March 19, 2018 H.P. Lovecraft: Two Left Arms (Movie Review)
Step inside the world of H.P. Lovecraft with H.P. Lovecraft: Two Left Arms, a brand new Thriller offering that, originally released in Italy in 2013, finally arrives to DVD in the USA on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, thanks to Bayview Entertainment.
In a small village in Italy, Randolph Carter (Paolo Stella: Family Storm 2005, Indiscretion 2013) is tasked with renovating a painting that has been whitewashed and lost to time. His guide and translator, Emma Galliani (Yvonne Sciò: Stephen King’s Rose Red Mini-Series 2002, The Pink Panther 2006), serves as a gentle introduction to the townsfolk who are a peculiar batch, particularly the local innkeeper (Frank La Loggia in his acting debut).
Every small-town has its legends, and as Carter begins to slowly chip away at his work he discovers secrets hidden beneath the hastily-applied white-coating. Of course, he also begins to learn more about the town and their insular legends that surround the lake and a family of outcasts, Antonio Mezzanotte (Carlo De Mejo: The Outside Man 1972, Contamination 1980) and his son Fedele (Federico Pedroni: Tarot: A Documentary Love Story 2014, American Bistro 2017).
Clocking in at 80 minutes in-length, H.P. Lovecraft: Two Left Arms was directed by Domiziano Cristopharo (House of Flesh Mannequins 2009, Phantasmagoria 2014) and written by Andrea Cavaletto (Dirty Love 2009, Hidden in the Woods 2012). The film is billed as a Thriller and it reads like one – minus the thrills – and suffers heavily for its mixed bag of English and Italian, with a random smattering of English subtitles that do not always arrive at the most useful moments. In fact, many scenes that appear to be foreshadowing and building tension occur in Italian-only, without subtitles.
The most important thing to know about H.P. Lovecraft: Two Left Arms, however, is that this is a film with a creature that very subtly appears to be derived from the Cthulhu mythos, the fictional universe of characters inspired by the writings of American Horror Writer H.P. Lovecraft. Which, in short, means that Two Left Arms is not a story written by Lovecraft, but rather a story inspired by the writings of Lovecraft, and that is an important, distinguishing line for fans.
The cold-chills and spine-tingling glee that are baked into Lovecraft’s writings are sorely absent herein. The story is slow-moving, at best, with some slime, a shower that rains blood, a dead body, and a devilish book (that looks like a scrapbooking project gone awry) to attempt to propel a tale that is decidedly not scary. The ensemble cast here do a decent job in their roles – never ridiculous, but never impressive – though none of the actors have much real material to work with. Even poor Stella’s character Carter suffers under the weight of a faulty backstory that attempts to explain why an American has such a heavy Italian accent.
In the end, H.P. Lovecraft: Two Left Arms feels like an early 1990s made-for-TV flick that tries to induce a sense of eeriness and craft a haunting tale worthy of its name, but flounders in its ability to deliver the goods. On the plus side, Italy delivers some beautiful scenery throughout the film, but the cheap cinematography never fully does it justice and the story is too weak to ever truly develop into anything thrilling or noteworthy. Perhaps it is the poor Italian-to-English translation of the production, but whatever the case, this film falls utterly flat upon its American arrival. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives H.P. Lovecraft: Two Left Arms 2.5 of 5 stars.