It is once again time to revisit the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society and their group of independent filmmakers. In 2005 they did a surprisingly impressive take on the classic horror story The Call of Cthulhu, presenting it in the form of a silent movie from the 1920's. Naturally when they got back into action during they opted to take their next project up a few notches with something more ambitious.
The story they settled on was The Whisperer in Darkness. Like The Call of Cthulhu, this one was filmed in "Genuine Mythoscope" meaning they used a mix of contemporary and old-fashioned filmmaking techniques. This time, however, they instead opted to make a talkie that would resemble something closer to the horror films of the 1930's. If you have not read the original Lovecraft novella, I would recommend you take a look at it. Like most of Lovecraft's writing it is public domain so you can find it for free (here is a website with the complete text).
This particular one would introduce a monster known as the Mi-Go. Now the Mi-Go are one of Lovecraft's slightly less disturbing creatures. They do not make you go crazy if you look at them, but they have a very peculiar biology. The look something like insects but are described as being more like fungi or crustaceans, and apparently are somehow composed in such a way that they do not show up on film. The only thing is that they have a strange way of seeing the world, and are more than happy to place your brain in a jar and carry you around outer space.
The basic story is told by Albert Wilmarth, a professor of folklore at Miskatonic University (a fictional institution which was frequently referred to in Lovecraft's stories). It begins with a massive flood in the hills of Vermont, during which people reportedly find a bunch of strange-looking bodies in the water. Wilmarth, being familiar with the old legends towards which the reports have been connected, remains skeptical. However, he begins corresponding with an old farmer named Henry Akeley who claims to have found evidence that there are in fact strange and seemingly malevolent beings in the area.
As with The Call of Cthulhu, the cast is made up more or less entirely of unknown b-list actors, all of whom do a reasonable job. Barry Lynch is suitably unsettling as Akeley when he finally meets Wilmarth (I won't spoil the reveal by saying why you should be unsettled during his scenes). Many of the new characters fit right into the narrative and help to flesh out the world Lovecraft envisioned, especially Wilmarth's colleague Nathaniel Ward. Anyone who knows Lovecraft's writings will know that Ward is a man you really should listen to.
The Whisperer in Darkness is a well-done treatment of H.P. Lovecraft's classic novella, and proof that his work is not, as many claim, "unfilmable". It does leave me to wonder if the HPLHS are open to the possibility of any more film projects. I personally think The Shadow Over Innsmouth might be a good one for them to tackle in the future, or perhaps The Thing On the Doorstep. This one will be harder to find, but if you can, it will have some good scares and a great story.