The Other Gods
. 2006
Director: Mike Boas
(as Peter Rhodes)

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

The Other Gods Condensed from a Dunsanian story by H. P. Lovecraft, The Other Gods: A Tale of the Dream Cycle (2006) is set in the land of Ulthar, beyond the River Skai, where dwelt a man called Barzai the Wise.

The five-minute animated film told in mime, with intertitle cards, is in the style is shadow-puppetry, very very nice, with fine dramatic musical soundtrack by Keith Handy.

There is also a version with an artier soundtrack by "Olmos" done in 2009, but Handy's official score captures the sense of vintage silent film accompanyment, whereas Olmos's pleasingly weird music fits the animation far less well.

Barzai is an alchemist attempting to peer through the veil & see the faces of the gods of his world. With his disciple Atal, they set out for Mount Hatheg-kla, whereon the Elder Gods dance.

The Other GodsAs they approach the dancing gods of the mountain, an eclipse of the sun induces the arrival of a far more terrible being, the dark divinity Yog-Sothoth, together with Shug-Nuggurath "she of the thousand young" whom it is forbidden to see; & Nyarlathotep "the vengeance of the infinite abysses," & most awful of all, "He Who Shall Not Be Named."

Woh! said I. Woh! The design for these creatures is Arabian Nights fantastical. Had they not been, this film might've been pretty silly, but the beauty of it really does constitute a horrific aesthetic dream.

This little work borders on genius. It purports to be the work of New York city occultist Peter Rhodes who was active in the 1920s & was friends with both Aleister Crowley & H. P. Lovecraft.

Some viewers & critics have mistakenly embraced this back-story about the rediscovery & restoration of a long-lost film. It's an all-too-credible fabrication, especially the claim that Peter was inspired by his contemporary, German silhouette animator Lotte Reineger.

The Other GodsIn fact, The Other Gods is a close imitation of Reiniger's The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), perhaps too close to be regarded as entirely original, but also too good to fault its mimicry.

At an elaborate fiction of the life of Peter Rhodes is provided, & it is riddled with inside-jokes or references to things Lovecraftian, quite a brilliant bit of myth-making in itself.

A lot of people have either believed it -- or pretended to do so in order to perpetuate a pleasing fraud. Some few have seemed angry to be thus fooled & so condemn the film in consequence.

But I regard this a real work of art, certainly far & away better than the sort of "fan films" one usually encounters from people who admire Lovecraft or at least hope to break into the Lovecraft Film Festival, which The Other Gods rightly succeeded at doing.

For more lovecraftian micro-cinema, see:
The Whisperer in Darkness (2007)

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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