The Wall Street Journal reminds us that today is the 125th birthday of a man who unleashed so much unreasoning terror as a writer that his name is now an adjective: Lovecraftian.
The Journal suggests 5 ways in which we might celebrate H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday — from viewing movies made from his stories to drinking Lovecraft Beer to actually reading his weird tales.
As a boy, I had the pimples scared right off my face by reading such meta-creepy Lovecraft stories as The Color from Outer Space and At the Mountains of Madness.
Nobody can write in Lovecraft’s intense mannered style anymore, although writers keep trying.
Even TIME Magazine had one of its reporters try his claw at emulating the terror meister’s style, with doleful rather than horrifying results. Here’s a sample:
“The graveyard bristled with baleful intensity. Strangely colossal bats beat the air around my face, and chittering hordes of toadlike things chortled in infandous rhythms of ululation in dissonances of extreme morbidity and cacodemonial ghastliness. As I somehow anticipated, the cowled figure, his face ever hidden, approached and tugged my pajama sleeve, pulling me toward the openLovecraft tomb. Forgetting danger, cleanliness and reason, I ventured into the yawning Stygian recesses of the inner earth, down inclined passageways whose walls were coated with the detestable slimy niter of the earth’s bowels. My whole being choked on the stinking confluence of incense fumes, and a cancerous terror clutched my chest with strangling tendrils. Penultimately we reached a vast vaulted room lit with a gangrenous green glare from an unknown source, while all around pulsed and crashed a monstrous noise not unlike a machine malevolently crunching great living trees to pulp.”
Rather than keeping a shotgun by your bed while you read the above, you probably would want to keep a dictionary.
Of course, if you really want to get to know about Howard Phillips Lovecraft you should attend the Necronomincon this week in Providence, Rhode Island. According to Rhode Island Monthly, there will be over 40 panel discussions on the author’s works and life.
And perhaps something obscene and eldritch will rise from the ocean’s abyss to join the concatenation and cause everyone’s hypothalamus to implode . . .
Now H.P. Lovecraft was a guy, could really write a story;
Filled with goblins hobbing and all sorts of life force gory.
In grim New England swamps and hills, where ancient sin abode,
he conjured up a strangeness that to madness was a goad.
His creatures had no use for man, except as ghastly relish,
as they prowled the night and burrowed into graves quite hellish.
If you want real terror, with his books you should relax —
or else try filing early on your yearly income tax . . .