Dreams in the Witch House: A Lovecraftian Rock Opera
Presented by The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, executive producer Mike Dalager
Platinum West, 2013
Available: Pre-order (MP3 and audio CD)
Running Time: 65 minutes.
Adapting H.P. Lovecraft into other media has not always been the easiest thing for writers, directors, and producers. It is one of the many reasons Guillermo Del Toro’s forthcoming $150 million epic take on At The Mountains of Madness has generated so much interest and dread among lovers of the author’s work. He just doesn’t translate well to other media. Films like The Thing or Alien, though not created from Lovecraft works, are often considered more stylistically Lovecraftian than the films actually adapted from his stories. However, I have now discovered a very faithful adaptation of Dreams of the Witch House, and quite an unusual one: a rock opera. It’s the most interesting tribute since the silent film Call of Cthulu.
The audacity of executive producer Mike Dalager’s project is my favorite thing about it. Writing a rock opera based on a beloved story is challenge enough; try doing it with over a dozen voice actors, a six member rock band that lives in various countries, organizing recording in LA, Sweden, and Denmark, and then paying for it all without a record label backing you financially. It is quite a feat.
The opera tells the story of Miskatonic University mathematics student Walter Gilman, who is having nightmares while staying in Arkham’s infamous Witch House. Brown Jenkin (Chris Laney) is a hybrid humanoid rat-like creature who torments the sleeping math genius as he unlocks the secrets of universe and opens up travel to other planes of reality. The songs range from operatic metal to straight rock, some with a 90s feel.
To say I am impressed by this project is an understatement. I think every Lovecraft collector or library should have this in their collection cross-referenced to his books. Highly recommended, with a big thumbs up for horror fans, and anyone who collects rock and metal music. Appropriate for ages 12-up
Reviewed by David Agranoff