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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Howard Phillips Lovecraft....What more do I have to say!

"That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die."


It was this quote that actually sent shivers down my spine when I first read this. I actually put the book down for a moment, allowing my imagination run wild with the imagery Lovecraft had so eloquently conveyed. I pictured the characters in their turn of the century setting. Rows of houses stretching out every which way. The Atlantic offering some respite from the suffocatingly dark narrow alleyways, plagued with societal dregs. At the center of this was the narrator, and his quest for answers to the bouts of madness that have plagued this town recently. The compiled research in his uncle's journal leads the narrator through a tale of the impossible. The demonic dreams of an artist, the police and their encounter with a primitive cult. The harrowing struggle of a Norwegian sailor, how he and shipmates encountered terror incomprehensible to common man. This quote gave me shivers because it added to the mystery of the monster that plagued the characters in this story. "The Call of Cthulhu" was the first story I read by Lovecraft. Actually I had known about his monsters due to Metallica, but it was not until years later in 2001 that I finally was convinced to read him. I loved Metallica, and their first four albums are all that I cared to listen to through the years. They referenced Lovecraft twice with "The Thing That Should Not Be" and "The Call of Cthulhu." I was intrigued by these monsters referenced in the lyrics and music but years passed and my interests moved on. It was not until I my brother introduced me to Electric Wizard that my interest was rekindled. I was reading the liner notes from their album "Dopethrone" when I came across references to Lovecraft. The first being the lyrics to "Weird Tales" which captured the essence of Lovecraftian myth and paid homage to the Great Old Ones:
From ancient Yuggoth, black rays emit
Evil narcotic cyclopean pits
In dark babelian towers await
Lie dreaming until the time will awake
Black chant mirrors the song of the stars
Open the abyss dreamt from afar
Abominations drawn to our dimension
Feed black desires, aid human ascension
Black chanting grows
From caverns below
Echo through time
Reveal the sign
From ancient Yuggoth, black rays emit
Evils narcotic cyclopean pits
In dark babelian towers await
Lie dreaming until the time will awake

Yuggoth being a planet found in various works of Lovecraft, that had me somewhat intrigued. What really captured my imagination was the word cyclopean. I figured from reading Homer, that it had something to do with the cyclops, massive in size. Then my imagination ran wild, I remembered Metallica's "Call of Cthulhu." The riffs painted an image in my mind of a massive creature awakening from years of slumber. This was the final push I needed, I had to read Lovecraft that instant! I had been in a slump in regards to reading horror. I only liked two books by Stephen King, "It" and "Salem's Lot." I tried some other authors that I can not even remember, but was very disappointed. I had a feeling though, Lovecraft was going to be perfect for me. I sped off to the bookstore and selected the compilation that had a satisfying weight to it as I recall. That meant more pages, more pages meant more monsters and such. I was definitely not disappointed! I sat in the parking lot, too excited to go home, turning the pages until there it was "The Call of Cthulhu." I remember finishing the story late into the night and pulling an all nighter to read it again. This was it! Horror salvation, it had everything. Turn of the century, eerie towns with equally eerie people, giant monsters waiting to destroy humanity, cosmic horror, the unfathomable depths of the ever expanding universe. I stood at the mountains of madness, and wanted nothing more but to press on. Lovecraft's stories enveloped me, from then on I refused to read no one else besides his contemporaries. Save for William Hope Hodgson, who apparently influenced Lovecraft. He is next on the list by the way, an extraordinary man and author. If this has you intrigued, if you want for something more in the world of horror, I strongly urge you to start with "The Call of Cthulhu." I found a wonderful audio book version read by Wayne June, here is a link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVaqblXwp-Y

                                                           F'tagn, that water is cold!

2 comments:

  1. HBA Welcome Wagon...
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  2. Man I haven't read something in quite a while. Come to think of it, the last thing I read was by Lovecraft. I believe it was "The Outsider," which inspired Stuart Gordon's movie Castle Freak. It had the greatest of atmosphere and it was a story that can only be told in the short story form.

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