CC: The Tomb

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

CC: The Tomb

"The Tomb" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft written in June 1917 and first published in the March 1922 issue of The Vagrant.  It is the first work of fiction that Lovecraft wrote as an adult.

"The Tomb" tells of Jervas Dudley, a self-confessed day-dreamer.  While still a child, he discovers the entrance to a mausoleum, belonging to the family Hyde, whose nearby family mansion had burnt down many years previously. The entrance to the mausoleum is padlocked and slightly ajar.  Jervas attempts to break the padlock, but is unable.  Dispirited, he takes to sleeping beside the tomb.  Eventually, inspired by reading Plutarch's Lives, Dudley decides to patiently wait until it is his time to gain entrance to the tomb.

One night, several years later, Jervas falls asleep once more beside the mausoleum.  He awakes suddenly in the late afternoon, and believes that a light has been latterly extinguished from inside the tomb.  Taking leave, he returns to his home, where he goes directly to the attic, to a rotten chest, and therein finds the key to the tomb.

Once inside the mausoleum, Jervas discovers an empty coffin with the name of "Jervas" upon the plate.  He begins, so he believes, to sleep in the empty coffin each night.  He also develops a fear of thunder and fire, and is aware that he is being spied upon by one of his neighbors.

One night, against his better judgment, Jervas sets out for the tomb on an overcast night, a night threatening to storm.  As he approaches the tomb, he sees the Hyde mansion restored to its former state; there is a party in progress, which he joins, abandoning his former quietude for blasphemous hedonism.

During the party, lightning strikes the mansion, and it burns.  Jervas loses consciousness, having imagined himself being burnt to ashes in the blaze.

He finds himself screaming and struggling, being held by two men with his father in attendance.  A small antique box is discovered, having been unearthed by the recent storm.  Inside is a porcelain miniature of a man, with the initials "J.H."  Jervas fancies its face to be the mirror image of his own.

He begins jabbering that he has been sleeping inside the tomb.  His father, saddened by his son's mental instability, tells him that he has been watched for some time and has never gone inside the tomb, and indeed, the padlock is rusted with age.  Jervas is removed to an asylum, presumed mad.

He then asks his servant Hiram, who has remained faithful to him despite his current state, to explore the tomb – a request which Hiram fulfills.  After breaking the padlock and descending with a lantern into the murky depths, Hiram returns to his master and informs him that there is, indeed, a coffin with a plate which reads "Jervas" on it. Jervas then states that he has been promised burial in that coffin when he dies.

 

The Tomb (2007)

  • Genre: Drama – Horror – Thriller
  • Directed: Ulli Lommel
  • Produced:
    • Ulli Lommel 
    • Nola Roeper 
    • Jeff Frentzen
  • Written:
    • H.P. Lovecraft (Short Story)  
    • Ulli Lommel (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Victoria Ullmann, Christian Behm, Gerard Griesbaum, Michael Barbour
  • Music: Robert J. Walsh
  • Cinematography: Bianco Pacelli
  • Editing: Christian Behm
  • Studio: The Shadow Factory Inc.
  • Distributed:
    • Fenix Pictures  
    • Future Film  
    • Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment  
    • Peacock Films  
    • Sunfilm Entertainment  
    • Ytinifni
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 19 June 2007
  • Running Time: 81 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

HP Lovecraft's The Tomb is a 2007 United States production horror film that is supposedly based on H.P. Lovecraft's 1917 story, "The Tomb".  However, many reviewers have noted that the plot of this film is completely unrelated to the Lovecraft short story.

The film in fact has no single element whatsoever in common with the short story, save for the title.  The film is often compared to the 2004 movie, Saw, going as far as having that series mentioned on the box art.

The film is also known simply as The Tomb, but the title on the DVD case and onscreen is HP Lovecraft's The Tomb.  The movie was directed by Ulli Lommel.

Tara (Victoria Ullmann) and Billy (Christian Behm) awake in a dark basement or warehouse, bloodied and covered with wounds.  As they explore the empty surroundings, they find other wounded people who die in horrible ways at the hands of "The Puppetmaster," a sinister villain who plays a deadly game with them in which there will be only one survivor.  H.P. Lovecraft is mentioned several times during the course of the film by some characters, and the 'Puppetmaster' is referred to as 'Charles Dexter Ward' and one of his victims as 'Pickman' (a reference to Lovecraft's story Pickman's Model).  However these passing references to Lovecraftian characters (and a quote from one of Lovecraft's stories about going "beyond ye spheres") are largely irrelevant to the serial killer plot played out on screen.

Production of HP Lovecraft's The Tomb took place during August 2005 in Marina Del Rey, California, at a warehouse on Princeton Drive that has since been demolished.  The scenes at the "Palm Desert Motel" were shot on an indoor set at the same warehouse.  Exteriors were shot in the high desert near Palmdale, California.

Co-executive producer Jeff Frentzen is wearing the black gloves of the killer throughout the film.

An entire day's shooting was ruined by technical difficulties with the location audio.  The scenes that had to be re-shot were all of those featuring actor Michael Barbour.  The re-shot scenes, however, produced much better performances by Barbour and the other actors.  The production also reuses the same sets from Zombie Nation.

Other names for this affront to gothic horror are:

  • The Tomb - Condemned to Agony
  • H.P. Lovecraft's Dreams of the Witch-house
  • HP Lovecraft's The Tomb
  • Witch-house

Why not Dreams of the Witch-house?  This film has about as much in common with that story as it does with The Tomb.

Richard J. Ivankovic or DrFaustusAU as he's known on deviantART has been busy with his latest creation: H.P. Lovecraft's The Tomb (For Beginning Readers), a 60-page masterpiece that will surely be the choice reading material for today's Lovecraftian youth.

Take a look at the gallery at Neatorama for some pages, then head on over to his deviantART page for more:

 

 


Related Articles:

Images for the short story found via Google Image Search

Images for the film via screen grabs of the trailer.

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