H.P Lovecraft’s work stands for the dark, the forbidden, the obscurantism. A fear of the unknown. Some of his work was inspired by his own nightmares. And now, it’s his stories that provoke us nightmares. He is, no doubt, a major figure in the supernatural Horror genre. This is “The influence of H.P Lovecraft in Terror”.
A master in telling but not showing, he wouldn’t show the horrific creature, but instead, he would tell you how the main character reacted. Breaking one of the most sacred rules for writers, the “don’t show but tell”, by this formula he in fact caused terror, way more than if he had described the horror itself. Are you ready for some Lovecraftian horror?
Who is H.P Lovecraft
Howard Philipp Lovecraft was an American author born in providence Writer of horror fiction, his work went unnoticed during his lifetime. Now, however, he is considered one of the best horror authors of all time along with Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe. The later was one of H.P Lovecraft’s biggest influences.
All HP Lovecraft have the same premise, humanity is irrelevant and insignificant, as the author explained during an interview for Weird tales:
“Now all my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the vast cosmos-at-large. To me there is nothing but puerility in a tale in which the human form—and the local human passions and conditions and standards—are depicted as native to other worlds or other universes.”
For those wondering why is HP Lovecraft so popular, the Cthulhu Mythos is the short answer you are looking for.
What is the Cthulhu Mythos
The Cthulhu Mythos is the interconnected universe created by H.P Lovecraft on which all his horror novels take place. A name deriving from one of his most notable works, The Call of Cthulhu.
In this fictional universe, Lovecraft imprints his Cosmicism philosophy. The basic principle of the Cosmicism is that humans are insignificant in the large intergalactic existence and that there is no recognizable presence such as a god. Instead, this philosophy suggests that the universe is a complex
This explains why in the Cthulhu Mythos humanity coexists, despite being unaware, with the Great Old ones, ancient and powerful deities from space who once ruled the earth until they eventually fell into a state of hibernation. Some of these deities inhabiting in the Earth and somehow imprisoned, as is the case for Cthulhu who is imprisoned underwater in the city of R’lyeh. These deities are often worshipped by dark and secret cults. In short, the Great Ones are the gods created by HP Lovecraft.
The influence of HP Lovecraft
HP Lovecraft not only has influenced several generations of writers, he also changed the established visión of the horror genre. This is why another one of the greatest horror authors ever. Stephen King told in his book, Danse Macabre (where the author narrates his various influences) that Lovecraft was responsible for his own fascination with horror and the macabre and was the largest figure to influence his fiction writing. If you like horror movies, check this article about the upcoming movie Pet Sematary!
The horror summoned by H.P Lovecraft has transcended the world of literature. Several videogame titles are based on this author’s mythos. This is, of course, related to the copyright of his work, which is considered public domain. Let’s see some examples:
One of the most significant examples is Bloodborne. an Action RPG developed by From Software. You might have heard of this company since they are the creators of the Dark Souls series.T his game takes place in Yarham, a city depicted as a mixture of the Victorian Era and the gothic architecture with the slight touch of the H.P Lovecraft’s lore. A world that is controlled by the Great Ones (yes, even the same name as in H.P Lovecraft’s mythos). These are god like creatures with incredible power who exist in different planes of existence. The influence of H.P Lovecraft’s work reflects on different aspects of this videogame. This shows in the creatures, the scenarios and even that constant feeling of uneasiness are heavily inspired by the Lovecraftian horror.
The Sinking City
Another game inspired by this author is the Sinking City, a mystery horror videogame which will be released on March 21, 2019. This videogame will be available for the following platforms PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, and Xbox One. Seems like, as happened with Metro Exodus, the game won’t be able for Nintendo switch.
In this videogame trailer, you will see several references to the Call of Cthulhu and the Cthulhu Mythos in general.
The Call of Cthulhu
The video game title already tells us how much this game is inspired by H.P Lovecraft’s short story. A survival horror developed by Cyanide Studio which is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. The videogame is available since 2018.
There is not yet a complete adaptation of Lovecraft ’s horror stories but even so, there have been diverse attempts. However, seems like only independent filmmakers are trying their adaptation of H.P Lovecraft’s stories. Some of the most recent are The Whisperer in Darkness (released in 2011), The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu (2009) or Cthulhu (2007).
You might be wondering why there are no Lovecraft movies? That is, how come there are no high budget productions after such stories? The reason is, probably, that Lovecraft stories are about the atmosphere you create in your imagination. These stories would be fairly difficult to be adapted in a film format.
Are H.P Lovecraft stories public domain?
Even though there has been some controversy regarding the copyright of Lovecraft’s Works the answer is: Yes. Lovecraft’s books effectively entered the public domain.
This is why there are several videogames, films, board games and novels using the Cthulhu Mythos names and characters freely. The author always encouraged other authors to borrow ideas from his mythos, and so, several writers have contributed enrichening the Cthulhu Mythos.
Since it is public domain you can download his stories for free on the Internet. If you want to know some useful websites for downloading books, just click here.
What Lovecraft book should I start with?
If you are wondering how to read these horror novels, here is my small “how to start” guide for HP Lovecraft horror books:
- The Dunwich Horror
- The Shadow Over Innsmouth
- Call of Cthulhu
- Dreams in the Witch House
These four novels will provide you a great insight of H.P Lovecraft’s work. Of course, these are not all the novels by this author. These are the ones I consider you should read first. In the future, I will make a How to read article, where you w know the proper reading order.
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