Monday, August 22, 2011
LOVECRAFTIANA (FIRST PORTAL)
Having been an active member of the H.P. LOVECRAFT AMATEUR PRESS ASSOCIATION for a few years, as well as participating in the dialogue with its varied and distinguished 35-plus membership affectionately known as THE ESOTERIC ORDER OF DAGON, I have to say that the Olde Gentleman has a lot going for him these days. I don't believe there is, at present, a greater group of people at the genius loci of Lovecraftian scholarship. Moderated by prolific horror historian S.T. Joshi, his leadership has spurred on the continuing reasearch of this most interesting of literary personalities.
Lovecraft did not leave much in the way of his fiction writing. It is nearly all found in fan 'zines and pulp magazines of the 1920's and 1930's. However, he wrote thousands of pages of letters to such correspondents as Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, and Robert Bloch. His letters are where one can find a little of what made this "Rhode Island Recluse" tick. Still, his legacy of horror -- or weird fiction as he called it -- is not only timeless, but dynamic. At the present time, it is safe to say that Lovecraft is today singularly influential from that group of "classic era" horror authors, surpassing even that of Poe.
Lovecraftian influence can be seen everywhere in literature and pop culture. Oddly enough, despite attempts at cannonizing him along with other literary greats, he remains largely a cult figure. Everybody seems to recognize the name, but not everyone can say they've actually read his writing.
When it comes to films, it's even a greater stretch. Who can say they realize that a film such as THE HAUNTED PALACE, while an obvious Poe title, was based more on a Lovecraft story (with a superb Charles Beaumont script)? The running and only half-joking phrase that's used by critics and fans is "Lovecraft, The Unfilmable" -- partly due to the fact that the true impact of his writing lends more towards the cerebral than visual.
Nevertheless, a handful of feature films and numerous short films have managed to capture the general essence of Lovecraft's "cosmic horror". In Issue #43 (Sept. 1975) of THE MONSTER TIMES, this theme is expounded upon.
Welcome to the First Portal of LOVECRAFTIANA WEEK here at MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD. I'll be posting various articles about movies based on Lovecraft's works, along with one or two biographical articles that include discussion of his influence on horror cinema. Enjoy!