In 1849, the mean streets of Baltimore took down E. A. Poe with either meningitis, syphilis, cholera, rabies, murder or possibly all of the above because it’s Baltimore. Moreover, eye witness accounts stated that he was wearing someone else’s clothes and was “in great distress, and… in need of immediate assistance,” which honestly just describes most of the population of that city. Anyway, before he died possibly the worst death imaginable, Poe began writing a story about a man who is washed up on an island with a lighthouse on it. That is pretty much the extent of the story because Poe only wrote a few pages before his innards liquefied and his brain was eaten by spider babies.
One hundred and sixty seven years later, writer and director, Benjamin Cooper, would team up with Carl Edge, to give us Edgar Allen Poe’s The Lighthouse Keeper, a story based on Poe’s last dying attempt at writing. The Lighthouse Keeper follows J.P (played by Matt O’Neill), a man washed up on a beach in central coast California in the mid-1800’s. He meets a salty, drunken, old lighthouse keeper (Vernon Wells) who is in charge of making sure the lighthouse stays lit. Throw in a mysterious lady who lives out in the forest (Rachel Riley) and you got yourself an intriguing horror story.
After that, there is not much that we can say is influenced by Poe’s final story. The source material is super thin so after J.P washed up on shore, the writers could go in any direction they wanted and still tag Poe’s name to it. Despite this, the film does a pretty decent job sticking to the overall feel of Poe’s writing, which is really hard to do given the fact that it was filmed in central coast California, which is arguably one of the most beautiful and romantic places on Earth. Poe’s original setting for this story was a bitterly cold island off the coast of Norway. Poe had always used the setting as an extra character, so the frigid, unforgiving tundra of some distant northern land would really have added to the mood. Setting the film on the coast of California might have slightly diminished the atmosphere, but in return it added wonderfully to the theme of the story, that outward appearances can lie to us, and things shouldn’t be taken at face value.
Technically speaking, The lighthouse keeper is pretty well put together and although it can be a bit predictable, it holds up as a solid offering to the film gods. One thing that I noticed right away was the care given to cinematography and editing. Adonis Cruz is credited with getting those shots and composing each scene with great attention to detail that can really make a film shine. So if I see this group of people collaborating for another film, I’ll be sure to check it out.
Born and raised in San Diego California, I grew up loving the action horror and sci-fi genres. The first R rated film I saw was Predator back when I was 8 years old. Aliens blew me away as a youngster and I made a M41-A pulse rifle out of paper towel rolls and rubber bands. I ran around for hours avoiding face huggers and blasting xenomorphs in my back yard and I am bringing that big imagination to Nevermore Horror.