HP Lovecraft
June 14, 2002 8:49 AM   Subscribe

HP Lovecraft is often seen as the first modern horror writer, and maybe the best. His stories tend to follow a certain formula: a protagonist investigates strange events and is drawn into ancient horrors and madness. Lovecraft himself seems to have been deeply freaked out by the ocean, and evil from the deeps is another common theme.

Anyone who has seen The Deep episode of the BBC's Blue Planet is well on their way to feeling as Lovecraft did. And recently, strange artifacts and strange sounds have arisen from the deeps.
Are you Afraid? Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wagh'nagl fhtagn!
posted by malphigian (18 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Strange Sounds discussed here. I think we already decided it's Chtulhu. BLOOP!
posted by jazon at 8:54 AM on June 14, 2002

You ain't never lived until you've sacrificed a friend to Yog-Sothoth, baby.

I will say that should the Old Ones ever awaken, they will have a thirst for run-on sentences, if Lovecraft's prose was any indication.
posted by Kafkaesque at 8:55 AM on June 14, 2002

I always thought Blasted Heath would make a great name for a band.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:57 AM on June 14, 2002

Apologies for the partial double(so recent too, shame on me), hopefully some of the other links will make up for it.
posted by malphigian at 8:57 AM on June 14, 2002

On a Yog-Sothoth related derailing...did anyone else who has read the "Illuminatus Trillogy" wonder, after the plane hit the pentagon on sep 11,if things weren't about to get real great old oes style freaky? Just for a second? I know...disrepectful, and really not pertinent to this discussion at all, but this reminded me of it, and just had to say something about it.

posted by das_2099 at 9:06 AM on June 14, 2002

A friend of mine started an online horror magazine with the name of "The Three-lobed Burning Eye" in tribute to Lovecraft.

And who could forget From Beyond with Jeffrey Combs?!

...Oh wait, don't answer that.
posted by almostcool at 9:23 AM on June 14, 2002

Iä! Shub-Niggurath!

Das_2099, did I ever...Cuz I remember these.(a repost of some INWO cards).
posted by darkpony at 9:31 AM on June 14, 2002

puzzled by a giant silver orb that washed up on shore this week.

sounds like a sphere. hi everybody. i'm jerry :)
posted by kliuless at 9:36 AM on June 14, 2002

I'd like to forget it almostcool, but my pineal gland won't let me.
posted by Tenuki at 10:06 AM on June 14, 2002

From a Salon interview with Stephen King:
Does your evocation of the Maine landscape owe anything to the fiction you read as a kid -- H.P. Lovecraft in his books set in the woods of Massachusetts?
No, not really. I mean, it did at the time, when I was 13, 14, 15 -- which I maintain is the perfect age to read Lovecraft. Lovecraft is the perfect fiction for people who are living in a state of sort of total sexual doubt, because the stories almost seem to me sort of Jungian in their imagery. They're all about gigantic disembodied vaginas and things that have teeth. And that sense of the ancient New England landscape ... very kindly, Lovecraft was a lot less interested in using the landscape as a place where reality was thin and sort of deserted in the New England community as he was in trying to express that kind of feeling of ancient life. So I had a tendency to copy that when I was a kid, and I think later on I just tried to go back and find a more realistic way to talk about the quality of that landscape. For instance, you know, when Lovecraft writes "The Dunwich Horror," about Dunwich, Mass. I mean, in a way it's a lot of idealized crap -- he was a city boy. He didn't live in the country. And what he knew about it he saw from the windows of buses going between Providence and New York City.
Just adding to the mix.
posted by UnReality at 10:17 AM on June 14, 2002

Stephen King definitely made nods to Lovecraft's Mythos stuff in some of his more recent works. Insomnia, The Regulators etc had Yog-Sothoth hanging out all over.

By the way, if you want to see a low-budget Dunwich Horror, Sandra Dee's thighs, and Dean Stockwell chanting a lot this is for you. I'm surprised Joel and the bots never got their hands on that one.

Of all the Cthuloid efforts, I'd have to say my favorite is In The Mouth Of Madness with questionable actor Sam Neill being chased around by Elder Gods. Oh and Jurgen Prochnow. Got to love Jurgen.
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:10 AM on June 14, 2002

I found The Resurrected to be a pretty decent adaptation of my favorite Lovecraft tale, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

"...by the lyke Method from the essential Saltes of humane Dust, a Philosopher may, without any criminal Necromancy, call up the Shape of any dead Ancestour from the Dust whereinto his Bodie has been incinerated."
posted by Dean King at 12:16 PM on June 14, 2002

hastur hastur hastur!

If you liked In The Mouth of Madness, you'll LOVE From Beyond. My pineal gland is still a'twitchin.
posted by UncleFes at 12:25 PM on June 14, 2002

Say, why doesn't Father Dagon ever get any respect?
posted by darukaru at 2:48 PM on June 14, 2002


If you liked In The Mouth of Madness, you'll LOVE From Beyond.

Oh damn! I saw part of that on the SciFi channel last weekend. So bad! So very very baaaad! Jeffrey Combs was a hell of a lot better in The Frighteners.

As Kafkaesque mentioned, another truly awful Lovecraft adaptation is The Dunwitch Horror.

Lovecraftian horror should lend itself to totally piss yourself scary movie adaptations, but it seems that all of them done so far have been crap on a stick.

This might be of interest to some:

Lovecraftian Sites in New England

Lovecraft’s College Hill Walking Tour

I've decided that Rhode Island has far more than it's statistical number of freaks. My kind of state!
posted by mark13 at 4:23 PM on June 14, 2002

To my mind, this is one of the most wonderful passages of over-the-top purple prose in the English language:
"Only poetry or madness could do justice to the noises heard by Legrasse's men as they ploughed on through the black morass toward the red glare and muffled tom-toms. There are vocal qualities peculiar to men, and vocal qualities peculiar to beasts; and it is terrible to hear the one when the source should yield the other. Animal fury and orgiastic license here whipped themselves to daemoniac heights by howls and squawking ecstacies that tore and reverberated through those nighted woods like pestilential tempests from the gulfs of hell. Now and then the less organized ululation would cease, and from what seemed a well-drilled chorus of hoarse voices would rise in sing-song chant that hideous phrase or ritual:
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."
posted by Rebis at 7:34 PM on June 14, 2002

One of the system operators on the Science Fiction RoundTable on the old GEnie service used the handle Yog-Sysop. I always though that was great.
posted by kindall at 10:48 PM on June 14, 2002

HP Lovecraft the band was pretty sweet, too (in an extraordinarily dated sort of way).
posted by werty at 6:48 AM on June 17, 2002

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