Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Love Me Some Lovecraft: The Call of Cthulhu

For reasons that you should hopefully discover in the coming months, I read several works by classic horror writer H.P. Lovecraft over the summer, despite my stance on reading. What with this being October and Halloween and stuff this is probably as good a month as any to share my short thoughts on these weird tales.

Lovecraft is of course famous for his "Cthulhu Mythos" and the story which first presented much of the backstory of the titular deity is the subject of this first post "The Call of Cthulhu."

The short story is less of a continuous narrative and more of a loose framework to connect three even shorter stories about people encountering the giant octopus-faced monster in a variety if ways. Whether one sees it in a dream, stumbles across one of it's human cults or actually fights it in it's home realm of R'lyeh, the overall point of the story is protagonist discovering that "Oh man, Cthulhu is like totally a real thing. That is all kinds of messed up."

There are some themes here that'll crop up in later stories in the mythos, most notably the idea of someone discovering an unstoppable, otherworldly terror with a "th" sound in it's name lurking behind our otherwise mundane universe. Plus the immaculately detailed writing is all told through stuff like letters and journal entries, so between this and stuff like Dracula and Frankenstein, I'm guessing that was just how old horror writers did things.

Something worth checking out is the 45-minute black and white silent film adaptation the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society put out in 2005. It's currently on Netflix watch instantly.

Next week, we'll head straight to the racism with "The Shadow over Innsmouth."

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