H.P. Lovecraft’s novel Celephaïs, published in 1922, is the author’s last book to be published, while Dream Apex Pictures this week shows only a bloody aversion to turning the story into an independent short film.
The team’s speaking: Story is a mix of dark fantasy and horror, featuring familiar Lovecraft themes: Despair, isolation, obsession, dreams, cosmic horror and of course madness. The story consists of seven pages, and we estimate that our film will last between twenty and thirty minutes.
Selefayce tells the story of a boy who, at the age of seven, has the most beautiful dream and then, for sixty-six years, desperately tries to find him to escape his mundane and depressing life.
Here’s the full press release that Dream Apex sent us:
We stayed as close as possible to the original material and used it as much as possible to tell the story in a meaningful way on film. Although most of the novel can be adapted for a small fee, the biggest problem is the fantasy elements that are too expensive for an independent film, such as flying boats, camels and a city of pink marble floating in the air. That is why we have adapted them to keep them within the limits of our budget while retaining their essence. We also recorded tons of Easter eggs for Lovecraft fans.
We live and work in New England and are passionate about filming here, showing places that have never been filmed before. It is our home, but more importantly, it offers us places that look and feel like they have been taken directly from his work, and are almost impossible to replicate elsewhere. We can practically leave our homes and find ideal and disturbing locations, such as stark coastal towns, rocky coasts and even medieval castles.
Our special effects by Jeff O’Brien and Nicholas Flanagan (Shuttle, drive-in horror show, God of Vampires) are practical, including latex mountains, puppet theatre and camera tricks. Apart from the fact that we create our effects with the computer, there is nothing in this film that could not be done a hundred years ago. This approach was born out of a lack of budget, but became our strength as production progressed. And we are the children of the horrors of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, so we feel comfortable making our film that way.
The schedule was tense and tiring. At the end of August we wrote the first word of the script, recorded most of the film in a short time (including casting and location scouting) and eight weeks later we were able to get the camera out. The film consists of more than twenty scenes, which are in different places, so we hardly had time to finish one and produce the other. It was a crazy process, but I think it’s appropriate to have a little craziness when working with Lovecraft. As with all films currently in production, we have been delayed on KOVID-19, but we have already finished two thirds of the shooting and hope to finish a mixed editing this summer (although that may still change).
We’re incredibly excited about this story. We are big fans of Lovecraft, and it was an honor to bring his world to life by filming him in a grim corner of our country he called home. As this project is ambitious enough in size, we have relied heavily on the support of the local film community and we are very happy to see that the joint efforts of all the actors are bearing fruit. Celephaïs is a celebration of the talent, passion and commitment of New England filmmakers. We look forward to sharing this with all of you.
Selefai is directed by Michael Neel (writer/director of the horror drive-in, director/principal dancer of Infinity Santa 8000 and director/animator of Jasper’s Tales) and producer Joe Lemieux (writer/shop producer), artist of Infinity Santa 8000 and Jasper’s Tales and writer/director of The Veil of Blood) from a script written by the two directors. Film stars – Chuck’s brother-in-law, Sylvia Graziano, Jasper Neil, Judith Calaora, Christopher Briklemier and Ciara Donati.
Below you can see the first advertisements for the film!