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by Rob Gonsalves

"Good for 6 to 12 minutes at a time. 6 to 12 minutes, Mr. West."
4 stars

Lovecraft fans are some of the most annoying people on earth when it comes to film adaptations of their guy's stories. True, H.P. hasn't enjoyed a very good track record in cinema — perhaps because so much of his work is essentially unfilmable. But when Lovecraft geeks whine about "The Re-Animator," a fun-as-hell movie by any standard, they're missing the point. Still, the horror-comedy anthology "LovecraCked!" seems determined to piss off Lovecraft die-hards.

What we have here is a real mixed bag: a few memorably weird and serious short films inspired by Lovecraft, linked by a strenuously unfunny running bit in which an "investigative reporter" roams around trying to find out what made Lovecraft Lovecraft. Occasionally this linking stuff is mildly amusing, as when the reporter interviews Troma honcho Lloyd Kaufman (who's oblivious to the whole Lovecraft angle). But for the most part it's just padding, and I wished they could've just offered the short films without the attempts at humor.

Jane Rose's "The Statement of Randolph Carter" kicks things off nicely with an atmospheric (if a bit campy) chiller that gets its charge out of barely-glimpsed horrors. Justin Powers' one-joke "History of the Lurkers," which re-imagines Lovecraft's Lurkers as pervs, goes on way past its sell-by date. Tomas Almgren's "BugBoy" takes a jilted-lover story and turns it into something slimy and Cronenbergian. Brian Barnes' "Witch's Spring," which follows a lonely guy's encounter with a literal femme fatale, is almost the flip side of "BugBoy." Ashley Thorpe's "Remain" is a whacked-out dark visual party reminiscent of Kyle Cooper's opening-credits work for Seven and other films.

Grady Granros' "Chaos of Flesh" plays like a variant of Bruce Jones and Berni Wrightson's classic comics story "Jenifer" (recently adapted by Dario Argento for Showtime's Masters of Horror). Simon Ruben's moody, Lynchian "Alecto" concerns a disturbed violinist. Doug Sakmann's "Re-Penetrator" is a shortened, edited softcore version of the horror-porn parody of the same name, enacted with sick bloody gusto. Finally, Brian Bernhard's "And This Was a Good Day" is a trippy cut-out journey that's like Terry Gilliam meets Big Daddy Roth.

It's packaged like a Troma laugh-fest, but the laughs (what few there are) aren't the reason to give "LovecraCked" a day in court. Many of the short films, while sometimes seemingly unconnected to Lovecraft, are intriguing mood pieces put together by newcomers who just might have a future. So shelve it with your other experimental-short DVDs, not with "Tromeo & Juliet" or "Dagon."

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15350&reviewer=416
originally posted: 09/08/06 12:14:47
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  24-Jul-2006 (NR)
  DVD: 01-Sep-2006



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