Five & a half minute short, Lance Hendrickson's take on The Statement of Randolph Carter (2007) is earnest, largely faithful to Lovecraft's text, & just awful.
The night-for-night videography often registered little or no images. When things are clear enough to see, the camera is wobbling all over the place.
The lack of actorly skill in the two characters sort of spoils the effect, as they in no way seem eccentric in any manner beyond being fanboys from horror fandom.
Our narrator Randolph (Conner Bohne) & his buddy Warren Harley (Tony Czech), occult hobbyists who've stumbled upon The Necronomicon, go on a graveyard quest by night, Warren with a flashlight, Randolph with a modern Coleman lantern, the lantern the only clue that the story is updated to the present.
Warren tells Randolph, in essence, thanks for coming this far with me, but now I'll enter the crypt alone, because you're too weak-minded to survive what only my heroic self dares to see. I guess he invited his buddy mainly so he could brag about himself before meeting his demise. It's the laughably bad acting that transforms the severe tone of HPL's tale into an unintended comedy-duo about characters with little or no personality beyond braggart & chickenshit.
"I promise to keep you informed over radio," says Warren, as they've brought walkietalkies (which, I'm guessing, they stole at their dayjobs as warehouse securitiy guards).
Soon, Randolph is listening to banal hysterics over the walkietalkie: "Horrible monsters! It's Unbelievable!" to which Randolph replies, "Warren, what is it?" Hey, buttmunch, it's horrible unbelievable monsters. "I can't tell you Carter! No man can know & live! Get out of the cemetery, it's your only chance!"
As the camera wobbles about, we listen to the lamest narration from the crypt. Randolph Carter looks all goggle-eyed & shouts into the walkietalkie until Warren no longer replies. Then a monster, imitating some clown wrestler screaming unintelligibly for Wrestlemania, yells through the walkietalkie.
Cut to Randolph in dark room seated at table, telling this story to an off-camera investigator, to deliver a final soliloquy pretty much admitting he didn't see anything or do anything, which is really just an explanation of why it was so boring watching him see nothing & do nothing.
This version of the tale is mediocrity at its peak. It is, however, the very first film directed by Lance Hendrickson (no, not that Lance Hendrickson) & who knows, if he keeps at it, he might one day learn how.
John Kazuo Morehead's version of The Statement of Randolph Carter (2008) is a fifteen minute short.
Morehead had already directed Geekin' (2006) about the daily lives of geeky wargamers. From these two films, it must be said, he is not as yet showing any particular genius for his chosen art.
A police detective (Khalid Robinson) interviews the nervous Randolph Carter (Richard Blair) about his missing friend Harley Warren (Roki Edwards). "Tell me everything you remember," says the detective, & it goes into a flashback.
Warren is a short-tempered, chubby black guy, whose life has been committed to occult researches. He has discovered Colonial instructions to "the sepulchre," & he demand's Randolph's assistance in the quest to dig up someone he believes to have been "an incorruptible."
The acting is so bad that the jabbery build-up is totally goofy. Warren insists it's his duty to mankind to dig up the incorruptible, so it's not like the dialogue was written to be actable as anything but foolish, so it's acted foolishly.
But it's charming as an amateur film. The editing to achieve flashbacks is unexpectedly well done. Much of the videography is darkly gloomy, with flashes of black & white cinematography inserted for an interesting visual effect. It's too bad not all the dark photography quite registers on video.
"You can't imagine the fiendish work ahead," Warren babbles on amusingly, worried about dragging a nervous guy like Randolph "into madness & death." Which'd be fine to drag someone into if they weren't nervous about it, rather than the more appropriate skipping tra-la-la perhaps.
On walkie-talkies (again, stolen from their dayjobs at Home Depot) Warren screams for Randolph to escape quickly, as he's found something much more horrible than the horrible thing he expected. Had there been a great actor screaming over the walkie talkie it might've been scary, but the acting is just so damned laughable.
Carter is too afraid to enter the sepulcre to help Warren, who in any case wants Carter to "run for it! run! run!"
Carter insists to the detective, "I don't remember anything else." But we see one more flashback he does not tell the cop, in which Carter heard the voice of the whatever-it-was.
Then Carter's memory fades anew, & the detective says, "We'll do it again I guess," preparing for the sixth interview in a row with a madman.
It's unfortunately a film that delivers nothing particularly rewarding. The acting kills it, but the script wasn't much to even attempt to perform.
Simon Larner's version of The Statement of Randolph Carter (2008) has standard lowgrade amateur-animation software called "the movie game," & so possessing a pre-packaged look devoid of atmosphere, imagination, or originality.
The director did, however, seemingly light upon a novel method of avoiding having to act vocally or match up lip movement to dialogue.
We have all the sound effects of the world these characters inhabit, but we never hear them speaking. Instead, their dialogue appears in subtitles.
Randolph has been pacing inside a police cell for a couple of days. When he's interrogated as to where his friend Warren vanished, it goes into a flashback. Warren has discovered a mysterious book by medieval Belgian alchemist Ludvig Prinn, De Vermis Mysteriis, which speaks of certain corpses that never decay but lay in a perpetual state of preservation.
De Vermis Mysteriis is a Necronomicon-like book that is first mentioned in Robert Bloch's lovecraftian tale "The Shambler from the Stars." Lovecraft's tale of Randolph Carter's statement doesn't actually title the mysterious book, though other filmmakers to tackle this story have assumed, if anything, that it was The Necronomicon.
Bloch, at the time a teenager who corresponded with Lovecraft, had initially titled the book Mysteries of the Worm, & it was Howard Lovecraft himself who suggested to young Bob that that he use that title in Latin instead.
It's a nice touch that Bob Bloch's invented book is cited insteadThe Necronomicon. Too bad that's this film's only nice touch.
Warren wants Carter to go with him to the old cemetery in the Cypress swamp to open a tomb. Why he thought one of those unrotting corpses was there, no clue. Perhaps someone drew a treasure map in Ludvig Prinn's book, with the cypress swamp marked "here be unrotted bodies."
Warren puts on his snazzy striped jacket & vaudevillian straw hat (no cane & racoon coat however) & joins Randolph in his new car, which looks antique to us since the story occurs in the 1920s.
Off they go to the cypress swamp, where it's pouring rain & of course you can only see unrotted corpses if it's the middle of the night, so it's suddenly night time.
Warren refuses to let Carter join him in the tomb. "Please you must let me!" whines Randolph, stamping on the ground like a petulant kid. It does seem rather rude to insist the guy drive him to the swamp then not let him play.
They have no lanterns but appear to have perfect night-vision. Warren starts down the long staircase into an enormous crypt. Subtitles show us that Carter is still speaking to the police interogators: "We had promised to keep in touch by two-way telephone & as we had taken several hundred feet of cable I did not forsee any problem."
However, as we can planely see, Warren has no telephone on him, & there is no cable. They brought nothing with them. Nevertheless, the phone rings & Carter answers. Warren babbles about the horrors beyond anyone's dreams.
Over the phone, Carter hears a barking dog that turns into a growly lion sort of roar, which he later describes as "hollow, gelatinous, inhuman," & which he interprets as having said, "You fool! Warren is dead!" though all we heard was "Bark! Bark! Yowerr-roar!"
Carter runs like mad out of the swamp, trips, & falls on his face. The scene returns to the jail cell, which manages to be an entirely different cell than the one he was in when he started the story.
There are many lame adaptations of this Lovecraft story on the web & even on dvd, but this four & a half minutes of fast-food product is certainly in the running for dumbest of the dumb.
Continue to three more microcinema versions of:
The Statement of Randolph Carter
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