Many moviemakers have tried to recreate the weirdness of HP Lovecraft's horror stories on film, but few have succeeded. Steve Daniels tried a novel approach in his short Dirt Dauber, using paper cutouts and half-seen imagery. Behold Shub-Niggurath!
In this short film, which you can see a preview for above, two men go in search of "the thing with a thousand young," an insectile fertility god which the critics at Undead Backbrain suggest is probably the Old One known as Shub-Niggurath. In real life, "dirt daubers" are a kind of wasp that build cells of mud for their eggs.
The 35-minute short played at this year's Lovecraft Film Festival and Grim Reviews summed it up nicely:
Viewers eavesdrop on a creepy conversation between a strange, crude driver and his exponentially weirder passenger. Visceral imagery centering around a fish hatchery, an old railway tunnel, and a backwoods drive promotes a Lovecraftian atmosphere . . . Daniels' interpretation of HPL's cosmic fertility horror is refreshingly new. The director wisely shies away from explicit appearances by the chief monster itself in favor of cultivating an overarching atmosphere of weird horror. Further, the revelation of Dirt Dauber's main mystery at the end is far more unsettling than any CGI generated depiction of Shub-Niggurath could be. With that said, it should be noted that monsters do appear in several forms. The passenger's murky origins are quite monstrous from the movie's outset, long before Daniels resolves the mystery of his existence. Meanwhile, the driver's macabre worldview presents him as a dark creature in his own right, a boisterous horror who haunts the fish hatchery universe he relates in dialogue throughout the film.
Apparently there is also a subplot involving the sinking of the Titanic and outer space. Why isn't there a full version of this film available on YouTube?!
In the meantime, if you want to see some of filmmaker Daniels other movies, check out his YouTube channel.
Thanks, Avery Guerra!