H. P. Lovecraft's The Shadow Out of Time (2012)
The writings of H. P. Lovecraft have been an inspiration for many a film maker. Their brooding atmosphere along with intriguing blend of science and the occult, offers a wealth of themes to be explored. Unfortunately, there have been very few movies that have come anywhere near to capturing the spirit of the author. So, it was with great interest that I watched the fifteen-minute short film The Shadow Out of Time. This low budget production made by independent film makers Richard Svensson, Daniel Lennéer and Christopher Johansson, succinctly distils a classic Lovecraftian tale without losing any of the ambience of the source text. It puts to shame some of the hand-fisted adaptations that have preceded it.
The plot follows an academic, Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee who collapses during a lecture to find that he has exchanged bodies with an extraterrestrial life form from Earth's past history. His own body is occupied by the alien who spend the next two years studying the present era. Eventually the process is reversed and Peaslee attributes the events to a mental collapse. However, it becomes apparent that he is not the only one to have had this experience. His resulting investigation leads him to Australia and an uncomfortable truth emerges. The story touches upon the experiences of both individuals and hints at a further menace that threatens the future of both species. Told via narration, the film is set in the 1900s and reflects the cinematic style of the time.
The period setting along with its stylised format really enhances the unfolding story. Åke Rosén performance is very much in the appropriate idiom and John Hutch narration embellishes without descending into melodramatics. Overall this is a polished production when you consider the budgetary and the logistical constraints imposed upon the film makers. It never ceases to amaze me the dedication and love that fans can muster to create such outstanding work using just “over the counter” hardware and software. Therefore, I thoroughly recommend The Shadow Out of Time and would urge readers to check out the creators You Tube channel for further H. P. Lovecraft adaptations.