Happy Birthday H.P. Lovecraft!

Hey creeps n’ ghouls! Did you know this week marks the 123rd birthday of one of the greatest authors of horror fiction? That’s right, good ol’ Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born on August 20th, 1890. And while I would love to say that I was born with a preternatural knowledge of the man and all of his outré works, that is simply not the case! So, how did I become aware of HPL and his universe of horrors? Why from the pages of Fangoria magazine of course!

As a young fiend, I devoured every issue of Fangoria I could get my hands on, and while every month brought mind melting exposes on films it would sometimes take me years to see, Issue #91 from April 1990 introduced me to a film I’d never see; Stuart Gordon’s unproduced adaptation of Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth!

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Gordon, no stranger to Lovecraft adaptations having helmed both 1985’s Re-Animator and 1986’s From Beyond, had planned to bring HPL’s tale of a young man who explores a doomed town whose inhabitants, worshippers of the ancient aquatic god Dagon, are more fish than man. Helping him in this endeavor was none other than legendary horror artist Bernie Wrightson (co-creator of DC’s Swamp Thing). To say I was excited to learn of this project is an understatement.

The film was eventually announced as coming from Full Moon Entertainment, who were a staple of my weekly video store visits thanks primarily to their Puppet Master series of films, but it never came to pass. In 2001 Gordon reworked the premise for his film Dagon, and while that film was cool in its own right, it simply couldn’t match the film promised within the pages of Fango.

But, while the film never came to be, it did provide me with enough excitement to check out Lovecraft’s vast body of work, tales that I still revisit regularly and continue to be inspired by in my own writing!

If you would like to experience The Shadow Over Innsmouth for yourself I have provided thr audiobook version of it below!

Stay Spooky!

Embrace the Madness of the Season – Carol of the Old Ones

I know this is not exactly retro, but I have a soft spot in my heart for all things Cthulhu, especially when it has crossover with the holiday season. I think I spent way too many winter breaks from school in my youth reading Lovecraft.

The Carol of the Old Ones is performed by Tabernacle Choir, Rebecca Marcotte, Digby Dolmen, J.D. Titan, and Walter Forsythe. Picture montage put together by Mats Holm.

[via] MeFi

Cthulhu Testifies Before the Senate Banking Committee

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I have no idea, why or … well I just cannot put words into the randomness and wonderfullness of this print by Etsy artist, FullFrogMoon. So I will just use hers:

When the alarming news reached Capitol Hill that Cthulhu had been seen emerging from the sea near Atlantic City, alert Congressional aides who were familiar with the writings of H.P. Lovecraft recognized the significance of this event and promptly sprang into action. Recalling their 20th century literature studies at Yale, the young staffers immediately informed Committee members of Cthulhu’s presence on dry land.

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs proceeded to issue a subpoena ordering Cthulhu to appear before the Committee to testify about the specifics concerning his use of TARP funds to bail out insolvent lenders in his undersea dominion. Specifically, the committee requested details concerning the circumstances surrounding the concessional rate financing granted to questionable contractors engaged in the rehabilitation of Cthulhu’s sunken city of R’lyeh.

Cthulhu remarked “How in the world can I be expected to assess the creditworthiness of a creature that is little more than a protoplasmic mass resembling a collection of glowing bubbles?” He then promptly asserted his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and refused to provide any further information. Conscious of Cthulhu’s reputation as a destroyer of worlds and his appetite for feeding on the souls of humans, the Committee avoided pressing Cthulhu too hard about the TARP funds and instead graciously agreed to sponsor legislation providing the citizens of R’lyeh with a follow-on stimulus package to ensure that all structures in the city are brought up to Neptunian code.

Re-Animator

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Year: 1985
Director: Stuart Gordon
Writers: Dennis Paoli, William Norris, Stuart Gordon
Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbot, Barbara Crampton, David Gale, Robert Sampson, Gerry Black, Bunny Summers
Favorite Quote: “Who’s going to believe a talking head? Get a job in a sideshow.”

Re-Animator might possibly be the number one film on my horror list. Even with my love, almost fanatical devotion my wife would say to the Universal Monsters, I would still choose if I was forced to give a decision to go with this H.P. Lovecraft inspired classic horror movie.

The film begins at the Zurich Institute of Medicine, where a Swiss Professor flanked by two security guards walk quickly towards the lab of Dr. Gruber, an behind that locked door can be heard a man screaming, the guards break out the glass to the door and rush into the room. Laying on his back on the floor is Dr. Gruber, with his assistant Herbert West kneeling over him with a syringe. Dr. Gruber is shaking and screaming, he bolts upwards grab his head in agony as his eyes bulge and then burst with blood. The guards grab Herbert West, as the Professor checks the mutilated Dr. Gruber’s pulse, remarking he is dead (Which is pretty obvious), Herbert declares, “Of course he’s dead the dosage was too large.” A Swiss Doctor turns to him and accuses him of murder to which the brilliant if arrogant West replies, “No I did not. I gave him life.”

Two minutes, that is how long it will take to have you glued to your seats as you watch this darkly humorous film. It has some great and quite bloody special effects, when you are a member of the walking dead and someone takes a table saw to you…it’s not pretty. But the gore, at least to me, never feels like it doesn’t fit with the tone of the story. However this is most assuredly not a film to be watching while there are younger family members in the room. Ha, ha.

Combs is obviously the star of this film but Abbot (Who is also the Rylan Sargent in the Last Starfighter), and Crampton really hold their own. This is just one of those rare films where everything comes together. Direction, writing, music, and the acting make a perfect movie. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing this film you must remedy this immediately.

I admit that I watched this way too young, it was the first horror title that my Father and I ever rented on VHS, followed by the Evil Dead. Still, we both ended up adoring Re-Animator, and I promised that on the site in a week or two I shall post the story of how Jeffrey Combs was kind enough to visit the video store I worked at in my youth. Re-Animator deserves five golden pumpkins out of five for its absolute perfection!

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