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H.P. Lovecraft’s Cool Air

Ice it.

Rod Lott May 9th, 2013

H.P. Lovecraft’s Cool Air is really Albert Pyun’s Cool Air. The notorious director of the aborted Captain America and the should’ve-been-aborted Kathy Ireland vehicle known as Alien from L.A. is up to his usual inert tricks. It shows from the start, which forces viewers to read six title cards in two long minutes.


They have something to do with a 5,000-year-old Egyptian relic called the Horns of Werethekau and one Dr. Torres who has the power to resurrect the dead, but you’re likely to have forgotten that when the opening credits finally finish up four minutes later. And you’re equally likely to forget the entire movie 82 minutes after that, at its merciful end.  

Under the radar since his role on TV’s short-lived cult hit Space: Above and Beyond in the mid-1990s, Morgan Weisser plays a screenwriter who moves into a room in an isolated “mansion” so he can get some work done without distractions. Too bad, because he suffers a stroke and the doctor who lives in the room above (Crystal Laws Green, A Family Thing) fixes him all up, yet harbors mysterious powers that aren’t so mysterious since the aforementioned title cards ruin any suspense the story may have.

Let me rephrase: Lovecraft’s original short story, written nearly nine decades ago, has it. Pyun's adaptation does not.

While it’s admirable that tribute is paid to the source material by sticking with some of Lovecraft’s words, they simply don’t fit these contemporary times, as Weisser’s narration makes painfully clear. Instead of “meals,” he says, “squares”; instead of “unusual,” he says, “queer.”

Instead of “autistic hottie,” he says ... well, that means that, and as portrayed by Jenny Dare Paulin (daughter of Scott Paulin, who was Pyun’s Red Skull in Cap), it’s one of the most embarrassing performances you’re apt to witness. At least she tries.

Once the full-screen word animations arrive, you won’t be asking, “What the hell?,” but, “Why am I still watching?” —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
Captain America DVD review     
Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXVI DVD review     

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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05.09.2013 at 05:57 Reply

Wow, Rod. Sounds like I've been putting you through the wringer with my movies. Of course, the cure is to just ignore them as they come out. Suggest you seriously consider that as I have 5 more films coming out this year. While I enjoy reading your reviews, I sense there's some pain underying that I've caused with my films. So let me sincerely apologize and recommend you spare yourself more of the same. If you followed my career of 50 films over 30 years, it's clear I make films to suit my vision and I don't try to tweak them for mass consumption. They might not be any good but they are different. I also traverse many genres with films like Cyborg, Down Twisted, Bulletface, Mean Guns, Brainsmasher...A love Story and Nemesis. I don't have any interest in making "mainstream" or "populist" movies. Right or wrong (mostly wrong I know) I try to make unique films unlike anything else.

Anyway, thanks for enduring and suffering through Cool Air. Hope you recover.

Albert Pyun


05.10.2013 at 11:06

If I ignored them, I might miss out on something fun! I always want to give filmmakers the benefit of the doubt, no matter. Among your movies, I've enjoyed watching Cap, Arcade, Sword and the Sorcerer, Cyborg, Dollman, Omega Doom, Adrenalin, Ticker and Nemesis. (OK, so the latter was just for the Deborah Shelton nudity.)


05.10.2013 at 11:29 Reply

Thanks, Rod. Very kind and courageous of you. Have you seen any of my Director's Cuts of Cap, Nemesis, Cyborg? They've been well reviewed because the film is finally in proper context. Mainly that all are essentially "art" and "experimental" and that they ignore all the normal expectations of what people think they are going to see. Like sitting down to watch Transformers and instead they get Andy Warhols "Empire". That's really why so many films are taken away from me in post. I am purely anti-matter when it comes to studio expectations of what they think they are getting. I think its a big reason viewers get so infuriated with me and my way of making films. With Cool Air, I wanted the horror to come from being out of work and failed dreams. The terror of being destitute and a loser. To me that's real fear and common to everyone's life.The stuff that's normally the horror element is really the blessing that allows our protangonist to be rescued achieve his dreams. So its not conventional horror I guess.


05.10.2013 at 12:57


I've not seen any of your director's cuts — only what has been released to shelves or premium cable stations. I think your films are more populist than you give yourself credit for. Sorry "Cool Air" didn't work for me, but as in the past, something else of yours in the future will click.