In Search of Lovecraft (2008) poster

In Search of Lovecraft (2008)


USA. 2008.


Director/Screenplay – David J. Hohl, Producers – David J. Hohl & Michael Rosen, Photography – Michael Rosen, Music – Troy Sterling Nies, Visual Effects/Special Effects/Makeup Effects – FoxBabyFx (Supervisor – Todd C. Hartman). Production Company – HohloGraphic Productions, LLC.


Renee Sweet (Rebecca Marsh), Tytus Bergstrom (Mike Connors), Rachael Robbins (Keja), Saqib Mausoof (Robert D’Souza), Denise Amrikhas (Amber Martin), Larry Laverty (Professor Anthony Sutton), Sue Ramsey (Sara Curwen), Cameron Weston (Nigel Curwen), Bonnie Steiger (Martha Whittmore)


Rebecca Marsh, a journalist for a San Francisco tv station, is assigned to do a Halloween special about H.P. Lovecraft. In the course of asking people what they know about Lovecraft, she learns about modern-day cultists devoted to Lovecraftian entities. She joins occult expert Robert D’Souza who helps unearth film footage from the 1920s about the attempts to summon the Lovecraftian entity Nyarlathotep. This leads them to a house where cultists are now seeking to conduct the summoning again.

In Search of Lovecraft is a Found Footage film. Moreover, it was one that came out before the genre went massive with the success of Paranormal Activity (2007) after its wide release in 2009. At the time, the major influence would have been The Blair Witch Project (1999). You can see that the filmmakers are still reliant on VHS tape rather than the digital recording methods and lightweight cameras that took over with the genre’s proliferation in the 2010s. The film even has a plot that essentially makes it an urban version of The Blair Witch Project where a trio of characters set out in search of occult secrets with cameras as mysterious things start happening around them.

The film is supposedly being shot by a film crew for a tv station doing an investigative piece. We get various shots taken with handheld camera, people telling others to get the camera out of their face and so on. And yet for all that, the film abandons the Found Footage approach part way through – from about the point where the group is attacked in the car and Denise Amrikhas is snatched. Thereafter, any interest in the Found Footage angle is dropped and the film just consists of regular dramatic camera set-ups.

The film sets itself among the fictional mythos of writer H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) who wrote a vast body of stories about cosmic gods lurking and ancient occult rites unleashed. Lovecraft’s work has inspired quite a number of films – see Lovecraftian Films. The film is supposedly based around an investigation into whether Lovecraftian entities are real and has a plot concerning uncovering secret Lovecraftian cultists in the real world.

Director/writer David J. Hohl has certainly done his reading on Lovecraft but you also feel that to have been authentically Lovecraftian, the film needed to have been shot in New England landscape in tiny small towns rather than sunny, open California where the nearest it ever gets to a Lovecraftian feel is the claim that San Francisco’s Coit Tower is an enclave of the cultists.

Renee Sweet goes searching for Lovecraftian cultists In Search of Lovecraft (2008)
Renee Sweet goes searching for Lovecraftian cultists

On the other hand, while Nyarlathotep, The Black Man and one or two Lovecraftian entities get a namedrop, this is too low budget a film to actually provide any of these. What we instead get is a standard Occult film, while the climax with Renee Sweet and Rachael Robbins in a protective circle is a cheap, low budget variant on the classic one in Hammer’s The Devil Rides Out (1968).

This is not a particularly well made film from a technical point-of-view. There is the occasionally effective jump – hands appearing out of a bedsheet to grab Renee Sweet – but most of the time it is not. In particular, the assorted pop-up jumps and reality/illusion games going on during the protective circle climax fail to amount to anything and look shabby.

In Search of Lovecraft has been the only film directed by David J. Hohl. Elsewhere, Hohl has acted as a producer on occasional other films including Evil Bong 666 (2016), Eminence Hill (2019) and Skinwalker (2021).

Other films based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft include:- The Haunted Palace (1963), Die, Monster, Die/Monster of Terror (1965), The Shuttered Room (1967) and The Dunwich Horror (1969). The big success in the modern era was Stuart Gordon’s splattery black comedy version of Re-Animator (1985), which popularised Lovecraft on film. This led to a host of B-budget Lovecraft adaptations, including Stuart Gordon’s subsequent From Beyond (1986), The Curse (1987), The Unnameable (1988), The Resurrected (1992), Necronomicon (1993), The Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter (1993), Lurking Fear (1994), Gordon’s Dagon (2001), and other works such as The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (2003), Beyond the Wall of Sleep (2006), Cool Air (2006), Chill (2007), Cthulhu (2007), The Tomb (2007), Colour from the Dark (2008), The Dunwich Horror (2009), The Color (2010), Pickman’s Muse (2010), The Whisperer in Darkness (2011), The Dark Sleep (2013), The Haunter of the Dark (2015), Herbert West: Re-Animator (2017), Color Out of Space (2019), H.P. Lovecraft’s The Deep Ones (2020), the tv series Lovecraft Country (2020), Markham (2020), H.P. Lovecraft’s Witch House (2021), The Resonator: Miskatonic U (2021) and The Lurking Fear (2023). Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown (2008) is a documentary about Lovecraft. Also of interest is The Manitou (1978), which features an appearance of the Great Old One; Cast a Deadly Spell (1991) and its sequel Witch Hunt (1994), a tv movie set in an alternate world where magic works and where the central character is a detective named H.P. Lovecraft; Juan Piquer Simon’s cheap and loosely inspired Cthulhu Mansion (1992); John Carpenter’s Lovecraft homage In the Mouth of Madness (1995); the fan parody The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu (2009) and the parody Call Girl of Cthulhu (2014); even a trilogy of animated children’s film Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom (2016), Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom (2017) and Howard Lovecraft and the Kingdom of Madness (2018) in which a young Lovecraft encounters his own creations; while Batman faces Lovecraftian horrors in the animated Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham (2023). The Elder Gods turn up at the end of The Cabin in the Woods (2012), Lovecraft (Paul Titley) appears as an imaginary companion in Ghostland/Incident in a Ghostland (2018). Lovecraft’s key work of demonic lore The Necronomicon also makes appearances in films such as Equinox (1970), The Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992), and was also borrowed as an alternate retitling for Jesus Franco’s surreal and otherwise unrelated Succubus/Necronomicon (1969) about a BDSM dancer.

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