The H.P. Lovecraft Collection Volume 2: Rough Magik DVD Review
Written by Peter West
DVD released by Lurker Films
Directed by Jamie Payne
Written by Stephen Parsons, based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft
2000, Region 0 (NTSC), 130 minutes, Not rated
In a party-like setting, a young mother sacrifices her two children to an idol of the "Sleeping God". It is discovered that the woman is a "dreamer", and that she has fallen under the spell of the "Sleeping God". This sets off a chain of events where the "Night Scholars", a secret British Intelligence organization is reactivated to investigate the possibility that the "Sleeping God" is awakening! The mysterious Mr. Moon (Paul Darrow) is called in to investigate, he takes in for questioning psychiatrist Kenneth Reese Warren (Gerrard McArthur).
Warren, a former member of the "Night Scholars" is also a "dreamer" who through the use of a occult symbol called the Sigil, can block the "Sleeping God" from influencing him. Using experimental truth drugs, Moon interrogatesWarren and takes him back to a time when serving in the Falklands war, where Warren came across the Sigil. Warren recounts the bloody events of the war and his introduction to a man, possessed by one of the "Old Ones", who first showed him how to block the"Sleeping God".
Taken from Lovecraft's "Call of Cthulhu", Rough Magik is set in a world of Delta Green. Based on the popular role-playing game published by Chaosium, Inc.
I was wondering how Lurker Films could outdo their first collection of films from the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, a DVD that I enjoyed tremendously. I am pleased to say they did not suffer from the sophomore jinx! This is indeed a fantastic package they have put together. The main feature is a top notch entry in the Cthulhu mythos genre. Parson's selection of fine actors and his well written script make this a extremely entertaining flick. It is sad however, that the BBC did not pick this up for a series though.
I can't wait for collection three to come!
Video and Audio:
Rough Magik was originally filmed as a pilot for the BBC. It is present in a non anamorphic widescreen and displays an above average picture quality compared to many of the films submitted at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. While a good portion of the film includes scenes at night, the high production values provide a clear and sharp image. My rating 4/5
The DVD contains a Dolby 2.0 Mono track which is clear and free is hiss or distortion. There's some pretty good sound effects in the scenes where there's combat in the Falklands clips. My rating 4/5
- Audio commentary by writer/producer Stephen Parsons
- Bob Fugger's Terrible Old Man and From Beyond short films
- Interviews with the cast and crew of Terrible Old Man
- The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets music videos
- The second of a continuing interview with Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi
- Openers from the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival
- An extremely informative eight page booklet on the film and H.P. Lovecraft
Once again Lurker Films has given us a feast of Lovecraft material. This is what separates them from most small DVD producers. A commentary track, film shorts, interviews and even music videos are included in this collection.
The two shorts by Bob Fugger are also extremely entertaining. The "Terrible Old Man" short is a modern version of Lovecraft's tale and in this adaptation three criminals take the old man as a easy mark when they see him playing a game of play and touch with a attractive young waitress. Boy are they mistaken! In the second short "From Beyond", Fugger remains faithful to the original story by Lovecraft. The narrator takes us to his visit with Crawford Tillinghast who shows him the resonator and exposes him to the sights he can see "from beyond". Forget what you have seen in the Stuart Gordon film of the same name while watching this one. It's the closest adaptation I have seen to the original story. Both of these short films hit the mark and provide chills and in the case of the "Terrible Old Man", some intentional humor!
The music videos are hard metal dedications to Cthulhu mythos, while not my cup of tea musically, good for some smiles. The commentary by Parsons for Rough Magik is a little dry in spots, but worthwhile neverless. The interviews with the cast of "Terrible Old Man" are entertaining and informative. Add part two of the interview with S.T. Joshi, this is once again a feast for fans of H.P. Lovecraft.
Films that Peter West reviews are viewed on a Mitsubishi WS-55413 HDTV and listened to on a THX certified Pioneer Elite VSX-55TXi A/V Receiver through a 7.1 setup of JBL Northridge E series Speakers.