An amazing number of modern horror writers pay tribute to H.P. Lovecraft, the man who blended elements of science fiction, horror, and nihilism to give us a world where we are helpless and insignificant before forces we can never hope to and shouldn't even try to understand. In the world of Lovecraft the Old Ones wait until the stars are right to return from their exile and reclaim this universe. Cthulhu will rise from his slumber beneath the sea, from the sunken city of Ryleh, and with his resurrection, Yog-Sototh, Shub-Niggurath, Hastur, and the other dieties will return to revel in Chaos reborn.
Great stuff. The mythos has penetrated popular culture through the writings of Robert Bloch, Brian Lumley. Ramsey Campbell, August Derleth, Stephen King, Paul F. Wilson, and many others. It has even penetrated the pages of comic books...Batman's Arkham Asylum is a direct tribute to H.P. Lovecraft, the name Arkham being taken from a town created by Lovecraft.
With all this being said, why have we had no films that have been true to the original source? Where is a major studio production of "Call of Cthulhu", or Lovecraft's "At The Mountains of Madness"? The best we've been able to do is pull elements of Lovecraft and tack them to horror stories for effect. Carpenter's "At The Mouth of Madness" immediately comes to mind. "Hellboy" had strong mythos elements in it. Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead" trilogy was a loving tribute to the master. HBO produced a film noir tribute to Lovecraft entitled: "Cast A Deadly Spell", which was more an urban fantasy than anything else, but fun.
But for all that, attempts at filming Lovecraft's works have been miserable failures. Just rent such titles as "The Dunwich Horror", "From Beyond" "Die Monster Die", "The Haunted Palace", and "Dagon". And don't get me started on any of the drecht produced by Stuart Gordon. The best Lovecraft title produced so far is "The Resurrected", which is an interpretation of "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward".
So what is it? Why can't Hollywood get it right. Obviously Lovecraft has a following, not just among fans but among people who write and create film. In the past I would have acknowledged that special effects made "Call of Cthulhu" or "At the Mountains of Madness" unreachable for most filmmakers. But with digital effects, that's just no longer true. If they can bring "Lord of the Rings" to the screen, they can do ANYTHING.
So HOLLYWOOD, I'm over here waving my arms, give us a terrifying, well-produced version of "Dunwich Horror". Spielberg, how about taking on "At The Mountains of Madness", you're a natural for the project. Raimi, now that Spiderman has given you all the freedom you want, why not do "Call of Cthulhu"?
Hey, I'm only asking.
And if you haven't read Lovecraft...go read. Enjoy. Discover. Also, you might find a few of these links of value:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._P._Lovecraft(God bless wikipedia)
The Lovecraft Archives
Role-play gamers might want to check this out
And a magazine with Lovecraftian flavor, DARK WISDOM