Masters of Horror (TV): Dreams in the Witch House – Halloween Horror Month Movie Spectacular 2013 Day 2

Masters of Horror Dreams in the Witch House
If I were to adapt a Lovecraft story as a movie, Dreams in the Witch House would not be the first one to come to mind. Forget for a moment that there have been few or no adaptations of his stories that have been successful without taking considerable liberties with the source material, and that even those which do rarely turn out well. The story itself is problematic enough. It is partly a ghost story, of sorts, which would seem a good start. And it is indeed a disturbing story. But the greater part of the story is taken up with cosmology and mathematics delivered through Lovecraft’s usual expository style, something which doesn’t exactly lend itself to very compelling cinematic storytelling.

As you might expect the cosmological aspects are almost entirely gone, replaced by a few lines of dialogue regarding string theory. Instead the focus is on the witch from which the story takes its name, and on her rat (although not quite) familiar. There have been changes made to bring the story into modern times, and to add some drama between the characters. It actually works surprisingly well. Arguably the TV adaptation is better told than the original. While I might miss references to Daemon Sultan Azathoth, and the main character making excursions through his bedroom wall to other parts of the universe, I do think that’s better left imagined than seen on a screen. What’s left of the story is far more relatable on a human level.

About Ted Dahlberg

I'm a stoic, a pessimist, a bookworm, a skeptic, and possibly other things which take more than one word to say.
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