Lights, Action, Horror at MHC

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 - 9:54am

Posted: September 16, 2009

H. P. Lovecraft
The Old Ones are coming to campus and they're not alumnae.

On September 23 and 26, filmmakers will descend on the Mount Holyoke campus to shoot scenes from a new adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's classic tale "The Whisperer in Darkness." The movie is being shot by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, a California-based organization devoted to paying homage to the work of the author that many consider one of the key progenitors—along with Edgar Allen Poe—of American horror fiction.

In "The Whisperer in Darkness," scholars at fabled Miskatonic University learn of a plot by hideous and ancient forces—the Old Ones—to take over mankind through a base they've established with human evildoers in Vermont.  Unfortunately for humankind, the plot succeeds and the world is completely controlled by evil—an ending well suited to Lovecraft's dismal view.

"One of Lovecraft's most popular and enduring creations was Miskatonic University," said Sean Branney, the film's director. "It's a classic New England university with a penchant for its faculty and graduate students ending up involved in occult mysteries. We looked at a number of New England colleges and were delighted to cast Mount Holyoke College in the role of Miskatonic."

Writing mostly in Providence, Rhode Island, Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937) wrote countless stories for pulp horror and science fiction magazines. His work is characterized not only by macabre plots and gory detail, but also by a luridly baroque pessimism. His work has influenced writers from Stephen King to Robert Bloch, author of Psycho.

French author Michel Houellebecq observes in a 2005 piece in the Guardian:

"Of course, life has no meaning. But neither does death. And this is another thing that curdles the blood when one discovers Lovecraft's universe. The deaths of his heroes have no meaning. Death brings no appeasement. It in no way allows the story to conclude. Implacably, HPL destroys his characters, evoking only the dismemberment of marionettes. Indifferent to these pitiful vicissitudes, cosmic fear continues to expand. It swells and takes form."

The filmmakers will be shooting a number of exterior shots, as well as interior shots in Skinner Hall.

Related Links:

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society

The Guardian

The Whisperer in Darkness Trailer