Films based on video games have a dark history- there was that period in the 2000s where Hollywood parasite Uwe Boll was turning your favourite games such as Far Cry and Alone in the Dark into horrific cash grabs; the less said about Super Mario Bros. the better and even in today, movies like Hitman: Agent 47, are tame action movies that only carry similarities in their source by sharing a name and (hopefully) a vaguely recognisable protagonist. Meanwhile, if you seek out films based on the work of the cosmic horror author H. P. Lovecraft, you come across a multitude of tongue in cheek horror comedies (Call Girl of Cthulhu and Re-animator to name two) or your standard somewhat gritty modern B-movie horror (usually one word titles named after a Cthulhu-mythos being). Both sub-genres aren’t held in particularly high regard.
But what if I told you that I could combine both of these genres in one project?
The Room is a trilogy of mobile puzzle games from Fireproof Games. They see you take control of an unnamed, silent protagonist exploring a number of interconnected locations as you investigate the existence of the ‘Null’, the mystical fifth classical element. You are guided across the game by notes written by an unknown figure and work to unlock puzzle boxes in bizarre locations that are linked by doors that spawn from the walls around you once you unlock each room’s main puzzle box. Currently there are three games, each one giving you a little more about who you are, what you are doing and what the Null is and can do. While not directly Lovecraftian, the slow pace, mystery and puzzle of the game as well as the generally woo-wa of the Null and its tentacles, the only part of the Null we directly see except for a brief Null-cameo on occasion, it will definitely give Lovecraftian fans a mythos vibe.
So why would The Room make a great Lovecraftian project? Well, let’s examine what makes a great Lovecraftian adventure:
-A slow burn pace, building in a beautiful crescendo towards a horrific climax
-A largely unseen antagonist
-A small cast of core characters
-A somewhat insane or unhinged guide of some sort
-An early 20th Century setting
So which of these does The Room fulfil? Well, it certainly has a wonderful slow-burn pace, allowing the player to take each puzzle at their own pace. The game series also features a small cast of two characters, one of them who appears to be a somewhat unhinged academic who is travelling through the rooms before you. The setting appears to be somewhere in the late 19th Century or early 20th Century based on the technology around you but this does also shift depending on the room you are in, which can range from a pirate ship to an Aztec/Mayan tomb. And finally, the Null is certainly a largely unseen antagonist but beyond that, we never find out what is pulling the strings and manipulating the events of the game.
As you can see, The Room series does fulfil my criteria but how exactly would this translate into a film? Well, The Room could do well as a mini-series adaptation, seeing a group of unconnected people comes across the first Room and beginning a journey that seems them flit between a journey for the null and the reality that they once existed in. A small cast in a dark, Lovecraftian setting with the Null potentially leading to an actual mythos being would make for a gripping mini-series at the very least.
Each episode could see our protagonists seeking the next room in their journey while trying to find out more about the Null and the mysterious forces surrounding it. The audience would also see the sanity begin to slip from the protagonists as they try, and fail, to comprehend this assault to their reality.
Hell, I might run this as a long running Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game…
So that’s my pitch? Have you played the Room and its sequels? What do you think of my pitch?