Stephen Blackehart

The Whisperer in Darkness (2011, Sean Branney)

Given the filmmakers are members of an organization dedicated to H.P. Lovecraft stuff, I’m going to assume the plot problems with The Whisperer in Darkness are from the source material. As in, the stupid stuff is in the original and they just left it in. Maybe they thought it was good, maybe they thought it was bad, regardless, Whisperer is pretty dumb.

Worse, it’s a mess as a film. It’s in black and white, but it’s shot on DV and DV is unforgiving. Why have CG monsters and electrical effects if you’ve got paper macho sets? It creates a disjointed visual experience and it is often jarring.

Speaking of jarring, it’s also disconcerting when director Branney doesn’t use a low angle shot or pan. He loves low angle shots and he loves panning. Whisperer‘s direction is tiresome.

Maybe if the film had been made as a comedy, it might’ve worked. But it’s serious and, sadly, it’s not even good at being serious. The silly visualization of disembodied heads, apparently in an attempt to fit in a forties style (along with the black and white), don’t match with the surprisingly good CG aliens.

Lead Matt Foyer is quite good. He wouldn’t have been able to sell it as a gag. Matt Lagan is also good. Actually, none of the performances are bad.

Also, Vermont hicks aren’t a scary villain group. It’s not Deliverance country… it’s Ben & Jerry’s country.

While interesting in its failures, Whisperer is a complete waste of time.



Directed by Sean Branney; screenplay by Andrew Leman and Branney, based on the story by H.P. Lovecraft; director of photography, David Robertson; edited and produced by Robertson; music by Troy Sterling Nies; production designer, Leman.

Starring Matt Foyer (Albert Wilmarth), Matt Lagan (Nathaniel Ward), Daniel Kaemon (P.F. Noyes), Stephen Blackehart (Charlie Tower), Autumn Wendel (Hannah Masterson), Caspar Marsh (Will Masterson), Barry Lynch (Henry Akeley), Joe Sofranko (George Akeley) and Andrew Leman (Charles Fort).

The Land That Time Forgot (2009, C. Thomas Howell)

It’s a Christian movie? Really? Okay….

I guess the dinosaurs confused that point. And I think there’s some gravity in there.

Being a fan of the seventies adaptation, I thought I’d see this one too. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever sat through. It’s relatively harmless, with far better acting than I was expecting. There’s some bad acting, but no worse than I expected from my first viewing of a “film” from the Asylum (who don’t even have a dot com, they have a dot cc).

I once read an interview with C. Thomas Howell where he said (paraphrasing), given all the great directors he’d worked with, he’d like to direct. And direct The Land That Time Forgot he does–a little bit less classy than a network sci-fi show from the nineties, but definitely better than their syndicated cousins.

His performance is solid too. He’s not much of an everyman (it’s unfortunate the script doesn’t recognize what yuppie flakes the main characters are), but he’s solid.

Screenwriter Darren Dalton gives a better performance than Howell and Lindsey McKeon is solid as his girlfriend. Anya Benton’s a disaster as Howell’s wife.

The best performances come from Timothy Bottoms and Scott Subiono, as a sixties burn-out captain and WWI U-boat commander (the biggest connection to the source novel), respectively. The film’s even better if you pretend Bottoms is gay (it never says he isn’t).

There isn’t, unfortunately, any reference to the first adaptation. There should have been.



Directed by C. Thomas Howell; screenplay by Darren Dalton, based on the novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs; director of photography, Mark Atkins; edited by Brian Brinkman; music by Chris Ridenhour; production designer, Brandon Kihl; produced by David Michael Latt; released by the Asylum.

Starring C. Thomas Howell (Frost Michaels), Timothy Bottoms (Captain Burroughs), Lindsey McKeon (Lindsey Stevens), Darren Dalton (Cole Stevens), Stephen Blackehart (Lonzo), Christopher Showerman (Stack), Patrick Gorman (Conrad), Scott Subiono (Zander), Anya Benton (Karen Michaels) and David Stevens (Jude).

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