Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy

H.P. Lovecraft's Cool Air

By Steve Anderson
Jan 1st, 2014

H.P. LOvecraft's Cool AirH.P. Lovecraft's Cool Air
**
DVD
Directed by Albert Pyun
Written by Cynthia Curnan
Starring Morgan Weisser, Crystal Laws Green, Jenny Dare Paulin
78 mins
2013
PG-13

I admit, when I picked this one up, I was a little on the nervous side. Perennially, H.P. Lovecraft adaptations had gone one of two ways: there were the awesome ones like the Re-Animator series or "From Beyond," and there were the craptacular ones like "Dagon" and that godawful piece of slop that Ulli Lommel spit at audiences, "The Tomb." But what side would "Cool Air" end up on? It's a coin flip with H.P. Lovecraft movies, and thus, always an exciting proposition at the outset.

"Cool Air" follows Charlie Baxter, a man who--like many others--wants to get into the business of screenwriting but just can't as yet manage to pull it off. He's spending most of his time making a meager living in re-writing horror and science fiction scripts.

The fact that about the first minute of this movie is a series of blocks of text accompanied by music didn't exactly do a lot to endear it to me. However, it did set up a rather intriguing premise of the kind that doesn't often come along. But it's only going to get stranger from here as bizarre events will take place, unaccountable plot elements will introduce themselves and vanish, and for some reason, text that does not spell actual words in English that I can recognize will show up. And there will be lots and lots and lots of high-speed flashing. Could this film be used as a field-expedient substitute for the Litton Light Test? I'm not sure, but man, I don't think I'd want to find out.

While I'm all in favor of a little innovation, I can't help but think this thing was just a bit over-narrated. I give them due credit for trying something different, I just don't think it worked here very well. There's not much here in the way of action--granted, Lovecraft isn't always long on action--but there are ways and means, as displayed by the iconic Dr. Herbert West. This is long on dialogue, especially on narration. There's not much snappy patter, but a story being told all the same. It's a decent enough story, but the presentation leaves a bit to be desired.

The ending is just chock-a-block full of words, but it's a decent capstone to a decent movie, done in its own particular style.

Special features include your choice of English or Spanish subtitles, and trailers for "The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia," "Sinister," "The Possession," and a preview for Fearnet.com.

Essentially, "Cool Air" does something new and interesting here, but ultimately, can't quite make the execution succeed. It's worth catching for that slice of new and different that doesn't often show up, but it's not going to be a particularly great slice of new and different. That's a shame, but just a small one.

Want to receive an expanded version of Reel Advice as an E-Newsletter?? Email to thevideostoreguy@columnist.com with "The Advisor" in the subject line.  Steve Andersen, much to his own chagrin, is a five-plus year veteran of the direct to video market. He has spent an alarming amount of time in video stores and seeks to provide the public with advance information on all the video releases that they may never have heard of...whether they want to hear of them or not. Steve appears in one way or another weekly, biweekly, or monthly on such fine entertainment-related ezines as Film Threat, Dream Forge, Reel Horror, Acid Logic, Chaotic Culture Magazine, Malicious Bitch webzine, and many others. Readers, agents, or editors can email Steve at thevideostoreguy@columnist.com




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