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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dagon: The Shadow over Imboca

By my original plan I should have watched another werewolf movie but really didn't  want another one so soon after Wolfen.  So I changed my schedule. Besides, I didn't have any lovecraftian horror on my list.  Instead of watching Moon of the Wolf (1972) I watched Dagon (2001) a Spanish horror film based on a novella by H.P. Lovecraft.

You might have expected it be based upon his story Dagon, but it wasn’t.  It was based on his later story The Shadow over Innsmouth.

The film follows a group of American tourists who are forced by a sudden storm to steer their yacht toward Imboca, a dismal looking town on the Spanish coast.  And, because this is a horror movie, they soon wish they hadn’t.  The town seems empty at first, and silent except for a strange singing which seems to come from a strange church (Esoterica Orde de Dagon). But it’s soon crawling (quite literally) with people (not so literally.)

The townfolk are horrible monstrosities with tentacles and teeth and gills. They have for many years, abandoned their Christian faith for the worship of Dagon and the “Deep Ones” –strange ocean dwelling creatures - in return for bountiful fish and for gold.  But Dagon demands human sacrifice and the mating of humans with the Deep Ones. The resulting offspring are the grotesque inhabitants of Imboca
I think their predominant color was a greyish-green, though they had white bellies. They were mostly shiny and slippery, but the ridges of their backs were scaly. Their forms vaguely suggested the anthropoid, while their heads were the heads of fish, with prodigious bulging eyes that never closed. At the sides of their necks were palpitating gills, and their long paws were webbed. They hopped irregularly, sometimes on two legs and sometimes on four. I was somehow glad that they had no more than four limbs. Their croaking, baying voices, clearly used for articulate speech, held all the dark shades of expression which their staring faces lacked ... They were the blasphemous fish-frogs of the nameless design - living and horrible.-from The Shadow over Innsmouth - H.P. Lovecraft
Lovecraft’s fiction is characterized by an inevitable fatalism.  The human race will disappear, swallowed up by ancient nightmarish creatures from beyond the galaxy.  Humans, in Lovecraft’s stories, are utterly insignificant. These creatures invading the earth care as much for us as we do for the insects we crush beneath our feet. And human action, choice, freedom, is all but an illusion.  The horror of Lovecraft’s fiction isn’t in the hideous creatures (though they are fearful and horrible) but in the meaningless of our existence, it is in the discovery of the fact that we can do nothing to effect a change in the vast uncaring and indifferent universe.

Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn!

“We shall dive down through black abysses, and in that lair of the Deep Ones, we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory for ever."

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