Frightmaster Lovecraft, Spinnin’ Terror

It’s Friday again, and if you’re looking for a way to start your weekend off with a fright, then I suggest you look into the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

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Even if you haven’t read any of Lovecraft’s stories, you are still sure to have read, heard, or watched something that was influenced by him.  Multiple musicians, directors, comic book artists, and authors (including the master of horror himself, Stephen King) have cited Lovecraft as a huge inspiration in their work.

And for all you Evil Dead fans (myself included), you know the Necronomicon?  Yeah.  He invented that.  Respect.

Now, if you’re looking for light reading, this ain’t it.  His stories boast some of the heaviest content I have ever read.  Thinking about the size of the universe and your place in it can make you feel small, but Lovecraft’s descriptions of our place in the galaxy, the origins of our ancestors, and ancient inhabitants of our planet make you feel positively microscopic.

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It’s not feel-good material is what I’m saying.  It’s just good.  Really good.

My favorites of his stories are “At the Mountains of Madness,” “Dreams in the Witch House,” “The Dunwich Horror,” “The Shunned House,” and, of course, “The Call of Cthulhu.”

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It’s about this guy, but scarier.

I suggest you start with all of those and keep going.

Not much of a reader?  No problem.  Check out the following movies and TV episodes based on or influenced by his work:

  • Re-Animator (1985): This horror-comedy based on Lovecraft’s story “Herbert West – Re-Animator” is gory, disturbing, and hilarious.
  • Masters of Horror – “Dreams in the Witch House” (2005):  The second episode of this awesome series (check it out if you haven’t already) is directly taken from the story of the same name.  It’s dark and creepy, and it’s one of my favorites.
  • South Park – “Coon 2: Hindsight,” “Mysterion Rises,” & “Coon vs. Coon & Friends” (2010): Trouble begins in the first episode of this trilogy when DP drills too deep into the ocean floor and releases Cthulhu from the watery depths.  Of course, Cartman is there to make friends.  If you love to laugh, this will not disappoint.
  • The Thing (1982): Although it isn’t actually based on the story, this movie is reminiscent of “At the Mountains of Madness,” one of my all-time favorite Lovecraft stories.  Antarctica? Check.  Doom? Check. Gloom? Check. Creepy Alien Lifeforms? Check.

I believe I’ll take my own advice and re-read some of my favorite stories over this long weekend.  What about you?  Do you have any favorites?  What Lovecraftian horrors give you the chills?

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