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Eldritch Location: The Motion Picture - starring Eerie Scenery, as itself!

In general, what these films tend to share in common (besides tending toward being "indie art horror" vanity projects written by their directors) is one or more broken or frail characters who end up stepping into a bizarre landscape, where sinister, unexplainable (and usually unexplained) things begin happening. Is it a real location, tainted by some unexplained supernatural or Mythos weirdness, or a scientific experiment gone wrong? Is it a hallucinatory reflection of the characters' shattered minds? Is it a strange Dream World? Is it just a case of True Art Is Incomprehensible, or Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory? Don't expect any easy answers....

Though they are almost never based on any Lovecraft stories, and almost never contain any of the usual trappings of a stereotypical Lovecraft story (eldritch tomes, weird monsters, gruesome and shocking Gothic secrets, rituals and chants invoking weird alien gods with unpronounceable names), some viewers get a "Lovecraftian" vibe off of films like these, as almost any list of "Lovecraftian" films, allowed enough reader suggestions, will eventually include a handful of them.

Analysis by Y.Whateley:

  • I have some difficulty in making a connection between many of these films and Lovecraft, but if you accept the most stereotypical (though not necessarily faithful) "Lovecraftian" plot to be "reclusive and curious main character finds a creepy book, reads it, goes mad from the revelation, and gets his face eaten by a Cthulhu", then perhaps many of these "Eldritch Location" films follow a similar (and thus "Lovecraftian") format, except that a weird setting is substituted for the book ("reclusive and curious main characters find themselves in a creepy landscape or building, explore it, go mad from the revelation, and get their faces eaten by something off-camera....")
  • I would suspect that many of these sorts of films ape Picnic at Hanging Rock and Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, with those films perhaps being the earliest examples of this sort of film.
  • At least a handful of the films I've diverted into this list seem to have been period war films made at roughly the same time as each other, perhaps playing follow-the-leader for some earlier example of this sub-subgenre of military surreal horror (Jacob's Ladder, perhaps?)
  • I've sometimes seen films like these compared to Robert W. Chambers' The King in Yellow, with references to Hastur, which seems to be a currently fashionable short-hand for "surreal horror", based on some current surrealist reinterpretations and adaptations of that source material; I'm assuming at least a little of this comparison might perhaps be drawn from the vaguely surreal/dreamlike and sometimes Chambers-inspired content from True Detective.
  • Though nobody else has ever said so, I suppose this sort of film might also play a little more naturally in the territory of the "strange suspension or violation of the galling limitations of time, space, and natural law" from Lovecraft's definition of his "Weird stories", than many of the more conventional Lovecraft adaptations (like The Haunted Palace (1963 film)) do:

"...I choose weird stories because they suit my inclination best — one of my strongest and most persistent wishes being to achieve, momentarily, the illusion of some strange suspension or violation of the galling limitations of time, space, and natural law which for ever imprison us and frustrate our curiosity about the infinite cosmic spaces beyond the radius of our sight and analysis. These stories frequently emphasise the element of horror because fear is our deepest and strongest emotion, and the one which best lends itself to the creation of nature-defying illusions. Horror and the unknown or the strange are always closely connected, so that it is hard to create a convincing picture of shattered natural law or cosmic alienage or 'outsideness' without laying stress on the emotion of fear. The reason why time plays a great part in so many of my tales is that this element looms up in my mind as the most profoundly dramatic and grimly terrible thing in the universe. Conflict with time seems to me the most potent and fruitful theme in all human expression."
- H.P. Lovecraft

Pages in category "Film:SurrealHorror"

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