The H.P. Lovecraft Collection Volume 1: Cool Air DVD Review
Reviewed by Peter West
DVD released by Lurker Films
Directed by Bryan Moore
Written by H.P. Lovecraft (Story)
1999, Region 0 (NTSC), 50 minutes, Not rated
Jack Donner as Dr. Muñoz
Bryan Moore as Randolph Carter
Vera Lockwood as Landlady
Dukey Flyswatter as Handyman
Ron Ford as Repairman
Renting a small one room apartment Randolph Carter continues his writing of short stories for pulp magazines. Suddenly he is stricken by a heart attack and seeks assistance from Dr. Muñoz, his upstairs neighbor. Once a prominent physician Dr. Muñoz leads a hermit like existencein a artificially cooled room. While recovering from the attack, Carter learns more and more the secrets of the mysterious doctor and why he has the need for "cool air".
The winner of the 1999 H.P. Lovecraft film festival, Bryan Moore's Cool Air is now available on DVD thanks to Lurker Films.
If you're not familiar with H.P. Lovecraft's influence on the genre of horror, it's about time you learned! A writer in the 20s and 30s, Lovecraft penned short stories for publications such as Weird Tales and Astounding Stories. Dying at a young age, Lovecraft's body of work is becoming more and more appreciated with every new generation. The most famous adaptations of his work have been brought to the big screen by Stuart Gordon with Re-Animator and From Beyond. Other notable Lovecraft adaptations have been The Dunwich Horror and The Terror. Still in print to this day, you can find all of his works in hardcover at Arkham House Publishers.
Cool Air is the start of a multi volume series called "The H.P. Lovecraft Collection". This series will contain the best of the films submitted at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, now entering it's twelve year. Bryan Moore has given this short tale a treatment that is heads above anything previously submitted. From choosing renown actor Jack Donner (Star Trek, Mission Impossible, Stigmata, and Exorcism) to play Dr. Muñoz, to his decision to shoot this on 16mm film, Moore has brought Lovecraft's story to life in a wonderful way! The other shorts included in the collection all reflect the period which they were written realistically thus creating a Lovecraft fan feast of material.
I anxiously await the subsequent volumes and encourage hardcore Lovecraft fans and even novices to buy this collection. If you're not familiar with Lovecraft's works, visit arkhamhouse.com and buy the books. If you're just a fan of the Stuart Gordon treatments, enrich yourself further with this fine collection! You may be able to tell that I'm a serious Lovecraft fan from this review. I first was introduced to Lovecraft in 1967 at the age of 13. Reading Lovecraft was the first time the written word had ever scared me. I invite you all to share the experience!
Video and Audio:
Cool Air is presented in a full frame 1.37:1 aspect, identical to what it would have been if it was filmed in 1925. Shot on 16mm film, Cool Air has all of the visuals that you would expect from a film of that period. Imperfections are intentional, the film is light and grainy. Since this film was intentionally shot to look like it was 75 years old. I'll give a perfect score for accomplishing it tremendously!
A Dolby 2.0 mono track that is again period driven. You get the feeling that you're thrown back to the era of the silent films and early talkies.
Here's where this DVD becomes a invaluable treasure for any H.P. Lovecraft fan! Included are the following:
- Christian Matzke's An Imperfection Solution (a short film taken from "Herbert West: Re-Animator") and Nyarlathotep (told in Lovecraft's first person narrative style, a story of a prophet with visions into the future).
- Anthony Penta's The Hound (a grave robbery unleashes a hound from Hell) and The Hapless Antiquarian (it's not always easy to get rid of the most evil book in the world).
- A cast and crew interview about the making of Cool Air.
- An informative interview with Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi.
- An eight page booklet on Lovecraft and these films.
- Two opening ads for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival.
Put together with the extras Cool Air becomes a 140 minute plus jammed packed DVD.