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The Writer Out of Time

At the end of his life, H.P. Lovecraft loses himself to his prejudices, illnesses, and madness.

  • William Grunnill
  • William Grunnill
  • Adam Smith
  • Benedict Davidson
  • Adam Smith
  • Ryan Jones
  • Benedict Davidson
  • Leo Hewitson
    Key Cast
    "H. P. Lovecraft"
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes 51 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 8, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    4,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    BMPCC 4k Digital 4k
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Liverpool Hope University
Director Biography - William Grunnill

A British filmmaker working out of Liverpool, William graduated from Liverpool Hope Univerity in 2022. Working together with a tight-knit team, he produces films under the name Hounds of the Round Table.

In 2019 he created his first film; a documentary short, about Instituto Ramacrisna, a community school in Brazil. He has since worked on producing narrative shorts with Ryan Jones; these include The Lure, The Gaze, and a short web series The Graft.

His most recent film, The Writer Out of Time, is a short horror about the death of H.P Lovecraft. Going forward he is in the process of producing a historical action short about a Roman soldier hunting down the Pict barbarians that slaughtered his brother.

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Director Statement

The Writer Out of Time began life as my final year university project. I really wanted to take the opportunity to make something challenging and creatively different. I didn’t want to just shoot a small thing within the university halls and call it a day. What followed was a gargantuan effort; it was an unbelievably difficult production to complete. At times it felt insurmountable, I approached this production with everything I had, yes, it’s a student film but I made it as professionally as my skills could allow for. I gave my everything to this film and it broke me, hurdle after hurdle; I never thought I’d finish it. From the ballooning budget to Covid, set construction, to the litany of post-production issues, it made me go through my own years-long journey of madness and obsession, yet I love it. Through that process, I believe we’ve produced a unique short.

I was drawn to wanting to do a film about Lovecraft simply because I wanted to study a character I found interesting; an ode to my favourite author; the father of cosmic horror. The man himself was undeniably and unbelievably complex and often contradictory too. My thought was that a man of his nature, to put a light on someone of such expansive intellect and yet someone so filled with phobias and misunderstandings of certain peoples and cultures and combine it with the atmosphere of one of his stories would be a healthy recipe. I quickly realized if I wanted to do a film on Lovecraft that I had to incorporate some of his more controversial views; there was no getting around it. I aimed to do this with the utmost sensitivity whilst it still being believable and aiding in the wider story of his deterioration. Due to his complexity, we couldn’t squeeze him down to 15 mins. We boiled him down to what we believe are his essentials. The nihilism, the curiosity, the strangeness, the madness, the controversy. Instead of exploring his works or adapting his works; we wanted to explore him, something not often done. These elements combined with cosmic horror I found too compelling. The feeling of the universal beyond; of Gods and creatures beyond conception and the insanity such horrors bring; the loneliness and emptiness of our small Human existences. I found all of this to be an irresistible idea, an original one that could stand on its own without relying on horror tropes. Though despite this I recognize that without having some knowledge of the man himself it becomes a more niche film, however, the deterioration he goes through can universally be appreciated and I hope anyone that watches can take away something from the piece regardless of knowing who Lovecraft was.

We wanted to explore the fading of a secluded man, trapped with only himself and his writings to keep him company. Writings his letters, and his stories, talks to a statue of a cat; slowly losing his marbles as “the grippe” / cancer takes him. As his faculties decline, the line between reality and the worlds he wrote about blur, stuck in his own ethereal Hell; until eventually the cosmic Gods come to reap him. We wanted the piece to be an ode to the man himself and his works; instead of doing a “Lovecraftian” film, we wanted to do a “Lovecraft” film. In doing so we wanted to mirror the strange and cold, nihilistic feeling that would you might find within his works. The great cosmic beyond and the empty and all-consuming void of the great realms beyond human imagination. We wanted our film to be strange, unsettling, and surreal; for, there was nothing normal in the world of Lovecraft. In turn, I hope for the audience to experience all of these elements. I hope for Lovecraft and all of his captivating peculiarities to translate into a unique, cold, atmospheric, horrific, unsettlingly surreal, and contemplative experience that leaves a mark on any that view the decaying world that Lovecraft in our film at least inhabits.