Here’s a combination we didn’t exactly see coming: Spike Lee is sticking with Netflix for his next major producing project, but the subject revolves around … H.P. Lovecraft? Well, at least if the title of Gordon Hemingway & The Realm of Cthulhu is to be believed. The upcoming feature will be directed by Stefon Bristol, who made his feature film debut on another Netflix feature that Lee produced, 2019’s See You Yesterday. That film was about a pair of black students who invent a backpack time machine in an attempt to prevent the police shooting death of the protagonist’s older brother. Gordon Hemingway & The Realm of Cthulhu, meanwhile, sounds like more of a period piece adventure, although it’s hard not to be reminded of HBO Max’s Lovecraft Country when you bring up the idea of combining the ghosts of systemic racism with the deeply racist (but influential) cosmic horror works of H.P. Lovecraft.
According to Slashfilm, the movie follows “a roguish Black American gunslinger,” in 1928 who “teams up with the elite warrior Princess Zenebé of Ethiopia to rescue their kidnapped regent from an ancient evil.” That would seem to suggest that this is a literal Lovecraftian monster story and not just an extended metaphor. Spike Lee has already taken on vampires in 2014’s Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, so perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised.
The original script for Gordon Hemingway & The Realm of Cthulhu was written by Hank Woon, with revisions from Woon and Fredrica Bailey. Perhaps it can capture some of the swashbuckling tone of past horror adventures such as The Mummy that have fallen out of style over time? It’s sort of hard to imagine a film like this really diving into the cosmic horror angle in a particularly serious way, ‘ala The Color Out of Space.
Regardless, we’ll bring you more information on this latest of Spike Lee/Lovecraft adaptations as it breaks.