“Innsmouth” (2015): Female-Fueled Horror Short Tackles Striking New Ground in Its Approach to Lovecraft



Director/cowriter/actor Izzy Lee offers a fresh, bold, intriguing take on H.P. Lovecraft’s works with her horror short Innsmouth. Whereas the famous author usually peopled his stories with male characters and shied away from sexual content, Lee gives a strong feminist approach to the proceedings and adds a striking erotic spin, as well.


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Detective Olmstead (Diana Porter) witnesses shocking sights when a murder investigation leads her to the town of Innsmouth.

Diana Porter, a frequent actor in Izzy Lee’s films, stars as Arkham-based Detective Olmstead, who investigates the puzzling death of a woman whose corpse has not only an unusual bite mark but also an egg sac on its back. A photograph at the crime scene points Olmstead toward the town of Innsmouth. Her probing leads to a meeting with the mysterious Alice Marsh (Tristan Risk), who claims to be a descendant of town founder Captain Obed Marsh. Once inside Marsh’s home, Olmstead finds herself far out of her usual take-charge element, and Alice proves to be a formidable force.

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Tristan Risk (left) portrays the mysterious Alice Marsh with a vampish air.

Tristan Risk tackles her role with confidence and gives an evil glee and a vampish vibe to Alice Marsh, who is in control of not only the town she claims to own, but in her dealings with the unsuspecting Detective Olmstead (whose name is a play on that of the narrator of Lovecraft’s short story The Shadow Over Innsmouth, Robert Olmstead), as well. She gives a fearless performance, especially in the short’s startling climax. Diana Porter gives a solid turn as Olmstead, initially inhabiting her character with a sense of self-assurance but later showing a more submissive side. Izzy Lee also acquits herself well as Izzy, a crime scene investigator who works with Olmstead.

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Detective Olmstead finds herself falling under the spell of Alice Marsh’s hypnotic charms.

Though Izzy Lee (http://www.nihilnoctem.com) inhabits her version of a Lovecraftian world with strong female characters, lesbian erotica, and a climactic image unlike anything that the author himself described, she also pays homage to some of his characters and themes. She is a prolific filmmaker, with 8 short films on her resume since her first effort in 2013, Legitimate. Innsmouth continues her steady development as both a director and writer, and cements her as a horror talent to continue watching.

Innsmouth: 3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)

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Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.