Sunday, November 9, 2014

Pickman's Muse (2010)

Pickman's Muse isn't so much a straight adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft story as it is an amalgam of Lovecraftian themes, although it borrows heavily from two stories - Pickman's Model, and The Haunter of the Dark. The former is a compelling but not very long or complex story about a painter who recreates horrific visions on the canvas with a realism that casts doubt on their origins purely within the realm of imagination. The latter is a story of a man who becomes obsessed with an abandoned church where he finds a device to summon an evil creature of darkness into the world that can't stand the light.

Pickman's Muse is frustrating because it does some things very right, and others very wrong. It creates a good atmosphere, and does a good job of describing (and depicting) the psychological effects of coming into contact with one of Lovecraft's cosmic horrors. On the other hand, talking about horrible paintings and not being able to see them works much better in the written format, as staring at the back of a canvas for most of the movie is rather disappointing. Even at a short eighty minutes, the movie still manages to drag a bit, as there is not a lot of action. But the movie's worst crime is its distractingly amateurish acting, which contributes to an overall feeling of cheapness to the production.

It's too bad, really, because this adaptation seems intent on really evoking the horror of a Lovecraft story, in a way that feels more successful than a lot of Lovecraft adaptations I've seen so far. Considering Lovecraft's reputation, and the fact that he was such a gifted and inspired writer of the macabre, it's a shame that there aren't more big-budget, faithful adaptations of his stories. (There appear to be more than enough cheapies of dubitable quality). But, like Silent Hill, I imagine it might be true that the best Lovecraftian movies out there aren't adaptations of his stories, but loosely inspired or altogether unrelated tales that nevertheless evoke the same themes that Lovecraft's stories thrive on. Finding them, though, could be difficult.

No comments:

Post a Comment