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Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown (2008) Review

“Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown” is a 2008 American documentary film directed by Frank H. Woodward. The film explores the life and work of horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, with interviews from authors and filmmakers who have been influenced by his work.

The film starts with a brief biography of Lovecraft, including his upbringing in Providence, Rhode Island and his early interest in horror and the macabre. It then goes on to explore his most famous works, including “The Call of Cthulhu” and “The Dunwich Horror”. The film also looks at the ways in which Lovecraft’s work has influenced subsequent generations of authors and filmmakers, including Stephen King, Guillermo del Toro, and Neil Gaiman.

Most of Lovecraft’s life was dogged by anxiety’s, xenophobia, depression and awkwardness. This documentary doesn’t try to embellish the man and make him into something that he isn’t. It’s a true and frank look at a very weird man with a special skill for writing stories that have inspired countless creative artists. It starts in Lovecraft’s early years as a youngster and takes us through his life showing us the pitfalls he had to go though as a person and as a writer.

In honesty I don’t think this documentation will enlighten huge fans of Lovecraft but it is interesting to watch, even if for the opinions of those who are interviewed. John Carpenter, Guillermo del Toro, Stuart Gordon, these guys are some of the best horror directors going today and to hear their opinion on one of the true great writers who have inspired them is just priceless. It investigates and looks at some of his best works and offers opinions on what makes them special and pertinent to modern and past societies. It gets very psychological at times, but then I guess horror is a psychological business.

Ultimately, those who care nothing for Lovecraft are probably going to hate this documentary. It is at times slow and a bit drawn out. I also wish that they could have focused a bit more on the movies that have been produced from Lovecraft’s writings, i.e.: From Beyond, Re-Animator, Dagon etc. It wasn’t to be though.

So, anyone wanting to know a bit more about one of horror’s best thinkers or even anyone looking to find a nice and somewhat intellectual way to spend an hour and half could do worse than checking this one out. I really quite liked it and I hope you do too.

Overall, “Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown” is a fascinating documentary that provides a great deal of insight into the life and work of one of the most important horror writers of the 20th century. If you’re a fan of Lovecraft or horror in general, then this is definitely a film that you should check out.


Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown is a documentary about the life and work of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. The film explores how Lovecraft’s writings have influenced the horror genre, and how his work has been adapted for film and television. The film features interviews with horror writers and filmmakers, who discuss Lovecraft’s influence on their work.

Movie Details

Director: Frank H. Woodward
Writer: Frank H. Woodward
Cast: Caitlin R. Kiernan, Robert M. Price, John Carpenter, Neil Gaiman
Release Year: 2008