Wikipedia cites a number of influences for the film Dark City (1998), but I was quite surprised to not see H.P.Lovecraft amongst them, since from the very introduction at the start of the film I was reminded of Lovecraft's fiction.

Does anyone know if there has ever been any interview with any of the three screenwriters, Alex Proyas, David S. Goyer and/or Lem Dobbs where they admit Lovecraft influenced the film, or where they deny it?

  • 3
    I wouldn't say Dark City struck me the same as the works of Lovecraft I'm familiar with. Personally I wouldn't classify it as a cosmic horror. – Gorchestopher H May 22 '12 at 3:19
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I didn't find anything in interviewers with the screenwriters, but David S. Goyer is an H.P. Lovecraft fan, and others have noted an influence.

Here's a review by Goyer for an original graphic novel called Lovecraft:

"Rodionoff, Breccia and Giffen have crafted a beautiful, nightmarish homage. Reading between the lines of Lovecraft's work, they have managed to fabricate a secret history that every H.P. fan wishes were true." David S. Goyer, screenwriter of Dark City and Blade

IMDb's biography for David S. Goyer says:

He is a big fan of H.P. Lovecraft books.

Movies I Didn't Get says:

Dark City opens with darkness and the words: "In the beginning, there was nothing." The darkness is now spattered with stars and the voice of Dr. Schreber continues: "Then came the Strangers." With this opening, we are instantly reminded of the biblical book of Genesis. But the fact that there are many of them instead of one all-powerful being, the fact that they came from another dimension and that, once here, the knowledge of their existence generally drives men either to insanity or to an early grave, all give the impression that these are much older gods than the one espoused by the Christian faith. These gods, if gods they be, bear more resemblance to the ancient ones described in the horror stories of H.P. Lovecraft.

An essay called Horror in Roleplaying lists five major motives for fear that are dealt with in horror media, the last one is "Living in an Evil World":

The fear that the world, God, reality, the social order, or something else is evil, hostile, or horrible. There are good examples of horror based on questioning the entire nature of one’s reality – the movie Dark City is one, along with “cosmic” horror like H.P. Lovecraft’s writings.

Buzzy Mag says of the Dark City novel, adapted from the film:

Written by Frank Lauria, who wrote the 1977 book Communion (not to be confused with the Whitney [sic] Strieber book of the same name), the novel holds true to his trademark synthesizing of H.P. Lovecraft and Raymond Chandler (hint: the plot has a lot to do with the stealing of human souls).

(The author of the other "Communion" is in fact Whitley Strieber.)

  • +1 I would accept but your answer contains an error (or possibly confusing wording). Dark City was not originally a novel, the novel was an adaptation of the film. I still wonder about the original Alex Proyas script about a detective researching a case that makes no sense and gradually going insane though, since that sounds like a basic Lovecraft plot device. – AntonChanning May 23 '12 at 11:02
  • @AntonChanning: Thanks, I've fixed that mistake. – Hugo May 23 '12 at 14:45

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