|The Testimony of Randolph Carter is based on Lovecraft's "The Statement of Randolph Carter," with some additional story material lifted from other Carter tales, especially "Through the Gates of the Silver Key." The film was shot on VHS using home equipment in 1987. It was filmed at various locations throughout Colorado. Part of the budget came from The Colorado College Award in Literature, a grant to fund independent educational projects.
The film begins with Randolph Carter on a witness stand in a non-realistic courtroom of some kind. (Is it a trial? Is it the manifestation of a guilty conscience? Or is it just a low-budget production?) Whatever it is, Carter begins to tell the story of what happened to him and his friend Harley Warren. Under the interrogation of two attorneys, the story shifts into flashback mode.
|Harley Warren receives a mysterious but important book, which he is unwilling to let Carter examine. Their friendship is strained as Warren becomes increasingly obsessed and secretive about his studies. But Carter stands by his friend, despite a number of disturbing nightmares. Late one night, when Warren has fallen asleep at his desk, Carter finally gets a chance to look at the forbidden book, and it is nothing like he expects. It contains writing that no human should be able to read....
Finally, Warren asks Carter for help in completing his research, and Carter agrees to accompany him to an ancient graveyard. There they find a tomb sealed with an Elder Sign, and open it. Warren takes some field telephone gear and descends into the crypt, leaving Carter alone on the surface.
|The story then shifts back to the "courtroom," where Carter breaks down from the nervous strain of remembering what happened next. His lawyer, like Warren himself, persists in seeking forbidden knowledge, as the court stenographer takes it all down. The judge compels Carter to answer the lawyer's questions, and for Lovecraft's classic ending the story returns to the graveyard.
Shown only a few times at colleges and private functions in Colorado, this short film is out of mothballs after more than twelve years, and was shown at the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland in the autumn of 2000. The film was re-edited for the festival, with an improved soundtrack. A new, shorter version is in the planning stages now.