or Gotland. He has also been active in the fields of movies, video games, comic books or role-playing games. He has won numerous awards including the Best Artist Award from the European Science Fiction Society in 2019. Particularly inspired by Lovecraft’s universe, Nicolas will be the artistic director of the project and, among others, will design the model of the library.

ALAIN MONCLIN

Director of photography

A graduate from the Ecole Nationale Louis Lumière (known as Vaugirard), Alan is the author of the book Optique et Prises de Vues, Femis, 1995. He has earned many awards such as the Best Special Effects Award at the Chalon sur Saone Image Festival in 1989.

PIERRE-FRANÇOIS LUCAS

Decorator, puppeteer

A Fine Arts graduate, Pierre-François is the founder of the puppet company Les Cailloux Sensibles. He has worked with Marc Charley on many films. 

INÈS CALDERON

composer

IInès started playing the piano very early. She has composed the soundtracks of many documentaries for Canal Plus and Arte with her father Gérald Calderon and her brother Philippe Calderon.
"I am a fan of Lovecraft, I read his short stories regularly. In his tales, fear often is audible before being visual: chants, heavy beats coming from the heart of the earth, cries... all this is very inspiring for a musician..."



TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT

by Gilles Menegaldo

Howard Phillips Lovecraft's (1890-1937) literary status has evolved from that of amateur journalist and pulp writer to that of canonical writer, as illustrated by the recent publication of his work in the prestigious Library of America collection. His fiction includes an onirico-poetic vein inspired by Lord Dunsany and culminating in the "Kadath cycle", macabre tales inspired by Poe and located in New England, and more expanded narratives ("The Call of Cthulhu", "The Dunwich Horror", "At the Mountains of Madness", "The Shadow over Innsmouth", "The Shadow out of Time", etc.) which develop an original mythology (also called Cthulhu Mythos) but also a cosmogony. The place of Man in the universe is redefined and relativized within the framework of a "cosmic regionalism".

Lovecraft's work oscillates between mainstream literature and popular culture, but also borrows from various genres (fantasy, horror, SF), which also explains its current popularity. The writer has become one of the icons of our contemporary culture. For the past several decades now, his work has given rise to numerous serious or parodic literary rewritings, but it has also inspired Heavy Metal music groups, among others. There have been numerous adaptations of his works into films (Roger Corman, Stuart Gordon, John Carpenter, Guillermo del Toro’s project of adapting At the Mountains of Madness), comic strips and graphic novels (Alberto Breccia, Horacio Lalia, Richard Corben, Alan Moore, etc.), video games or role-playing games (Alone in the DarkPrisoner of IceNecronomicon, and the famous role-playing game The Call of Cthulhu which contributed  to Lovecraft's renewed popularity in the 1990s). Illustrated works have also flourished (in France: Philippe Druillet, Jean-Michel Nicollet, Nicolas Fructus, François Baranger etc.)

Recent publications have revealed the impact of the Lovecraftian imagination on scientific discourse and philosophy (e.g. Graham Harman's books). The new translations in France (David Camus, François Bon, etc.) have made it possible to rediscover Lovrecraft's work and to better bring out its wealth and complexity.

According to Michel Houellebecq, a great admirer of Lovecraft, about whom he wrote an essay: "It is rather curious that none of the many disciples of Lovecraft has been struck by this simple fact: the evolution of the modern world has made the Lovecraftian phobias even more present, even more alive". There would thus be a topicality of the work, even a paradoxical modernity in a writer who has never ceased to proclaim his "horror of modernity" (China Miéville).

Images play a dynamic role in this rediscovery of Lovecraft, from cinema to video games, offering fresh perspectives to current generations in a context of resurgence of Gothic, horror and fantasy.

Although the author's life is now well known thanks, in particular, to S.T. Joshi, one of Lovecraft's great specialists (whose monumental biography has recently been translated into French by ActuSF), although Lovecraft’s fiction has already been the subject of numerous critical works, only few documentaries have been devoted to him (Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown, Frank H. Woodward, 2009, Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Alain Trividic and Patrick Mario Bernard, 1998) and none ot them is truly satisfactory from a cinematic point of view.

Therefore, this documentary film project aims at filling a gap and at offering a new approach of Lovecraft's fictional universe and its multifaceted influence on various aspects of contemporary culture and art. The film will consist mostly of interviews of various specialists of Lovecraft as well as writers, artists and filmmakers. Yet, it will also have a fictional arc and approach with the presence of the narrator-investigator and the imaginary library, enabling to recreate Lovecraftian moods visually and aurally.

 

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