The Last Case of August T. Harrison is a low-budget adaptation of H.P Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos produced by Ansel Faraji and Nathan Wilson—the Last Case of August T. Harrison suffers from the same shortcomings that many Lovecraftian movies do and Is mediocre at best.
The movie begins with August T. Harrison’s son Jason asks him to meet with his friend Ellenora Williams to help her find something that is missing. When August T. Harrison meets with Ellenora Williams, and she tells him that her assistant Drake Johnson disappeared with a film that she needs with her research and asks him to investigate her assistant Drake Johnson’s disappearance. Harrison accepts the case and begins his investigation into Wagner’s assistant’s disappearance.
August T. Harrison starts his investigation by speaking with Richard Hobbs about Drake Johnson’s disappearance, and Hobbs tells Harrison that Johnson and Williams were looking into parallel worlds. Harrison continues his investigation at a local beach, where he finds evidence of witchcraft. Ellenora Williams meets Harrison, and he tells her that the investigation has hit a dead end and he cannot go any further.
At home, Drake Johnson calls August T. Harrison asks for him to help him. Drake Johnson meets with August T. Harrison discussed with him the reason for his disappearance. Johnson shows the film to Harrison and tells him the truth that Ellenora Williams is a witch working with Richard Hobbs to bring the Great Old Ones to our reality. He tells Harrison that the only way to save the world is to burn the film and kill Ellenora to break the link to our world.
Harrison does not believe him, but then the lights go out, and something kills Drake Johnson. Harrison believes that Johnson committed suicide, but something’s still eating at him. He places an anonymous call to the police and places a call to both Richard Hobbs and Ellenor Williams. He confronts them about their plans, and Hobbs tells them about H.P Lovecraft’s writings and how they are real. After the usual threats, the villains allow the Great Old Ones to decide Harrisons’ fate, and a cheesy acid trip sequence continues, and H.P Lovecraft visits him in the dream.
In the dream, H.P. Lovecraft again confirms what he is seeing and then uses some spells to ward off the Great Old Ones while Harrison escapes. Harrison then proceeds to the final confrontation with Hobbs and Williams in the woods to stop the coming from the Great Old Ones. While Harrison is victorious, the following day, his wife appears and asks where their son is at. Harrison directs her to his son’s room when he gets a call that his wife has just died. The movie ends with Harrison rushing to their son’s room.
The Last Case of August T. Harrison is perhaps the poorest example of a Lovecraftian film to date. It sprinkles Lovecraftian themes and names drops enough to give it the err of a Lovecraftian work but utterly fails to deliver. The plot framework is functionally noir which lends itself to Lovecraftian Films because of the narrative style in which Lovecraft wrote. Many of Lovecraft’s stories were told as first-hand accounts through letters or other writings. Using a noir framework allowed the audience to have the first-person narrative in a somewhat modern setting. However, even in Noir movies, it is always better to show rather than tell, and much of the dialogue in this movie is narration.
While the plot framework lends itself to a Lovecraftian film, the constant name-dropping does not. A key element in the writings of H.P Lovecraft is the fear of the unknown and being driven mad as the protagonist discovers the hidden truths of the unseen horrors of the universe. The constant name-dropping in this film makes it painfully obvious to the audience that they are watching a Lovecraftian to the point that it ruins all suspense. The best example from the movie that illustrates this is a scene in which H.P. Lovecraft tells Harrison that he must stop the Call of Cthulhu to prevent the Old Ones from returning. Poor writing like this takes away from the plot and undermines any semblance of horror in the film.
For the film, The Great Old Ones are only seen in flashes and dream sequences that move so fast that they are disorienting. The director likely chose to make the Great Old Ones present rather than a seen entity. This approach could work in a film, but there needs to be a vehicle for the presence. For example, in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Eye of Sauron and the Nazgul symbolize the presence of the Dark Lord. While you cannot see Sauron, you feel his presence.
In the Last Case of August T. Harrison, you are supposed to get this feeling from the dream sequences and the cult. The cult is unseen mostly throughout the movie, but you sort of feel their presence throughout his investigation. Unfortunately, the dream sequence fails to instill the feeling of dread that you should get from an encounter with the Great Old Ones.
The lighting in the movie and the colors are all wrong. It almost switches from black and white to faded and flickering hues. The kind of color and lighting you might expect to see in a vintage old home movie. The shifting colors in the film make it seem surreal and cause the audience to lose their immersion in the movie. The film The Last Case of August T. Harrison is a patchwork of Lovecraftian ideas that fail to make a solid Lovecraftian film.