by Andrew James
LoveCracked is a series of short vignettes from various filmmakers giving their own interpretation of a Lovecraft piece or is at least directly inspired by Lovecraft. Encompassing each short segment to make a whole is the effort of a young, naieve and "slow" young reporter trying to guage insight into Lovecraft's life by visiting landmarks that have nothing to do with Lovecraft and trying to give us interviews of people on the street for their reactions and thoughts on the man. These interactions work in most cases and will have you chuckling in your seat. Some of these interactions just seem to drag on and on until they aren't funny anymore. But in some cases, the longer they drag on, they funnier they get.
Without breaking down the entire movie into segments and reviewing each short film one at a time, the movie is hard to criticize as a whole. Most of the actors do a fairly believeable job in their efforts, considering some of the dialogue they are forced to say. The ones that seem to work best for me, were the stories that involved no dialogue at all, just some creepy, surreal imagery of things "from beyond."
Each segment has its own unique feel, style and tone. A couple of the more enjoyable ones use interesting technique to tell their story. Some stop-motion, grainy film stock with pops and film scratches and just an overall David Lynch feel to them. These are the segments, most of which are in the second half of the movie, work well. Some of the other segments towards the beginning are simply put, dreadfually painful to have to sit through. But those with patience will find their efforts pay off later with some great, genuinely creepy and disgusting (in a good way) shorts reminiscent of films like The Fly, Night of the Living Dead or a bad episode of "Dr. Who". One of the final segments, Re-Penetrator is basically a soft-core porn show that is frankly, one of the sickest sex acts I can ever remember seeing. Viewers will either look on in shock, others will laugh their ass off, while still others may run for the toilet to lose their lunch.
The gore and make-up department for some of these segments deserve to be well commended for their efforts in bringing zombies, witches, monsters and, for lack of a better term, vampires, to an exceptionally vivid light. The use of black and white photography in some cases worked really well in capturing the grotesque and/or creepiness to many segments. In particular, the short film Bug Boy has a man emerging from a coccoon only to grow horns from his cheeks and become a flesh eating creature that is truly scary. It works surprisingly well and any big budget producer would be happy.
If you know Lovecraft and appreciate what his writings became, you may find more appreciation in this twisted anthology of shorts than the layman might. Still, like I said, some of the schtik works and sometimes it's painful to sit through. The TV reporter's gags and brand of humor will capture some of you with chucklery while others may cock their head in bewilderment. He would work well for "Wierd" Al's television network in the film, UHF and is competent with this type of humor.
Much of the audio was obviously over-dubbed later, including not only the sound-effects, but also a lot of the dialogue. It's unfortunately very noticeable and distracting when the speaker's lips don't match with what you are hearing. Or when there should be the bustling sounds of streetcars or pedestrians and all we can hear is a man obviously talking into a microphone in a studio. It's quite possible that is an intentional move by the director to instill a sense of campiness to the scenes, but for me, it difficult to stomach.
Although obviously not an award winner, LoveCracked! has some great ideas that could help launch some promising careers from some obviously talented filmmakers. Shorts are able to give directors a longer leadrope, so to speak, in which to showoff their wares; stories that probably would never work, or even be tried as a full length film, tend to show us glimpses of a filmmaker's ultimate potential. Some will shoot for the stars (and should), while others will be stopped dead in their tracks.