Today marks the 123rd birthday of H. P. Lovecraft, a man whose work has stood the test of time, and has inspired multiple generations of writers, filmmakers, artists and musicians. We asked some fellow Bizarros for their favourite stories or other works inspired by Lovecraft’s own, and came up with the following:
Ross E. Lockhart, editor of two Lovecraft-inspired anthologies, says:
For me, it’s “The Festival,” Lovecraft’s tale of holiday cheer, family gatherings, and a “Yule-rite, older than man and fated to survive him” that never fails to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. And HPL’s description of the procession–“They were not altogether crows, nor moles, nor buzzards, nor ants, nor vampire bats, nor decomposed human beings; but something I cannot and must not recall. They flopped limply along, half with their webbed feet and half with their membranous wings; and as they reached the throng of celebrants the cowled figures seized and mounted them, and rode off one by one along the reaches of that unlighted river, into pits and galleries of panic where poison springs feed frightful and undiscoverable cataracts.”–is one of the most Bizarro moments in the history of weird fiction.
You can find the story in full (and free) here.
And on that note, bizarro horror artist Nick Gucker drew a creature inspired by that very story!
NBAS author Andrew Wayne Adams says:
My favourite Lovecraft-inspired movie is In the Mouth of Madness. Sutter Cane is probably THE main reason I grew up wanting to be a writer. I wanted my thoughts to control reality, just like his (with the ultimate goal of destroying reality by imploding it with an incomprehensible “beyond”). Also, I used to put this movie on while I slept, and did this almost every night for years.
Here’s a fun clip from the movie featuring a crazed man with an axe.
Deep in the shadowy reaches of the Appalachian Mountains lurk secrets so terrible it was not meant that men should know them. Foul abominations lie in wait, locked away in the in-between spaces Euclid dared not contemplate, aching to return to a world which once belonged to them, and one day will be in their grasp again…
The CastIron Carousel seeks funding to stage an H.P. Lovecraft-themed marionette play entitled THE DOOM THAT CAME TO FIDDLE CREAK in Portland, Oregon in the fall of 2013. The audience will enjoy a fully realized marionette theater experience: a curtain will open revealing a magic window into a stage populated by intricately articulated marionettes animated by near-invisible strings. There will be a dazzling array of special effects that will delight and astonish the audience.
Many more details at their Kickstarter page: The Doom That Came to Fiddle Creak. You don’t have to be in Portland to get in on the fun. A $20 donation will snag you a DVD of the show and for $10 you can download it.
Although the Kickstarter has now reached its $10,000 goal, there are still stretch goals to meet. The more money the CastIron Carousel gets, the better show they can create, and the more places they can tour: Seattle, Vancouver, California, the east coast…the sky’s the limit!
By Adam Bolivar
Last year while sifting through the digital detritus of the world wide web, I happened upon this little gem:
The writer of the article speculates that the true location of H. P. Lovecraft’s haunted village of Dunwich was inspired by the area around Shutesbury, Massachusetts, which has many features in common with the ones mentioned in “The Dunwich Horror.” Being a native of Massachusetts myself (I currently reside in Portland, Oregon), I was quite familiar with the locations mentioned in the article. Indeed, I had recently visited my friend Dave in Shutesbury, and the woods behind his house struck me as so Lovecraftian, I was inspired to write a short story called “The Time Eater,” which was later published in the Lovecraft eZine. During my visit Dave had also showed me a house in nearby Leverett, where, according to the house’s owner, H. P. Lovecraft had once stayed. I pored over various biographies of the legendary weird fiction writer, but could find no mention of a stay in Leverett—although he had toured the general region in the company of his friend H. Warner Munn in the summer of 1928, just before writing “The Dunwich Horror.” Could whoever had lived in that house have been a friend of Munn’s? Could the master of tentacular horror really have stayed there back in ’28?
I wrote to Dave and showed him the article. A fellow Lovecraftian, he was as intrigued by it as I was, and soon paid a visit to the Temenos retreat in Shutesbury, the location of Mt. Mineral—the modern name for the “Horse Hill” mentioned in the article. Astonishingly, Temenos was only a stone’s throw from the house in Leverett. Upon Dave’s second visit to Temenos, he met with the caretaker, who had summoned a council meeting (I kid you not!) during which one of the old council members spoke up to say that he knew of some standing stones near Mt. Mineral, now toppled, but clearly once arranged in a circular shape! Could Mt. Mineral be the inspiration for Sentinel Hill in “The Dunwich Horror?” I was putting two and two together and it was adding up to Cthulhu. Flush with cash from a recent writing job, I wasted no time in booking a flight back east.
Upon my arrival, our first task was to track down the house’s owner and try to verify his claim that HPL had stayed there. A little gumshoeing turned up the owner’s phone number in a local white pages. We called him and left a message on his answering machine asking him to call us back. Dave had also learned another tidbit from a friend who had rented the house (the one who’d first heard the story from the owner): Lovecraft had said that Leverett reminded him of the “cold nothingness of space.” It definitely sounded like something Grandpa would say. The house itself was suitably creepy: dark and perched atop a high hill. It dated from 1790.
The big day came when I took my quest to Temenos itself, accompanied by a merry band of adventurers: Dave, his friend Steve, and our mutual friends Jay and Sue, who photographed the journey. Temenos was certainly not lacking in interesting features: we found an old Indian stone chamber built into a hill, a Buddhist shrine and a curious stone carving of some kind of god, which had mysterious origins.
At the site of the retreat itself was a water pump that dispensed the famous mineral water that gave Mt. Mineral its name—water once prized by Boston Brahmins and the New York elite, who flocked there for spa treatments in the 1800s. A local named Ephraim Pratt was said to have lived to 116 years drinking that water, with a life spanning from the colonial 17th century to an independent America in the early 19th. Could he have been the inspiration for the centuries-spanning Ephraim Waite in “The Thing on the Doorstep?” I tried the water myself; it was ghastly and tasted of sulphur. As for the stone circle, alas, we found nothing definite. There were certainly a lot of large stones around Mt. Mineral, arranged in strange formations by the glaciers that had plowed through that region 18,000 years ago. At one point I became lost in the woods and stumbled upon a secluded copse that appeared to be bounded by a series of stones. Had they been arranged deliberately? Maybe. But by whom?
I must end my weird tale without a satisfying conclusion, despite so many tantalizing clues that this place provided the inspiration for Dunwich, at least in part. We never did hear back from the owner of the house in Leverett, and Dave has yet to meet the “old council member” who knows the location of the toppled stone circle. One day I may go back. Or if not me, perhaps some other intrepid dream-quester will venture into dark woods of Shutesbury, Massachusetts and discover the true location of “The Dunwich Horror.” Maybe it will be you, if you dare…
Pictures courtesy of NewmanImage.
A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Adam Bolivar has lived in New Orleans, Berkeley, and currently resides in Portland, Oregon. He is a prolific marionette playwright, and has written nine plays performed by the Scratch Brothers’ Prestodigital Phantasmagoria and the CastIron Carousel. His fictional works have appeared in Nameless Magazine, the Lovecraft eZine, and in anthologies published by Eraserhead Press and Chaosium.
Ever wonder what Cthulhu does while the stars aren’t right? Here’s your answer….
Below you’ll find Alan M. Clark’s weekly Dilation Exercise. Please look at the picture, read the caption, above and below the image, and allow your imagination to go to work on it. If the artwork inspires an idea, please use the comment feature to tell us something about it. Need a further explanation? Go to Imagination Workout—The Dilation Exercises.
Alister’s new reality TV series was a hit, but when the crew started catching Cthulhu’s minions and the great old one awoke, the young man had a choice to make.
He could try to make it right and hope the god went back to sleep, or he could film the mayhem, gain glory through ratings and hope at the end of the first season there would be enough world left to cash in on his success.
—Alan M. Clark
Artwork: “Catch of the Day” copyright © 2006 Alan M. Clark.
Interior illustration for Deeper by James A. Moore – Necessary Evil Press.
Captions are original to this post and have nothing to do with the literary project with which the artwork first appeared.
Last month, you voted to determine the results of the greatest battle since Mickey Mouse took on Japan. Cthulhu destroyed the sparkly vampires in a landslide, thus earning the crown of Evilest Monster of All Time. But in a twist of fate, Bella and Edward worked from the grave to summon Cthulhu’s one great weakness . . . lolcats. As you all know from Cthulhu Comes to the Vampire Kingdom, Cthulhu is hopelessly addicted to lolcats. Their fuzzy little faces and adorable catspeak simply drive him beyond madness.
However, one brave soldier is to be honored for the valiant effort he played in this war. That brave soldier’s name is Ian Vullo. He is the recipient of the special vampire/Lovecraftian package, which includes a Cthulhu Santa t-shirt, The Selected Fiction of Henry James (signed by Re-Animator director STUART GORDON), The Book of Cthulhu edited by Ross Lockhart, a bootlegged copy of every Twilight film, The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich, and more. If you are Ian, please contact Cameron Pierce at firstname.lastname@example.org to collect your reward.
Thanks to all of you for laying your lives on the line to serve the great Cthulhu. May you someday help him return to his former glory by rebuilding his legendary sushi restaurant.
Sparkly vampires are at war against everybody’s favorite squid god. It’s up to you to decide the outcome. Cast your vote in the comments section to determine the evilest monster of all time.
Sparkly vampires: They’ll destroy Cthulhu with lip gloss and feminine anxiety.
Sparkly vampires: H.P. Lovecraft was a hack.
Cthulhu: Clearly, he is a more powerful dark wizard than Edward.
Cthulhu: Stephanie Meyer is a hack.
Nobody. They’ll kill each other after a long, bloody battle.
Nobody. They’ll realize that they’re both just sexually repressed and leave the battle feeling “not man enough.”
Other: Devise your own outcome for the greatest monster battle of our time!
Cast your vote in the comments section on this post!
Every voter will be entered into a raffle to win a special vampire/Lovecraftian package, which will include a Cthulhu Santa t-shirt, The Selected Fiction of Henry James (signed by Re-Animator director STUART GORDON), The Book of Cthulhu edited by Ross Lockhart, a bootlegged copy of every Twilight film, The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich, and more.
The winning monster (as well as the raffle winner) will be announced at Bizarro Central on December 26th.
And if that’s not enough vampire/Cthulhu action for you, be sure to pick up Cthulhu Comes to the Vampire Kingdom by Cameron Pierce, an apocalyptic horror comedy about the pitfalls that occur when Cthulhu invades a town of teen vampires.