Despite my love of sciencey fiction, and my awareness of who H.P. Lovcraft was (mostly entirely through the b movies of the 80’s and 90’s), I hadn’t given much thought to Lovecraft growing up.
I ended up attending a Lovecraft filmfest and was confident that I could produce something more interesting (to me, if it wasn’t more interesting to that audience) based on his tropes.
A friend was interested in working on a project, a longer piece. While this project (The Ratking)was being worked on, The PDX HP LoveCraft Film Festival announced a 72 hour film race as part of the fest.
I was interested, and a friend convinced me to do this as live action, something I was fairly concerned about. I don’t tend to find live action pieces that compelling, and find there’s a lot of work(audio, lighting, location, actors) to meet a mediocre standard that audiences will neither care if done well, nor add much to the experience, but if done poorly will destroy the entire piece. In simpler terms, a lot of work for little result, and high potential of crap outcome.
The story was inspired by a manga I had read, but felt the ending didn’t go in a very interesting direction for me, and I added a bunch of other concepts I felt made the story more compelling. I wanted the story to be easily dividable into a series, like telling a joke for simplicity sake.
I also planned on it tying into the long piece, The Ratking, I was working on.
Originally only the ending was going to have any sfx/vfx.
It turned out I had a bit of time and was able to put together some shots to illustrate the dream sequences, which I felt broke up the monotony of the single shooting location and added some visual punch to the narration.
We had to include a chess piece, and I believe my friend hit on the idea of a background element of a chess game showing the mental state of the secondary character(i really liked this though I suspect it is mostly overlooked). Another friend came up with the ending state, I believe, with the white piece surrounded by black pieces. This was the most expensive element in the film as we had to buy several crappy chess sets to get all the pieces we needed for the shot.
Here is a slightly polished version of the finished film, that won (although I found out later it was also the only qualifying entry).
It has been shown at a few lovecraft themed festivals, which I’m pleased at considering it was produced over a weekend for a race and was my first true love action effort.