Final Abstract for URS Program
During a 2020 interview, Robert Eggers’ mentions his film The Lighthouse (2019) was inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s unfinished short story of the same name. Although the critical reception of The Lighthouse was primarily positive, critics struggled to categorize this film about two lightkeepers stationed on a remote New England island in the 1890s within a specific genre. Indeed, the film consistently slips between reality and dream, and the mounting tension throughout the film culminates in a final haunting vision that is never explained. This paper explores Eggers’ literary inspirations for The Lighthouse, not only examining the obvious influences of Edgar Allen Poe, but also less obvious literary allusions from H. P. Lovecraft, folktales, and Greek mythologies. Through the analysis of the film The Lighthouse and its myriad influences, this paper argues how Eggers was able to successfully achieve this film’s unique stylistic tone through its complex interplay between literary and mythical inspirations, thus creating a film that effectively bends genres to create an unsettling, uncanny effect on the viewer.