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Film

H.P. Lovecraft once revealed his favourite films of all time

@Russellisation

Known as one of the greatest science fiction authors of all time, the imagination of the American writer H.P. Lovecraft truly knew no bounds, giving birth to some of the most iconic mythical creatures of all time including Cthulhu, Azathoth and Dagon. Conjured from the nightmarish depths of Lovecraft’s twisted fantasies, the author went on to pioneer a whole genre of storytelling that he would never witness the true power of. 

Outlining the physical matter of a horrifying creature or ethereal being with illusive description, Lovecraft conjured otherworldly beings that were difficult to even comprehend by the understanding of the human mind. Playing on the fears of the unknown universe and humanity’s helpless position in the face of such untold horrors, the writing on Lovecraft inspires both visceral fear and baffling bewilderment. 

Despite passing away before the Second World War in 1937, the writer still had a passion for the movies, a medium that would soon adopt his style and create such classics as The Thing, Re-Animator and more. Speaking to Reinhardt Kleiner in 1915, the writer stated, “I am a devotee of the motion picture…some modern films are really worth seeing, though when I first knew moving pictures their only value was to destroy time”. 

Fascinatingly, Lovecraft was such a lover of cinema that he often discussed his favourite films, with a list of his top picks being put together by The H.P Lovecraft Archives

Understandably, each of the films mentioned were released before 1937, with Lovecraft noting three as particular favourites. The first was Berkeley Square from 1933, a film by director Frank Lloyd that followed a young American man who is transported to London at the time of the American revolution. Speaking to J. Vernon Shea about the film in February 1934, Lovecraft stated, “It is the most weirdly perfect embodiment of my own moods & pseudo-memories that I have ever seen”.

The second film noted was Don Quixote by Georg Wilhelm Pabst, a film that Monty Python director Terry Gilliam recently adapted with Adam Driver, following a man who goes mad from reading too many books on chivalry. “The one really first-rate thing I’ve seen since last February is Don Quixote—genuine art from start to finish, without a false note,” Lovecraft lamented in conversation with J. Vernon Shea in 1935. 

Though nine films occupy Lovecraft’s list, the final of his most gushing reviews came for the 1936 crime drama Winterset, with the writer telling James F. Morton in March 1937 that it was “impressively good despite the absurdly slipped-in happy ending…Actually, the effect was truly powerful”.

Take a look at the full list of Lovecraft’s all-time favourite films, below.

H.P. Lovecraft’s favourite films of all time:

  • All Quiet on the Western Front (Lewis Milestone, 1930)
  • The Barretts of Wimpole Street (Sidney Franklin, 1934)
  • Berkeley Square (Frank Lloyd, 1933)
  • Cavalcade (Frank Lloyd, 1933)
  • David Garrick (Frank Lloyd, 1916
  • Don Quixote (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1933)
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream (William Dieterle, Max Reinhardt, 1935)
  • Strange Interlude (Robert Z. Leonard, 1932)
  • Winterset (Alfred Santell, 1936)