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  • AutorenbildLars Henriks

"Cthulhu Trilogy" revisited - Three Lovecraft-inspired No-Budget features on YouTube

I have just finished making the English language subtitles for my 2015 found footage comedy „Zeckenkommando vs. Cthulhu“ and - again - I’ve realized how incredibly proud I am of this little indie movie that completes my „Cthulhu Trilogy“, made up of my first three feature films.

I started this journey almost ten years ago with my first feature film „Why Hans Wagner hates the starry Sky“ and now, many, many features and two series projects later, my „Cthulhu Trilogy“ is about to get a wide release on DVD and BluRay in the US. Before that happens, for a few weeks maximum, all three films will still be available for free on YouTube - Being the early examples of Folk-Filmmaking that they are. I would love to see them gather some reviews - On Letterboxd or anywhere else!

Why should you watch these three enigmatic, weird, silly, German indie flicks? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Since this post was sparked by my re-awakened pride for „Zeckenkommando“, „Zeckenkommando“ shall start:

A punk band wants to save their rehearsal room from being sold to a dubious investor - And discovers a world-threatening, evil conspiracy in their small town.This film has got so much of a me from years ago: It has the silliness of a Scooby-Gang-type gang of misfits stumbling into an awfully big adventure. Five likable friends, cracking Bill & Ted style jokes, millennials trying to make it big by exposing themselves on social media and expecting everyone to love them for showing up, producing an echo of the German punk music scene of the late 90’s and early 2000’s.But then, there’s also the small town whose elites are deeply engrossed in an ancient, evil nazi-conspiracy. Having grown up in a village with a true nazi problem, where authorities would routinely look the other way when alternative youths were attacked brutally, criminalizing the victims, that whole business is a rather silly metaphor for an evil that I can not quite wrap my head around - To this day. The (incredibly) silly metaphor I came up with here is still the best I can do. The other day I started brainstorming about a more serious project tackling those stories, and I just can’t. I get too angry - More than ten years later.So, „Zeckenkommando vs. Cthulhu“ is a silly found footage comedy with pacing issues and without a budget. It tries to have fun with the trashier side of things, but never really abandons its more earnest ambition of presenting a story concerned with the growth of a group of endearing characters, so it doesn’t actually „deliver the goods“ on the exploitation front. I don’t know if you’ll like it. It’s not for everyone. It’s very raw, very me, but here I sit, six years later, looking at it, still being incredibly proud of it.So, I’d love for you to watch it and maybe write a short review! If you find any of the doubtless plentiful mistakes and typos in the subtitles, I’d be thankful for a little message. Still have to polish those up before they go on the BluRay ... :P

I shot this film in my parent’s house, where I grew up, after they had moved out, in the few weeks before the next people moved in.It sold out its screening at Germany’s biggest LGBTQ film festival, which made me incredibly proud that night.It’s a pretty dark comedy about a very dysfunctional family. The mother has killed the father, who now haunts her as a ghost. The daughter is a contract killer who wants to murder her mom, most of all. The son doesn’t have time for all that murder business - He just fell in love for the first time (with a call boy working for his mom - Awkward!) and he found a door in the basement, leading to an alluring nightmare-dimension.This film might be considered my thesis statement on how to translate my favorite kind of „weird“ to the screen. The tone is all over the place. I think there’s an unpleasant atmosphere as a foundation on which to deliver tongue in cheek jokes, surrounded by more-or-less ironic attempts at heartfelt drama, spiced up with moments of horror.This one doesn’t work for everyone, but for some, it works perfectly. Maybe you’re one of the few! You can find out right now!

It seems so topical now: When I sat down to think about my first feature film, I became kind of angry with the „Hero’s Journey“. It seemed to say, to a 20-year-old-me, that if you just get out of your everyday world, pass the threshold, enter Wonderland and apply yourself, you’ll get through the trials and tribulations, survive the biggest challenge in the darkest cave and come out a new and better person.In my ears back then, that sounded downright cynical. Because so much seemed and seems to loom over everyone’s head, that is totally out of any hero’s control!What if a war breaks out while you’re trying to win that battle rap contest you’re so passionate about? What if climate change makes your region uninhabitable, while you’re struggling to make it as a hairdresser?Or … What if Elder Gods invade the world while you’re trying to win the heart of a beautiful cashier?Cosmic horror as metaphor, delivered, of course, in a joyfully handmade way, self-aware, eager to entertain and loaded with off-color touches like musical scenes, stage decorations made by children, a minimalist fairyland, homeless cultists and a fairytale-style narrator.This is very rough and potentially confusing, but very honest and every time I look back on it, I’m surprised by how relevant I still find it to be.

I hope you’ll find value in these. And I’d love to hear back from you - From all of you!

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