Top Ten H.P. Lovecraft Inspired Horror Movies

Monster Mary

Howard Phillips Lovecraft created the Cthulhu Mythos, a grand and horrific complex world of ancient gods that was very unique to Lovecraft and to Horror literature at the time. Cthulu, Azathoth, and Yog-Sothoth are the ancient old ones and the heart of the Lovecraft stories. Lovecraft created stories that were far before his time and ended up influencing Modern Horror Films  immensely in many ways. He had a hard childhood and was a bit of a recluse and suffered from Depression his whole life.

Most of his stories were published in the pulp magazine, Weird Tales. Some of the best Horror movies are inspired by or created from the works of H.P. Lovecraft.  If you haven’t read any lovecraft yet, I highly recommend it, as they are quite disturbing and well written.   Here is a Top Ten list of the best Lovecraft movies to watch when you are in the mood for something completely different then the normal Horror movie.

10- Necronomicon (1993)

Necronomicon is an Anthology loosely based on three short stories by Lovecraft. The Drowned is based on The Rats in the Walls, The Cold is based on Cool Air and Whispers is based on The Whisperer in Darkness. There is a wrap around story starring Jeffrey Combs as H.P. Lovecraft himself. He goes to the local library to read a selection of stories from the Necronomicon.

9-The Resurected (1992)

A beautiful woman hires a detective to investigate what her husband, Charles Dexter Ward, has been experimenting with. Human remains have gone missing and Ward has locked himself in a labratory underground conducting experiments on them.  The Resurrected stars Chris Sarandon as Charles Dexter Ward and Joseph Curwen, you might recognize him from the original Fright Night.

8- Dunwich Horror (1970)

Dean stockwell and Sandra Dee star in the Dunwich Horror based on Lovecraft’s story and is produced by Roger Corman. Stockwell plays a man who wants to study the Necronomicon that is kept in the library at the University. He wants to discover the secret to bringing back the old ones with an ancient ritual.

 7- In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

Trent is hired to investigate the disappearnce of a famous Horror Author, Sutter Canne.  After reading several of the novels, Trent starts to hallucinate and have nightmares of monsters and deformed people.  Trent decides to try and find Hobb’s End, a fictional town in the novels and ends up in another dimension where his nightmares start to come true.

6- Castle Freak (1995)

Castle Freak is based on one my favorite short stories by Lovecraft called The Outsider. A family inherits a castle after a Duches passes away. Little does the family know that the Duchess had a son that she locked away and abused his entire life in the dungeon of the castle. The castle freak escapes and starts to kill people in the castle.

5- Dagon (2001)

A young couple, after having boat trouble, come to an old fishing village on an island. The locals do not like strangers on their island because their secret religion might be revealed. They prey to an ancient god called Dagon, and have freakish half fish, half human offspring.

4- From Beyond (1986)

From Beyond is about a couple of scientists, Jeffrey Combs and Ted Sorrel, attempting to stimulate the pineal gland with a device called The Resonator. Unfortunately, their experiments open a door to another dimension and the creatures there are not very friendly. They proceed to drag Ted Sorrel into their world but return him as a grotesque shape-changing monster that tries to kill everyone at the laboratory.

3- The Thing (1982)

The Thing by John Carpenter was loosely based on Lovecraft’s From the Mountains of Madness and Who goes There? by John W. Cambell. The Thing is a story about an American Antarctic research station that has an evil alien life form among them that can imitate human beings. The group of researchers don’t know who to trust because the alien entity can take over a life form and blend in.

2- Re-Animator (1985)

Re- Animator was written for a humour pulp magazine called Home Brew originally by Lovecraft.  Herbert West, a scientist, figures out how to bring life back to a corpse by using a green glowing elixir.  Funny and over the top gore make Re-Animator a must see for Horror fans and have turned it into a true Cult Horror Classic. Jeffrey Combs is brilliant as the mad scientist, West, and Barbara Crampton suffers some really unwanted attention from the severed head of Dr. Hill.

1- Evil Dead 2 (1987)

Lovecraft invented the Necronomicon, which is a Book that explains who the old ones are and how to summon them. In Evil Dead 2 Ash and his girlfriend go to a Cabin in the woods for some fun and find the Book of the Dead, or the Necronomicon, in their cabin. Next to it is a tape recorder with incantations from the book that when played release demons that possess and kill everyone in the woods. Evil Dead 2 is non stop fun from beginning to end, extremely funny and gory at the same time. Bruce Cambell is hilarious as Ash, the supermarket attendant, that somehow survives the demons and even his own possessed hand.


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      1. Christopher Siciliano May 5, 2012 at 2:20 am

        For shame… Evil Dead 2 is not Lovecraftian!  Just because they have the Necronomicon in the story does not mean that the story itself is in any way Lovecraftian…

        • David May 31, 2015 at 3:54 am

          Just to be fair; he did say ‘Inspired’, the book was obviously Inspired by Lovecraft’s Necronomicon book. Cheers

      2. Martin Wagner May 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm

        Your list includes neither The Call of Cthulhu nor The Whisperer in Darkness, both brilliant productions by the HP Lovecraft Historical Society, while managing to include several movies by that hack of hacks Stuart Gordon, a cheese director who has spewed out several grade-Z “adaptations” (while his only good one, Re-Animator, deviated completely from HPL to go the comedy route) while absolutely, categorically failing to understand what Lovecraft’s fiction was all about at even the most baseline level.

        This list, therefore, is monumental fail. Sorry.

      3. John Griffiths May 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm

        Hellboy , Anyone!!!!

      4. Luna July 18, 2012 at 5:07 am

        “Just because they have the Necronomicon in the story does not mean that the story itself is in any way Lovecraftian.” *FACEDESK* No, no, of course not, not in any way at all.

      5. DirtyGirl October 16, 2012 at 7:59 pm

        Be sure to check out The Haunted Palace as well…It just barely missed the list!

      6. filmbuffer June 3, 2013 at 9:55 am

        In defence of Dirty Girl’s list, to say that Evil Dead 2 is not inspired by Lovecraft is to deny the impact of Lovecraft and his Cthulhu mythos on the American horror film (and horror in general). To that list you might also include such films as Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (monsters from another dimension that seek a way to destroy humanity and reclaim the earth when the stars properly align), Cabin in the Woods (evil Ancient Ones that reside dormant in the bowels of the earth), The Relic (a Cthulhu monster that is a grotesque hybrid of creatures) and one might even include some of the Hellraiser films. None of these are of course Lovecraft adaptations, but they have all been influenced in some way by Lovecraft.

      7. AkrobuT June 18, 2013 at 11:48 pm

        I also think that to call a movie “inspired by”, one needs a bit more than a name of the book (which wasn’t even Necronomicon in the first Evil Dead) or a similar premise (Carpenter never mentioned Lovecraft in connection with The Thing). Lucio Fulci’s City of the Living Dead was sold in my country with H.P. Lovecraft’s attached to it, yet the only Lovecraftian thing there was the name Dunwich.

        Now The Call of Cthulhu indie or Dreams in the Witch House from Masters of Horror series deserved a mention. There is also The Haunted Palace by Roger Corman which I yet have to see, but it is said to draw a lot of inspiration from The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

      8. ayooooo August 21, 2013 at 11:03 pm

        i would of replaced “evil dead” with “Event Horizon”, which was like “from beyond” and one of my favorite films. I feel this list is merely attempted adaptations directly from his stories, but some of the best movies don’t use his stories, but offer more of a “lovecraftian” feel then most of these movies.

      9. Jenifer Cappello October 23, 2013 at 2:58 pm

        Just an honorable mention, Event Horizon, a universe of pure evil leaks into our own. No tentacles or necromicon, but its gory, and gives me chills watching it.

      10. pythiaserpentis January 14, 2014 at 3:02 am

        The Thing is solely based on Who goes There? by John W. Cambell. I don’t know how you correlate it to HP Lovecraft, sorry but this is an awful list.

      11. Bob August 4, 2014 at 7:19 pm

        The Thing really…really…really? THE THING is ONLY based on ‘who goes there’ what a bullshit excuse to put The Thing on this list. Did you make that up? Did John Carpenter ever say that or any of the filmmakers allude to it being inspire by Mountains or are you just making that up.

        • David May 31, 2015 at 4:00 am

          the influence is all speculation, so you don’t know. it’s hardly ‘bullshit’.

      12. DK September 1, 2014 at 7:55 pm

        “The Thing” (1982) is based on a short story by John W. Campbell.

        Anyone who’s actually READ the story and seen the film, who’s read “At the Mountains of Madness” realizes the film also owes something to H.P. Lovecraft’s work in its visualization of the “thing,” which often appears inchoate and weirdly hybrid.

        H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness,” is widely hypothesized as an influence on both. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness,” was published in 1936 in Astounding Stories magazine, of which Campbell gradually assumed the editorship between October 1937 and May 1938. “Who Goes There” was published in August 1938 in Astounding Science Fiction (Astounding Stories retitled). These relationships (time sequence, same magazine, Campbell’s relation to the magazine in question) as well as certain elements in common between the two stories indicate that Lovecraft’s story influenced Campbell’s, just as Edgar Allan Poe’s novella “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym” was undoubtedly an influence on Lovecraft.

        As for Lovecraft’s influence on Carpenter, Carpenter later went on to direct “In the Mouth of Madness” (a more obviously Lovecraftian pastiche) and was an early colleague/collaborator of Dan O’Bannon, who wrote the “Alien” screenplay (“Alien” owed much of its look to designer/ conceptualist H.R. Giger, himself heavily influenced by Lovecraft) and also directed “The Resurrected” (based on an H.P. Lovecraft story).

        So, yes, I’d say “The Thing” (1982) belongs on this list.

      13. DK September 1, 2014 at 8:01 pm

        That said, I am not comfortable with “Evil Dead 2” being on this list, and recommend instead the little known “Possession” (1981) which coincidentally also stars Sam Neill.

      14. Fido September 1, 2014 at 9:56 pm

        I loved In The Mouth Of Madness. Didn’t understand it though. 😛

      15. Gary Gemmell August 19, 2017 at 10:45 pm

        John Carpenters classic Cigarette Burns Lovecraftian!
        What is is with Jeffrey Combes as well he seems to be in almost every Lovecraftian film ever made lol

      16. Rosaleen Willows August 20, 2017 at 8:41 pm

        Great list especially Dagon! Loved Re-Animator

      17. Martin Quatermass March 9, 2019 at 10:33 pm

        From the Mountains of Madness?