Thursday, February 08, 2007

Gothing Out

I'm a latecomer to the horror genre. Aside from a couple Steven King movie adaptions, the required Edgar Allen Poe poetry (standard for any budding young Goth), and weekends rolling dice over my Vampire character sheet as a teenager I didn't bother with the genre much. I always loved ghost stories, but I was a jumpy kid and my parents never let me watch horror movies. They needed to protect my delicate imagination. When I got older I found out that my sister never really liked the scary stuff, so I was deprived until my most recent boyfriend (now an ex-boyfriend, but that's not really his fault) decided to introduce elements from his favorite pulp writer into his Mage games.

I'm competitive, especially in relationships (which is why so many boyfriends shortly become ex-boyfriends). I had to keep up with him, so I scoured the comic book stores and found only a copy of The Worlds of H.P. Lovecrat: The Tomb. It met my satisfaction, so it was to the library for me and a month of indulgence in short horror stories. From the Call of Cthulu in an anthology, I moved on to all of the Cthulu Mythos cycle, to the Dream Cycle, to the miscellaneous stories in other collections, to the original Lovecraft Circle (the ones I could find) and now I'm reading the modern knockoffs.

I never pass up the chance to read a Mythos story, even though its not a subject I am compelled to blog obsessively about. Lovecraft is a private indulgence best savored alone in bed, after midnight, by the dim illumination of a flashlight. It doesn't do to blog endlessly about the minutia of Lovecraft continuity (mainly because he played loose with the details to achieve that mythic feel). The most you can really do is trade jokes, videos, parodies, and mock derisively the people who actually buy and use the Necronomicon.

I will, however, say that The Dreams in the Witch House is the freakiest story ever written.

Anyway, this was a particularly good day for Lovecraft fans. First, there was an anthology put out by Boom Studios that I'd asked the clerk to pull for me, though I can't imagine where I may have heard of it (all playing aside, Kevin's story was my favorite of the collection. Neat concept, I was expecting Erich Zahn when I saw the musical references but he went in a direction I hadn't seen before and captured the mystery/horror mood of a Lovecraft story. Tough to do in a visual medium.) And right next to it there was a Graphic Classics volume of Lovecraft stories that I hadn't seen before.

Best of all, no repeats. Well, it has adaptations of stories I've read before, but no repeats of any stories I have in comic book format. (Not to mention it has a rendition of the freakiest story ever written.)

Nice week, all in all. Plenty of tastefully horrible dinner reading and hopefully I'll get some entertaining nightmares out of it.


  1. Oooh. I may have to pick that up.

    Lovecraft has to be one of my favorite authors ever. His are, in fact, pretty much the only horror stories that a) scare me and b) aren't grossly unreadable. My favorite's still At the Mountains of Madness, largely due to my unfailing love of Antarctica, and the close runner-up is Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, for Nyarlathotep, really. :P

    And I love poking around for Lovecraft criticism online, because the people complaining about his purple prose are so totally missing the point it's hilarious.

    Even better are the people who've created a whole religion out of the mythos. Lovecraft's rolling in his grave.

    ...Sorry, that was an incredibly geeky comment. My apologies for the long ramble.

  2. I always think Call of Cthulhu is so funny. I mean it's a great title, but the horror of the story is "Something terrible almost happened a month ago".

    It's not quite up there with "the killer is downstairs".

  3. What about "The killer is downstairs, in a house fifty or sixty blocks away?"

  4. Amen Ragnell (and Alexandra). Lovecraft is one of my top 5 authors, like, ever! He rocked the unreliable narrator/twist ending concept like no other, as far as I'm concerned.

    (Why no, I'm not particularly a fan of Eddie Allan Poe, why do you ask? :-) )

    I'm picking up the Boom! issue with my regular stuff today.

    Oh, and for what it's worth, I'm a fan of "The Rats in The Walls". I read that when I was ten and didn't sleep for two days.

  5. My only exposure to Lovecraft is the movie adaptation of The Dunwich Horror, which isn't great, but it's at least entertaining, and Dean Stockwell is pretty creepy in it. I keep meaning to read some of his stuff... and I work in a library, for cryin' out loud, so it's not like I don't have access.

  6. Heh.

    No way you getting out of that game of Arkham Horror, now.

    I've got your number.

    Odd that I only ordered it this week...