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By Mark Bell | September 16, 2011

Based on H.P. Lovecraft’s short story The Unnamable, Sascha Renninger’s Shadow of the Unnamable manages to capture all of the aspects of Lovecraft’s work that make it memorable in a brilliant mix of mood, visual composition and digital and animated effects.

The short starts off as two friends argue in a cemetery. Randolph Carter (Robert Lyons) is a novelist who is prone to writing about the dark and sinister, though his friend Joel Manton (Jeff Motherhead) derides him for ending his stories with events or imagery that are too horrible to name or describe. By Joel’s estimation, nothing is indescribable or unnamable, as one of Randolph’s stories would suggest, and Randolph goes about filling in some of the back story to help flesh out how he got to such a nondescript ending. As the story nonchalantly unfolds, night falls and the two men find themselves suddenly in the midst of the mysterious legend they’ve been discussing.

First off, the film knocks the mood out of the park. It starts a bit slowly, and for about 5 minutes you’re left wondering, “Really? Am I going to watch an entire short of two guys talking?” The conversation is interesting, but the build is deliberately slow. As Randolph’s story goes along, however, we’re treated to imagery to help us see what it is he’s talking about, through a combination of different animation and digital effects. By the time you’re halfway through the film, you find yourself just as enraptured as the two men and, appropriately, just as creeped out that it’s now night, and they’re sitting in a cemetery talking about indescribable evils.

As soon as I was done watching Shadow of the Unnamable, I wanted to watch it again. The imagery sticks with you, and the effects work is so incredible I wanted to take another look just to see how much was real and how much was fake (much of the work is blended so seamlessly, you don’t know the trapdoor is there until the film pulls the rope). If you’re a fan of H.P. Lovecraft, or just want a quality, spooky short film to enjoy, Shadow of the Unnamable is the right choice for you.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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  1. Sascha Alexander Renninger says:

    Great news! My multi-award winning first film Shadow of the Unnamable is now available as video on demand:

    There you can also find a short video, where I present our current production, Fragment 1890.


    Sascha Alexander Renninger
    Director & Producer

  2. Sascha Renninger says:

    Park Circle Films – A Night of Shorts

    The Greater Park Circle Film Society has added SHADOW OF THE UNNAMABLE to this Saturday’s Night of Shorts! It will be the international entry for the evening, coming all the way from Germany. The film won Best Short at the 2011 H.P. Lovecraft film festival for best short and this is your first chance to see it in Charleston!

  3. Sascha Renninger says:

    Best Short Lovecraft Adaptation
    2011 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival®

    The festival founder Andrew Migliore gave special consideration to “shadow of the Unnamable” by Sascha Renninger for Best Short Lovecraft Adaptation.

  4. Sascha Renninger says:

    You can find all the latest info on our website:

    If you liked the trailer, please comment the trailer on youtube as well. We just played the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in LA, next is the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland/ Oregon (Sept 30/Oct 1, 2011, Hollywood Theatre).

    In 2012, we´ll release the dvd with 1-2 additional short films and a lot of bonus material.


  5. Mike @ Lovecraft eZine says:

    Looks great. Where can we watch this movie? DVD, or is it available online somewhere? If there’s a link, I’m missing it. Thanks.

  6. Mark Bell says:

    Check their website linked above for better details on how to see it. The short is going to be playing the HP Lovecraft fests that are coming up, I believe.

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