As the first film released by the recently founded Outlaw Films, The Last Lovecraft is a fun-filled indie film that has a bit more production capitol behind it than most, but still captures some of the same tongue-in-cheek clichés of its B-movie brethren. In fact, much to its credit, the film reminds me of Stuart Gordon’s early work in Lovecraft lore mixed with the nerdy comic book wit of Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel). The most obvious comparison to Gordon is the obvious fascination with adapting the tales of terror penned by H.P. Lovecraft, but the score by Michael Tavera is equally reminiscent of Richard Band who worked with Gordon on both Re-Animator and From Beyond.
As the film begins we are introduced to an ancient relic, evil cults, and a council of Lovecraft alum who have sworn to protect the world from the wrath of the dark god, Cthulhu. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Lovecraft, Cthulhu is essentially an ancient, squid-faced, sea monster with wings who has become quite infamous as one of the author’s most well-known mythos. The story of The Last Lovecraft draws on a light-hearted side of this mythic creature with a pretty creative comic book style backstory that explains both the character’s origins and sets the stage for the adventure that follows. Speaking of which, the film follows Jeff (Kyle Davis), a disgruntled Graphic Artist who’s unhappy in life, and his best friend Charlie (Devin McGinn), an enthusiastic comic nerd and aspiring creator, as they discover that Jeff’s hidden heritage as the last descendant of H.P. Lovecraft, fight the forces of fishy darkness, and save the world from Cthulhu’s eminent return to Earth.
From this point on the film feels very much like an extended episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer complete with similar visual effects and character types- there’s the a short-lived “Rupert Giles” kind of character in Professor Lake (Edmund Lupinski). There are a few continuity errors, and the transitions from different locations were kind of abrupt (and possibly unnecessary), but neither really ruin the overall experience. The real stand-out for me, though, would have to be the third wheel of the duo, Paul (Barak Hardley). Perhaps it was my inner nerd speaking, but Paul’s quirky personality mixed with his loyalty really proved to be quite endearing… not to mention the verbal exchange between him and his feisty grandmother are hilarious. He possess a bit of the same charm as Judah Friedlander (Feast, 30 Rock) or Zack Galifianakis.
If the film had one short coming, I would say that it’s climax falls a little short of what the story promises- going out more with a muffled gunshot than a bombastic explosion. The ending does help to soothe some of the disappointment and actually sets things up quite nicely for a sequel, should there ever be one, but this is one story that I think could have been more interesting if the protagonists had failed and needed to make things right again (kinda like the 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo). It’s still a great indie film, despite my nit-picking. McGinn and Saine deserve a lot of credit for creating such a well-realized (and fun) world and I definitely hope that they stick together to make more magic happen in the near future.