Review: Leamington Underground Cinema Festival’s Call of Cthulhu was ‘consistently breathtaking’

Freda Ellis, Florence Ellis, James Knight, Niall Nash, and Pip Burley performing at The Call of Cthulhu Live Soundtrack Event.

Freda Ellis, Florence Ellis, James Knight, Niall Nash, and Pip Burley performing at The Call of Cthulhu Live Soundtrack Event.

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Call of Cthulhu Live Sountrack Event

North Hall, Spencer Yard, Leamington

Last Saturday (December 6) saw the belated final event of this year’s Leamington Underground Cinema Festival, complete with a reconstruction of the award ceremony, and this year’s winner Simon Ball collecting his trophy for the short film Golden.

The sell-out event, rescheduled due to the sudden closure of beloved local arts centre Lamp, had as much buzz as I’ve seen for any LUC event in the last few years, and with good reason.

This would be the first event in which LUC had commissioned an original film score, to be played live by a five-piece ensemble.

The film itself, a 2005 screenplay of the seminal H P Lovecraft short story The Call of Cthulhu, was an impressively realistic re-imagining of how the film would have looked, were it to have been made in the 1920s, complete with title cards and stop-frame animation.

Composed by Florence Ellis, the exceptional 45 minute avant-guarde score included a Hammond organ, digital theremin, fire bell, and an eerie folk song.

Funded off the back of LUC’s wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, which raised well over £3,000 in just a few weeks, the quality of the event was consistently breathtaking, from the giant tentacle art installation on the way in - thanks to the LUC Art Department - to the enigmatic programme left on the seats, and the elaborate musical set-up in the right hand corner by the screen.

For those that could not make it, there will be a professional recording of the evening available in the new year - keep checking www.leamingtonundergroundcinema.wordpress.com for details - as well as repeat performances at cinema’s throughout the UK.