Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that looks at the 2016 horror film ‘The Void.’
Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of excellent cosmic horror films. What’s rarer are faithful adaptations of the work of HP Lovecraft, the American writer best known for his tales of Eldrich Gods too vast and terrible for the human consciousness to describe (but they definitely had tentacles, we know that much).
While related, Lovecraftian horror and cosmic horror are not always the same thing. Unlike the latter, the former is more interested in the flesh than the stars. Other specifics define Lovecraft’s particular brand of terror: partial, epistolary accounts of half-glimpsed monstrosities, noneuclidean geometry, forbidden knowledge, and inhuman influences on humanity’s trajectory.
Lovecraftian horror is specific, and in that specificity, it absolutely is not for everyone. Even after you get over the tentacles. One of the primary barriers to entry is that Lovecraftian horror has no interest in explaining its madness to you. Being confused is part of the experience. Both you and the characters might clamor for answers, but you’re not going to get any. And that can (rightly so!) be a bit of a dealbreaker for folks.
This is just one very sick woman’s opinion, but the 2016 Canadian, crowd-sourced horror film The Void is one of the greatest Lovecraftian films ever made. Created by Astron-6 (the madmen behind Manborg, The Editor, and Psycho Goreman), The Void drops us in-media res into the endgame of a mysterious cult. They’ve set up shop in the basement of a rural hospital. And whatever they’re doing down there is turning people into screaming lumps of pained flesh. The criticism that The Void‘s horrors feel incidental and lack context is both (1) valid; (2) kind of the whole point. It’s a Lovecraftian horror show told from the victim’s incomplete and often confusing perspective, and that’s precisely what makes it one of the closest films to ever pick up what old HP sauce was putting down.
Is that a cop-out? Yeah, kind of. Leaving things incomplete and half-glimpsed was kind of Lovecraft’s whole deal. But why don’t you make up your own mind with today’s video essay:
Watch “Why is THE VOID So Weird & Messed Up?!”:
Who made this?
This video on the 80s nostalgia of The Void is by Ryan Hollinger, a Northern Irish video essayist who specializes in horror films. Hollinger’s analysis usually takes the shape of a personal retrospective. Indulging in a healthy dose of nostalgia, Hollinger’s videos are contagiously endearing, entertaining, and informative. You can also check out Hollinger’s podcast, The Carryout, on SoundCloud here. And you can subscribe to Hollinger’s YouTube account here.
More videos like this
- Want to see more of Ryan Hollinger‘s work? Here’s his video on why Summer of 84 is the scariest reimagining of our 80s nostalgia.
- Here’s another sample of Hollinger’s work: a video on how the found-footage disaster picture The Bay unpacks the horror of inaction during a public health crisis. This video has floated into my mind about once a week over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Which, given the film’s parasitic subject matter, is…appropriate.
- And here’s one more video essay from Hollinger on Dan O’Bannon’s tragic horror-comedy zombie film The Return of the Living Dead.