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Old 07-05-2015, 10:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Lovecraftian horror

Since it's being talked about in connection with True Detective in another thread:

I think a lot of people like this type of cosmic horror stuff, things beyond anything us puny humans could ever comprehend.

What are good books and movies in this vein? What are your favourites?
(Apart from Lovecraft himself obviously. Duh.)
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Old 07-05-2015, 11:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sorry, Lovecraft: The Colour Out of Space.

I re-read it once every few years just to remind myself just how much most of the current batch of "horror" writers suck ass.

American Gods - Neil Gaiman.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Gods
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Old 07-05-2015, 01:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 07-05-2015, 01:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Those books are amazing. I still think of some of the stories in there 20 years later.
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Old 07-05-2015, 01:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I haven't really found another author that really captures the essence of Lovecraft other than Clive Barker, M.R. James, Neil Gaiman, Thomas Ligotti, Robert W. Chambers, Edgar Allan Poe and Laird Barron. As for movies... that's a bit of a mixed bag. All of them have short stories collections which is probably the best way to go but here's my recommendations.

Clive Barker - Books of Blood Vol. 1 - 6

M.R. James - Collected Ghost Stories (he's more inspired by Victorian era ghost stories, but has a similar writing style)

Laird Barron - The Imago Sequence and Other Stories

Neil Gaiman - The Sandman (this one's a graphic novel, but very well done)

Thomas Ligotti - The Conspiracy Against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror (this is actually a work of non-fiction that was a major inspiration for Rust Chole's pessimistic world view in True Detective)

Robert W. Chambers - The King in Yellow (another piece of work that was very inspirational for True Detective. He was kind of in the same boat as Lovecraft, writing Weird fiction for magazines, although it's been said that Lovecraft didn't really care for him too much, even though his work influenced Lovecraft).

Poe - Pretty much anything, I'd recommend just getting a collection for your local book store for like $10


I don't think there's ever been a truly accurate adaptation of one of his stories outside of the 2005 black and white silent film The Call of Cthluhu. The 2001 Stuart Gordon movie Dagon is a good movie heavily inspired by The Shadow Over Innsmouth but does have some of the same problems his other modern Lovecraft movie, Re-Animator had where it couldn't decide on a tone. The 1995 John Carpenter film In the Mouth of Madness is pretty Lovecraftian as well, but like the others, doesn't really commit to just one tone and is kind of tongue-in-cheek. Ironically, one of the films that best exemplifies Lovecraft is probably the 2007 film The Mist which easily has one of the most soul crushing endings, and the monsters seem to be very Lovecraft inspired, not that it's that surprising as Stephen King was hugely influenced by Lovecraft.

Video games have probably had the best success with that kind of thing, but I think that's also due to the fact that the medium is so well suited for horror. The 2005 game Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is a technically an original work but contains elements of "Dagon" and "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", including the hotel escape. The 2010 game Amnesia: The Dark Descent is very Lovecraft inspired as you're being haunted by an unknowable darkness accidentally unleashed on a trip to Africa. The 2001 Gamecube game Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem also contains A LOT of Lovecraft references thoughout the course of the game.
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Old 07-05-2015, 02:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Chula Vista View Post
Sorry, Lovecraft: The Colour Out of Space.

I re-read it once every few years just to remind myself just how much most of the current batch of "horror" writers suck ass.

American Gods - Neil Gaiman.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Gods
The Colour Out Of Space is one of my favourites as well.
And American Gods sounds awesome, I'll check it out.

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I read some Clive Barker as a teen, but not those books. Added to list.

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Originally Posted by LoathsomePete View Post
I haven't really found another author that really captures the essence of Lovecraft other than Clive Barker, M.R. James, Neil Gaiman, Thomas Ligotti, Robert W. Chambers, Edgar Allan Poe and Laird Barron. As for movies... that's a bit of a mixed bag. All of them have short stories collections which is probably the best way to go but here's my recommendations.

Clive Barker - Books of Blood Vol. 1 - 6

M.R. James - Collected Ghost Stories (he's more inspired by Victorian era ghost stories, but has a similar writing style)

Laird Barron - The Imago Sequence and Other Stories

Neil Gaiman - The Sandman (this one's a graphic novel, but very well done)

Thomas Ligotti - The Conspiracy Against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror (this is actually a work of non-fiction that was a major inspiration for Rust Chole's pessimistic world view in True Detective)

Robert W. Chambers - The King in Yellow (another piece of work that was very inspirational for True Detective. He was kind of in the same boat as Lovecraft, writing Weird fiction for magazines, although it's been said that Lovecraft didn't really care for him too much, even though his work influenced Lovecraft).

Poe - Pretty much anything, I'd recommend just getting a collection for your local book store for like $10


I don't think there's ever been a truly accurate adaptation of one of his stories outside of the 2005 black and white silent film The Call of Cthluhu. The 2001 Stuart Gordon movie Dagon is a good movie heavily inspired by The Shadow Over Innsmouth but does have some of the same problems his other modern Lovecraft movie, Re-Animator had where it couldn't decide on a tone. The 1995 John Carpenter film In the Mouth of Madness is pretty Lovecraftian as well, but like the others, doesn't really commit to just one tone and is kind of tongue-in-cheek. Ironically, one of the films that best exemplifies Lovecraft is probably the 2007 film The Mist which easily has one of the most soul crushing endings, and the monsters seem to be very Lovecraft inspired, not that it's that surprising as Stephen King was hugely influenced by Lovecraft.

Video games have probably had the best success with that kind of thing, but I think that's also due to the fact that the medium is so well suited for horror. The 2005 game Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is a technically an original work but contains elements of "Dagon" and "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", including the hotel escape. The 2010 game Amnesia: The Dark Descent is very Lovecraft inspired as you're being haunted by an unknowable darkness accidentally unleashed on a trip to Africa. The 2001 Gamecube game Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem also contains A LOT of Lovecraft references thoughout the course of the game.
Cool, apart from Poe (I've read pretty much everything by him) and Barker I've never even heard of those authors.
I've watched all those movies though, except for Dagon. Will have to catch up on that.
And I'm not much of a gamer, but those sound awesome. Perhaps it's time to become one.

Oh, and thanks for moving the thread.
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Old 07-05-2015, 05:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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In The Strength to Dream (1962), Colin Wilson had criticized the works of H.P. Lovecraft, the American writer of weird tales, which led to Lovecraft's publisher August Derleth daring Wilson to write one better. This novel, The Philosopher's Stone (1969), was the result, a fascinating blend of science fiction, horror, and philosophy, told within the framework of Lovecraft's mythos.
The novel that Colin Wilson wrote is not in the gothic Lovecraft style, neither is it set in some murky American past, but it is a wonderful book in it's own right; Wilson's best novel imo, and a fascinating exploration of the possibilities of human consciousness. So, don't expect anything very Lovecraftian, read it with an open mind, and see if you don't agree with me - that Colin Wilson met the challenge and wrote something more exciting, more gripping than most of Lovecraft's stories.
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The novel that Colin Wilson wrote is not in the gothic Lovecraft style, neither is it set in some murky American past, but it is a wonderful book in it's own right; Wilson's best novel imo, and a fascinating exploration of the possibilities of human consciousness. So, don't expect anything very Lovecraftian, read it with an open mind, and see if you don't agree with me - that Colin Wilson met the challenge and wrote something more exciting, more gripping than most of Lovecraft's stories.
You had me at "consciousness". Always interested in that,
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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You had me at "consciousness". Always interested in that,
^ haha! Well, among other things, the book describes a (fictitious) method of expanding consciousness, so is perhaps of interest to anyone curious about, for instance, mind-altering chemicals.

BTW, for some reason, I have the idea that you are German, grindy; do you read in English, or do you have another language that you are more comfortable with?
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Old 07-06-2015, 10:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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^ haha! Well, among other things, the book describes a (fictitious) method of expanding consciousness, so is perhaps of interest to anyone curious about, for instance, mind-altering chemicals.

BTW, for some reason, I have the idea that you are German, grindy; do you read in English, or do you have another language that you are more comfortable with?
I'm actually Ukrainian, but I live in Germany.
My first language is Russian, my second language is German.
I'm equally fluent in both.
But I'm also perfectly comfortable with reading in English. I have probably read more books in English than in Russian and German in the last few years.

Oh and I've done my share of mind-altering substances, so it's always interesting to read something in that vein.
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