As Bonnie and I left the theater last night after a showing of “The Mist” (part of the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and Cthulhucon going on this weekend in Portland), I wondered why it is that whenever the military, or scientists, or military scientists punch a window through the fabric of space-time into another dimension, and the window turns into a door through which things pour into our world, those things are always (1) big, (2) mean, and (3) a lot like bugs, deep-sea creatures, reptiles, dinos, or some combination thereof.
Wouldn’t you think that just once in a while, by the law of averages, we’d punch our way into a dimension of ponies and buttercups?
That said, “The Mist” is one of the better film adaptations of Stephen King. Not directly Lovecraftian, though the sense of brooding mysterious cosmic horror is Lovecrafty.
The evening’s offerings also included “The Haunted Palace,” a 1963 film based–loosely–on HPL’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. In the hope of cramming the film into the studio’s “Poe Cycle,” AIP bookended it with quotes from a Poe poem and plopped a transplanted European castle, a la the Hearst palace, into the middle of rustic Arkham. Hence the title.
I had seen bits of it before but this was my first exposure to the complete film. It’s really not too bad, and has a lot of wonderful shots and some classic Price mugging. I couldn’t help but notice, however, that after Charles Dexter Ward and his wife (anyone who knows HPL is eye-rolling at that!) arrive at their inherited, abandoned palace carrying a total of two small suitcases approximately the size of lightweight portable sewing machines, those reticules disgorge, in the course of the film, a dazzling profusion of full-length brocade dressing gowns and ruffled shirts (him), and lacy peignoirs, satin dressing gowns, and full-crinolined skirts (her).
Now, I love luggage, and I love packing. It has long been my dream to find the perfect piece of luggage, one that violates the laws of physics by being much bigger on the inside than its exterior dimensions would seem to allow. Apparently the prop department at AIP in the 60s had a couple of these treasures.