The Testimony of Randolph Carter (1987)
Based on the short story 'The Testimony of Randolph Carter'.
The film much like the original story is mostly related as a flashback. In this version the titular narrator is in court being cross examined about the disappearance of his closest friend, Harley Warren. It is revealed that this companion was greatly involved in the occult and the reckless investigation of it.
After the prosecution questions Carter about a strange book that Warren, the film flashes back to when the Occultist received the mystic tome. After examining it, Harley Warren begin to obsessively study the manuscript forsaking food and drink for eldritch knowledge. The book has an effect on our narrator too - he has strange dreams about the death of his friend in dark cultist temples. Carter must know more about the tome. While Warren is asleep he steals it and examines its secrets. His nightmares continue.
Warren asks for Carters help on some 'field research'. He wants to engage in necromancery and question the corpse of an infamous cult priest. Despite his fears Carter joins him. So under the cover of darkness they go to the isolated grave yard and open the priests tomb. As they move the stone a steep descending stairs is revealed. Warren forbids Carter to come with him due to his fragile mind but he tells him they will keep in touch with a 2 way telephone system that Warren brought with him.
Warren enters the grave - and down there he talks of indescribable sights until he obviously stumbles upon some nameless horror. He urges Carter to close the tomb and flee, flee for his life. Carter seals the grave but continues to try and talk to Warren on the now dead line. After a few moments as Carter is about to give up an evil voice is heard over the line 'You fool, Warren is Dead..'. Carter realises that you can know too much.
This is a very faithful adaptation of the Testimony of Randolph Carter. It's pretty obvious that the makers have a great knowledge and love for the source material. It shows and it produces an enjoyable short film. The acting is decent enough and the film is dripping with atmosphere, though it is little long and draws out the original story little more than necessary. I think a little more editing would have improved it greatly. Also time and budget also leave it looking a little rough as it seems to be shot with domestic video equipment. Despite all this, liked it allot and its definably worth checking out what Andrew Leman was doing before he made his masterpiece, The Call of Cthulhu.
- Sean Branney who plays Warren wrote the screenplays and producer for The Call of Cthulhu and The Whisperer in Darkness (which he also directed).
- An Elder Sign is seen etched on the tomb of the Priest.
- Carter mentions various occult tomes including the Necronomicon (Abdul Alhazred is also talked about), Cultes des Goules and Pnakotic Manuscripts.