In the previous post in this series, I made reference to the role of sleep and the Dreamland it gives access to in the stories of H.P. Lovecraft. Central to those is the so-called “Dream Cycle”, which consists of “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath” (1926-27), “The Silver Key” (1926) and “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” (1932-33). These stories all feature Randolph Carter, who first appeared in “The Statement of Randolph Carter”. (Several versions of it can be viewed on Undead Backbrain’s last Weekend Fright Flick.)
When Randolph Carter was thirty he lost the key of the gate of dreams. Prior to that time he had made up for the prosiness of life by nightly excursions to strange and ancient cities beyond space, and lovely, unbelievable garden lands across ethereal seas; but as middle age hardened upon him he felt these liberties slipping away little by little, until at last he was cut off altogether. (From “The Silver Key” by H.P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels, Arkham House edition, 1964)
Due in 2010 is a short film based on “The Silver Key” (1926), in which Carter finds his way back into the Dreamlands via a chthonian cave and a silver key:
… for in its cryptical arabesques there may stand symbolised all the aims and mysteries of a blindly impersonal cosmos.
The Silver Key [US-2010; short; dir. Gary Fierro)
Another sleep-related short Lovecraft film, this one just released, is based on the story “Beyond the Wall of Sleep” (see A Lovecraftian Invasion 2: The Sleeping Deep). Shot in what the creators describe as “a neo-noir style and with nods to B movie chillers, Twilight Zone and Universal Horror”, it takes a “fresh look into the inventive mind of one of the masters of horror”. Apparently it even features Lloyd Kaufman, head of notorious B-film horror studio Troma Films.
Beyond the Wall of Sleep (US-2009; short [34 min]; dir. Nathan Fisher)
When a new patient arrives at the asylum Dr. Kaufman must attempt to find the source of his violent madness. Joe Slater has suffered his entire life from strange fits upon awakening, ranting and screaming to the heavens. When Joe murders a neighbor in the throes of one of his attacks he comes under the care of the one man who may be able to discover what lies beyond the wall of sleep… (hplfilmfestival.com)
An official selection of the 2009 H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Beyond the Wall of Sleep stars Greg Cannon, Jason Finley, Lloyd Kaufman, Gia Bathory, and Stacey Dixon, with original music by Doctor Gonzo, Cuttlefish, Joecephus and the George Jonestown Massacre. The script was adapted from the H. P. Lovecraft story by Nathan Fisher.
Major Dream Sequence, featuring Lloyd Kaufman and a very Cthulhan mask:
Here’s an earlier version, feature-length this time.
Beyond the Wall of Sleep (US-2006; dir. Barrett J. Leigh and Thom Maurer)