At the Mountains of Madness
Director: Paul Elliott

. 1996
Director: Uncredited

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

At the Mountains of MadnessPosted at youtube is a beautifully stitched together four-minute silent film (with music soundtrack only), made in the United Kingdom.

This take on H. P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness (2007) alleges to be actual newsreel footage from the 1930 Arctic Expedition funded by Miskatonic University.

It's a smoothly linked mixture of altered & unaltered vintage stills & footage, together with artfully faked vintage footage, unveiling the discovery of the gargantuan ruins of a city of the Old Ones.

Intercut with text cards, the "silent film" story is about the discovery of the subterranean city, the slaughter of men & dogs "dissected, dismembered," the star-shaped footprints leading to the Antarctic mountains higher than the Himalayas, the city lost for millions of years ... all brilliantly invoked of the imagination, with just a few visual glimpses.

One might fault the idea that the Old Ones resemble Cthulhu, as they don't. Had the creatures that make "star-shaped footprints" been invoked instead of the deep-sea Cthulhu, this marvelous little film could've been regarded as entirely true to Lovecraft's vision. As it stands, it's still just a wonderful item.

At the Mountains of Madness At the Mountains of Madness (1996), at about five minutes, is a music video from the Dutch band Orphanage, whose emulation of American/British heavy metal mixed with goth pop folksiness is a little bit laughable. It's hard to believe they lasted long enough (1987-2005) to issue four full-length albums.

This video promoted their second album By Time Alone, a classic according to metalheads. This version, however, was different from what was on the album. The video mix turned up the following year on an EP for which it was the title song. The video was included in a two-volume DVD compilation of heavy metal bands.

Nothing about death-metal racket sounds Lovecraftian but the lyrics, most of which are impossible to understand, begin with a few comprehensible lines alluding to HPL's polar world: "The lavas that restlessly rol/ Their sulpherous currents down Yaanek/ In the ultimate climes of the pole/ That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek/ In the realms of the boreal pole..."

Loud guitar & generically Ossie Osborne type screaming from the face of George Oosthoek dominates arrangement. But those opening lines are goth-pop by a Dutch girl (Rosan Van der Aa) who seems to wish she were a Brit at the Renaissance fair. Too bad, too, as not many women sing for metal bands, & when there's an exception, why does she have to be more suited to punk-folk?

The imagery conveys nothing of a polar region unless an earmuff hat counts. As it takes place in a labyrinth no doubt it's supposed to be the polar city, but looks like a set for a no-budget film version of Les Miserables, not something built by other than human hands.

It all seems a rather random horror fantasy but without the horror. There's a lot of the ugly-ass band just performing on stage, but we also cut away in stages to a "story" of a guy dressed like a Canadian with the earmuff hat, wandering through tunnels.

He is evidently in search of the woman in an absurd Pan outfit that provides her with a butt the size of the Goodyear blimp. Either she's wearing a dildo or she's a hermaphrodite. I suppose it might've been intentionally funny, as it would take a mental midget never to have realized it was laughable; yet there's no air of comedy about any of it; they seem really to take cartoon death-metal antics seriously.

Soon big-butt is chasing the guy menacingly, until the other bandmates show up to save him. Nothing interesting occurs, but there's that butt at least.

Continue to more H. P. Lovecraft:
Dreams in the Witch-House (2005)

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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