My journey through the realm of book reviews continues with more than one story. In fact, today we’re going to take a look at quite a few. Those that compose the work of H.P. Lovecraft.
If the name Lovecraft doesn’t ring any bells, then…what the hell have you been doing with your life up until now? 🙂
H.P.Lovecraft is an influential name in all that is modern horror and mystery. Bloodborne for example, the famous PS4 game is considered to have some resemblance of Lovecraft’s visions about horror aesthetics for both its landmarks and monsters. Rick and Morty (yes, the TV show) has in its opening scene a monster that looks quite similar to Cthulhu, an ancient God sprung out of Lovecraft’s imagination. All modern Frankenstein-related movies and TV Shows have taken inspiration from Lovecraft’s Herbert West: The Reanimator. Heck, there’s even a game adaptation of his book: Call of the Cthulhu coming soon.
So as you see, Lovecraft is an essential read in the world of a modern media consumer. Otherwise, you might miss on the subtle references, son!
Right off the bat, I can tell you that Lovecraft’s works are awfully close to something you might remember from Jules Verne. The stories usually have little to no dialog and are presented in a descriptive manner, from the perspective of a character or the narrator itself who is most of the time a well educated explorer or scientist.
But where Jules Verne sought to explore the science behind things, Lovecraft tries to catch a glimpse of other worlds and the horrors that might be awaken if mankind ever tried to meddle with such forces.
I started my readings with The Dunwich Horror, which actually stood out to me as one of the more refined works of Lovecraft. The book tells the story of several occult happenings in the fictional town of Dunwich, that lead to many human killings and mass hysteria around the country folk. It involves monsters, incantations, devilish apparitions and a haunting atmosphere from beginning to end. Also, it is known to be part of the core Cthulhu Mythos books.
Being intrigued by this..Cthulhu, I continued my stories with Call of Cthulhu, the famous book that inspired the horror genre for the generations to come. And I have to say, even if Call of Cthulhu was interesting, in my opinion The Dunwich Horror is much better.
What I usually don’t like about Lovecraft’s stories are the endings. They seem so abrupt and rushed. Like there was no time to compose them properly. Or the stories weren’t intended to end. And in that perspective, Call of Cthulhu did not shine towards the finishing moments. But, regardless, the tension these books build during their stories recommends all of them as being a time well spent.
As depicted in the book, Cthulhu is an ancient God, now asleep, worshiped by secret cults around the world. Cthulhu looks like a mix between an octopus, a dragon and a human and its gaze spreads horror throughout Lovecraft’s characters. It is said that Cthulhu will rise again, together with all the old Gods, to rule the Earth once more and end life as we know it.
The lore is quite fascinating and the interconnected universe Lovecraft is able to build through his short stories is a pleasure to discover and ponder upon.
Next, I ventured in the Frankenstein-like story of Herbert West: The Reanimator. This is the classic tale of bringing back to life a creature that has departed from this world and all the consequences of such unnatural actions. It is a very entertaining, chilling experience and you can clearly see its influence in recent movies like The Lazarus Effect, Victor Frankenstein or TV shows like Penny Dreadful.
I also experienced shorter stories like The Music of Erich Zann, Dagon, The Tomb or Facts concerning Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family. And even though different in topic, they all have an underlying connection: exploring worlds beyond our reach, fascinating vistas of space, lush gardens and depictions of brightly lit natural environments, escaping the earthly confines of the human existence through drugs, sleep, music or meditation and strange or bizarre apparitions that would haunt our heroes to the very end.
When talking about these queer beings, Lovecraft usually places them in great marble cities, with sacred carvings and tombs, covered in green ooze or locked behind giant doors, dark caverns or places where man should not venture. Yet…he does. Driven by curiosity, by madness or pride.
Lovecraft’s vistas sometimes resemble even ancient Egyptian structures and stories like The doom that came to Sarnath or Nyarlathotep take full advantage of such a heritage.
Above all H.P.Lovecraft is a dreamer and a explorer. His stories are of mystery and horror, but beneath the surface there is the sense of adventure and of the unknown.
Life as we know it today, in the mundane world, is but a fraction of the great events that took place eons ago. Of the immense cosmic forces that are at work each second. And that’s where the tension gets its power from. The hidden things, the old forgotten books and stories. Lovecraft’s works are a rejection of the modern world, sunken under the heavy weight of the old, primitive forces.
And in all this chaos, Man is the only means of bringing balance. Through its courage and boldness to venture and fight the unknown. To bring light to the darkest corners of existence.
So…what are you waiting for then? Fetch quickly your detective hat, find your magnifying glass and some holly water just in case and start experiencing HP Lovecraft’s works, if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it!