Director: Tom Gliserman
Starring: David Bunce, Rob Dalton, Susan Cicarelli-Caputo, Ron Komora, .UK. 1h 29m
For a long time, a majority of Lovecraft’s cinematic works were so underground that the biggest films were fan made efforts like this, although despite it’s challenges I personally found the aesthetic approach and storytelling to be exactly what the story calls for.
Based on a short story of the same title by American Mythos writer H. P. Lovecraft, The thing on the doorstep is part of the Cthulhu universe but has heavy undertones of a PI film Noir. Originally written in August 1933, and first published in the January 1937 issue of Weird Tales. Now captured by Tom Gliserman in a fan funded effort, and commonly found quite cheaply on a number of streaming services, so there’s no excuse, give it a shot, and see if you’ll join the numerous fans who still revel in the heady atmosphere.
There’s a certain hazy aesthetic about this psychological thriller faces look a little airbrushed and the light is often diffused through the architecture and nothing is crystal clear, maybe this is just a quirk of the film or a representation of their hazy recollection of events or the lack of clarity to what dangers lurk around every corner.
Usually friends are happy when their besties fall in love, but the affair between Edward and Asenath doesn’t bring any joy, the curious woman, a hypnotist who’s erratic behaviour raises alarm bells and sparks Daniel to become protective over his friend who is rarely seen and if often afraid and showing signs of physical abuse. Daniel digs around his neighbourhood for questions he realises that the crooked corridors and historical houses all hide something creepy and impossible unthinkable horrors The film is built up on a sort of the diary accounts of Daniel, who is witness to all the strange going on,s and carries out some sleuthing to try and save his best bud from the girlfriend who might literally be from hell but with her unsettling extra sensory powers, how on earth can he get close enough to help his friend and why is Asenath so intent on keeping her near her at all times?
“it is true that i have sent 6 bullets into the head of my best friend but it’s with this letter I hope to prove that i am not his killer”– Daniel
The special effects are cheap, dated affairs but luckily they are kept at a bare minimum, the faithfulness of the adaptation is able to shine through with superb screenwriting, dedicated acting and that very unique visual vagueness that follows the characters around. And what characters we have to behold, it’s a fresh breath to have a horror not filled with young pretty faces and a axe wielding killer, Gliserman remained faithful and presents a slightly more mature cast and with that carries a certain gravity that the story deserves, everything just feels more suited for Lovecraft’s paranoid and confused style, people who have reached a certain stage in life, believing they understand the world around them, only to have the carpet ripped from beneath them.
It’s not going to be for everyone, those who like the messy over the top and lavish Stuart Gordon efforts might get bored but it’s a cerebral effort, but hopefully, if you give it a chance with an open mind you’ll gather another viewpoint into the notorious void.
Related: The Creature Below (2016), The Corridor (2010), Pickman’s Muse, The Thing on the Doorstep (2003), The Call of Cthulhu (2005)
Lists: HPLovecraft Adaptations Vol 1