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August 20, 2007

Clean, High-Res "Cloverfield" Trailer

Cooooooool.

Thanks to dri. Below my reasons for guessing this might in fact be an attempt at a Lovecraftian story.


When I first saw this clip, I didn't think the monster would be Cthulhu. Because Cthulhu stories rely so much on background information to produce a sense of escalating dread, and I didn't see how a bunch of young twenty-somethings in the middle of a party could possibly suddenly discover The Necronomicon and start unpuzzling lore about ancient cults and dead gods.

The clip suggests (but only suggests) that the movie is about the monster attacking. Which is usually only briefly reported in a Lovecraft story. Most of the stories are about the build-up to the attack, not the big spectacular attack itself.

But I re-thought this. Lovecraft's stories are by and large epistolatory -- that is, there is a narrator present, but mostly the narrator introduces "found documents" -- journal entries, letters back and forth between people, first-hand accounts by other witnesses to supernatural events. The sense of versimilitude in Lovecraft (and frankly the rather dry and boring presentation as well) comes from the accumulation of very real-seeming documentary evidence, all assembled and woven together in the framework of the story. The narrator tells the story, but he himself is often just a second-hand witness introducing each bit of documentary evidence he's come across. Often the narrator doesn't really do anything except read stuff, which he presents to you the reader, until on the last page he says "Oh dear I've gone insane" or an epilogue notes "PS, the guy who wrote all the stuff you just read had his head bitten off by a monster from another dimension. Investigators are calling it a suicide."

So, how would one adapt this style of storytelling to a film? Well, given the ubiquity of video, one might make a movie out of a multiple filmed bits of documentary evidence. A videotaped police interrogation of crazed murderer. Car-hood Cops-style video of a SWAT unit bursting into home of a lunatic cult hoarding guns (and finding strange things besides guns). The raw footage of a documentary about odd cults. And of course the clips we now know of, the digital camera or cell phone captures of the attack on NYC. Piecing these various "found documents" together to construct a fractured but logical narrative of the cataclysmic occurrence would basically mimic Lovecraft's literary style in film, in which the film pretends to be a post-hoc reconstruction of the strange events through assembled documentary evidence. But hopefully a bit less dry and tweedy, and a bit more whiz-bang and exciting.

So the clips we're seeing may actually be from the nearly the end of the movie, maybe at the end of Act Two or beginning of Act Three. The rest of it would be Blair Witch type stuff -- no big explosions, just a lot of strange happenings and foreshadowing.

Anyway, that's my theory.

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posted by Ace at 02:33 PM

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