Summer of Lovecraft

- Ian Berriman

RELEASED 9 JANUARY 1970 | 15 | Blu-ray

Director Daniel Haller

Cast Sandra Dee, Dean Stockwell,

Ed Begley, Lloyd Bochner

BLU-RAY DEBUT After success with Edgar Allan Poe movies, American Internatio­nal Pictures decided to give HP Lovecraft a try. This was director Daniel Haller’s second such effort (and AIP’S third).

In the original story, an occultist steals a copy of the Necronomic­on to help open a door to the realm of the Old Ones. This very loose adaptation retains basic components and dials up the sauce, adding the sacrifice of a pretty blonde (Sandra Dee); this involves much orgasmic liplicking. It also turns Wilbur Whateley (“exceedingl­y ugly” on the page) into Dean Stockwell’s softly-spoken seducer, all corduroy, big brown eyes and immaculate­ly trimmed moustache.

Haller has a good eye for compositio­ns with depth – the camera’s forever lurking behind a display case or desktop clutter – and exotica great Les Baxter’s score is pleasingly grandiloqu­ent. Featuring psychedeli­c colours and dream sequences with orgiastic flower-children, it’s Lovecraft for the hippie generation, an approach that now seems charmingly retro. You may want to light a joss stick.

Extras Lovecraft-lovers Guy Adams and Alexandra Benedict provide amusing commentary; expect much joshing and many ripe enunciatio­ns of “my darling”. Novelist Ruthanna Emrys explains changes to the story (16 minutes).

Music historian David Huckvale plays cues on the piano (32 minutes), pointing out diminished fifths and echoes of Bach and Handel. A Zoom chat between film writer Stephen R Bissette and horror author Stephen Laws lasts over two hours. Y’know, sometimes less is more… Plus: trailer; gallery; booklet.

The Arkham College scenes were shot around the University of Southern California’s Mudd Hall of Philosophy.

 ?? ?? As Frank Booth says, he is one suave motherf – er, man.
As Frank Booth says, he is one suave motherf – er, man.

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