December 30, 2011

WTF Movie of the Week: Dagon!

Please, kind sir, do not destroy
my pagan altar!
Aaaaah, Lovecraft... the writer for millions, inventor of dark things that go splash in the night, hypersensitive hermit and scorn of the movie industry. So many directors tried and failed miserably and the ones that did succeed are meagre attempts at best.

Then, early 2011, Guillermo del Toro threatened to bring Lovecraft into the mainstream together with Tom Cruise. His project of bringing At the Mountains of Madness to the big screen unfortunately stranded when Universal Pictures decided that it would be too horrible to show in mainstream theaters. If you want to read more about this, go here!

Well, at least we still have Dagon!

It centers around Paul Marsh who is a rather uptight young man with lots of money and a beautiful girlfriend (Raquel Merono). After their yacht is wrecked off the Spanish coast, they end up in the small village of Imboca. Trying to find help for their friends and to find their way back to civilization, they quickly find out that there's more to the village then meets the eye.

The part that follows is taken straight from The Shadow over Innsmouth. Paul is chased out of the hotel and finds a drunken bum who tells him the sad story of Imboca. The bum helps him escape, but Paul is cornered again. The scene in the house with the freaky Spanish kid yelling for his grandfather is one of the most intense movie moments I've ever witnessed (and deliciously Lovecraftian).
What follows you will have to find out for yourself, but let's just say that the stories Dagon and The Shadow over Innsmouth are balanced equally, complete with human sacrifices, fish/human hybrids, an cameo by Dagon itself and much more...

Firstly, the movie is an American-Spanish collaboration and it does the movie a world of good. The Spanish speaking majority of the cast gives a true feeling of being lost in another continent, with different rules and different customs. This would not have packed the same punch if the fishy people had spoken with a thick Southern drawl.

Secondly, the special effects are amazing for a low-budget, early 2000's, no-big-names, love project. The fish make-up, the skin suits, even the early CGI looks okay if you see it in a flash and are not too nit-picky.

Thirdly, the remaining credits go to Ezra Godden as Paul Marsh (who even looks like Lovecraft in a way) who runs around in Imboca constantly wearing a Miskantonic U. sweater (what a great touch!) and his two beautiful co-stars Raquel MeroƱo as the ill-fated heroin and Macarena Gomez as her horrific antagonist.

A small salute most also be given to Francisco Rabal who plays the wonderfully courageous bum, was overall a great Spanish actor and who died some months before the release of this film.

If you like Lovecraft, go and see it!


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