Cthulhu has been trumpeted in the pages of The Stranger for years now: Grant Cogswell is a contributor to our paper, and the arduous making of the gay-themed horror film has been painstakingly documented from our film section to a very good making-of feature by Cogswell two months ago to a 2005 Drunk of the Week cameo (Tori Spelling sang "Eternal Flame" at the Bus Stop's karaoke night).

So it is not without a certain amount of institutional shame that I admit Cthulhu is a poorly made film with almost no merits. The "almost" here refers to the cinematography by Sean Kirby, which is, at times, beautiful.

But everything else is shit. The pacing is awkward, the costumes are embarrassing, and the dialogue is wooden and just plain dumb. Waggish critics will probably comment that Tori Spelling puts in the best performance of the movie, but that's a lazy zinger: Her acting is exactly as bad as everyone else's.

The worst part is that the filmmakers are trying so hard to artfully transcend the apocalyptic horror genre—to comment, through little parodies and self-aware digs, that they're making a "real" movie with "real" themes—that they wound up producing a horror movie that's not in the least bit frightening. Cthulhu is possibly the worst in a long line of shoddy H. P. Lovecraft film adaptations. It's a goddamned shame, is what it is.recommended