|Posted by Tronyn on 2003/08/05 18:10:29|
|I thought Lovecraft would make a good topic for discussion here, since I'm sure the ratio of Lovecraft readers here is much higher than average. Discuss Lovecraft's ideas/philosophy, and also works of art/music/literature which attempt to capture Lovecraft's vision and whether they succeed or fail.
I've read the following compilations of work written in imitation of Lovecraft:
"The Disciples of Cthulu":
This contains a mixed bag. There are two incredible stories: The Terror From the Depths by Fritz Leiber and Darkness, My Name Is by Eddy C. Burglund (or some last name like that). Particularly the latter is amazing. The rest are either half-decent or abysmal.
"Tales of the Lovecraft Mythos":
A recent collection that pretty much stinks. There was one story that qualified as interesting; the rest were garbage.
"The Children of Cthulu" is another compilation that I saw for sale, but it looked so trashy that I didn't even pick it up.
I've also read "The Burrowers Beneath" by Brian Lumley, and "The Transition of Titus Crow" which follows upon it. The first book is quite good, Lumley's concept for a new type of Lovecraftian monster that inhabits the earth's core is very original and very cool. However, about 3/4 of the way through the first book, it starts to suck: it becomes like Lovecraft meets Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6, and that just sucks. An elite team of Cthulu monster eliminating specialists? BAH!!!!
The entire second book is so far over the top that, despite having some interesting ideas and being written well, it is just ridiculous. "Transition" is like Lovecraft meets H.G. Wells - something else so inappropriate it could never work.
Everyone probably agrees that John Carpenter's "The Thing" both is Lovecraftian and kicks much ass. But don't even get me started on how lame it is of id to rip monsters from that film for Doom3. "In The Mouth Of Madness" by the same director crosses Lovecraft's ideas with some Steven King style stuff, and it works out quite well. The movie is extremely, extremely over-the-top.
"Dagon" is a recent adaptation of Shadow Over Innsmouth, and is not horrible, but fails to capture the disturbingness of the story properly.
I've heard someone call the movie "Pi" Lovecraftian, and that could work on some level, but not a literal one.
There's always "The Thing That Should Not Be" back from the classic Metallica days, as well as "The Call of the Ktulu" by the same group from the same period. Both are very good.
Fields of the Nephilim apparently have a lot of Lovecraftian references in their music, but their inclusion of Sumerian mythology suggests perhaps they were suckers for the hoaxed Necronomicon which stated that Lovecraft's mythos was an adaptation of Sumerian mythology.
And in one song by Joy Division:
"An abyss that laughs at creation
A circus complete with all fools
Foundations that lasted the ages
Then ripped apart at their roots
Beyond all this good is the terror
The grip of a mercenary hand
When savagery turns for good reason
There's no turning back, no last stand"
That's probably enough blabbing by me for now, I'm sure others will have plenty to say.
PS: Also, last time I was at the bookstore I noticed that Penguin Classics had issued a book in their series entitled "The Call of Cthulu and Other Stories" by H.P. Lovecraft. Imagine Lovecraft finally being accepted as a canonical writer, alongside the likes of Dostoyevsky and other "real" and respected authors. Perhaps English profs won't be able to sneer so confidently at his work now...
Never Read Lovecraft
#1 posted by nitin
on 2003/08/05 21:08:16
so I'm interested in how 'the thing' is lovecraftian?
#2 posted by Vondur
on 2003/08/06 01:37:46
Yes, HPL is the source of inspiration for me. Some of the maps i made were influenced by his novels. I like his archaic style of writing, it helps to sink into the dark atmosphere.
The most impressive things for me are 'At The Mountains Of Madness' and 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth'.
Recently, i discovered that there are his followers like Clark Ashton Smith, so i started hunting for their books as well. Got CAS' first book called "The Black Diamonds" but haven't read it yet. Only thing i know he wrote in in the age of 15 :)
As for the movies based on HPL's books, i haven't seen a quality one. That Dagon movie is funny, but not scary. Probably because i imagined absolutely different/scarier things when reading the original.
But i'm interested in the upcoming game 'The Call of Cthulu'. Screenies are rather nice there.
There are times when i'm strongly into the HPL mood, and then the new qsp map can be spawned suddenly....
#3 posted by Tronyn on 2003/08/06 02:48:35
Yes there are a few Lovecraft "followers" that are actually very good (though most are poor). Another good source of Lovecraft-like work can be found among those he names as influences - particularly Algernon Blackwood, whose stories surpass Lovecraft's for atmosphere but lack the overall philosophy.
I have to agree that "Mountains" and "Shadow" (over innsmouth, not out of time) are definately Lovecraft's best long work. His other novellas - Shadow out of Time, Dream Quest, Case of Charles Dexter - aren't really as good. "The Dreams in the Witch House" is probably my favourite for how disturbing it is, and then there's always From Beyond, which seems to capture his general philosophy in a few short pages.
Nitin: Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness is a story about a research team in the Antarctic that finds the remains of a city impossibly old - hundreds of millions of years, so old that humans or even organic life as we know it couldn't have built them. The setting (Antarctic), concept (research team discovers something alien) and idea that there is an older race than men somewhere on earth bears much resemblance to The Thing. Not only that, but the monster - The Thing itself - bears much resemblance to Lovecraft's description of monsters who morph and change form as they move - Shoggoths for example, are described in the story as having things like temporary eyes, being shape-shifting and etc. Though the Thing's abilites are explained through DNA sampling and imitation (much like the T-1000 in Terminator 2), the horrible crosses between man, beast, alien with morphing qualities are very similar to some of the monsters Lovecraft describes.
However, The Thing is, I believe, based on a story written in the 1950s entitled "Who Goes There" by some author whom I forget. Interestingly enough, apparently the guy who directed Blade 2 (decent action movie, decent budget) has got a film version of AtMoM coming up at some point in the future.
Why Do I Need A Title For A Post?
#4 posted by Vermeulen on 2003/08/06 06:42:33
I was hoping you would mention From Beyond.
But saying music or games is based off of lovecraft is just ridiculus.
The lovecraft game in the works will just basicly be another FPS, walk around and shoot things, with a basic storyline envolving some lovecraft creature such as Lor or Azathoth. That is not really the lovecraft philosophy.
And i have no idea how lovecraft inspired music works... I guess it just tells a basic lovecraft type story?
I hope your kidding about blade2 being a decent action movie...
Also, if you want the highest ratio of lovecraft readers, I would suggest go to 2d Art forums.
Good logo to use for this topic btw.
#5 posted by nitin
on 2003/08/06 08:25:03
I know it's off topic but anyway.
I like it as an action flick. It's not pretentious like many other films ( in the genre in fact I dont think it gives a toss about story at all), the fight scenes are cool and there's some genuine gothicy atmosphere throughout the movie. Plus there's a decent amount of different fight scenes too, which is good (hello wachowski brothers!).
#6 posted by Vermeulen on 2003/08/06 09:15:04
I don't really want to turn this into a discussion about blade2...but...
First of all the fight scenes were not better than the first, and either was the style or the story, they all were a part of the sequal equation.
Basicly what they did, was just twist the story line again, make the main character(s) team up with the enemy, and fight a new villian (you might say this is just descriping blade2, but this is the same for: Xmen2, Fast and Furious 2, Men in Black 2, etc)
#7 posted by R.P.G.
on 2003/08/06 09:28:02
However, The Thing is, I believe, based on a story written in the 1950s entitled "Who Goes There" by some author whom I forget.
Shamelessly ripped from IMDb: "This was based on the classic short story "Who Goes There?" by Don A. Stuart. The credits on this film list the author by his real name, the acclaimed science fiction editor/writer John W. Campbell, Jr."
Also, "Who Goes There?" was first made into a movie in 1951 in the movie The Thing From Another World.
And with regards to works based off Lovecraft stories, I should say that the game Blood (and subsequently Blood 2, as well) has many Lovecraftian references. Some of the locals are pretty obvious (Miskatonic Station, Pickman's Used Books, etc.), and the game takes place sometime around the turn of the twentieth century, right when other Lovecraft stories do. Also, the idea of a controlling and evil god (Tchernobog) resonates with Lovecraft.
And I doubt many of you have taken notice of any of the derivative Blair Witch works, but the back story involves (once again) an evil and controlling god named Heciotomix, and there are several different planes of existence that the characters enter to fulfill various quests. This is the part where I plug the Blair Witch Volume 1 game as a fun and interesting action/adventure/horror game that you all should buy or download.
#8 posted by [Vigil]
on 2003/08/06 11:05:19
I don't really want to turn this into a discussion about blade2
Too late! But let's not get carried away.
You people should try The Call of Cthulhu RPG, too, by none other than Sandy Petersen.
#9 posted by R.P.G.
on 2003/08/06 12:26:36
You people should try The Call of Cthulhu RPG, too, by none other than Sandy Petersen.
...Who created possibly the worst levels ever released with a commercial game.
#10 posted by starbuck
on 2003/08/06 13:03:25
thats something for his cv, though
#11 posted by Tronyn on 2003/08/06 17:14:54
If you've read any previews of The Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth, you'd know that they're incorporating a lot more than "run around and shoot things gameplay." One preview states that entering the game, you have already lost, simply be being in a world where the Old Ones exist. There are other things like the sanity-meter, something that measures the player's sanity, and gameplay is affected accordingly. Also, the player will apparently spend a good deal of time doing research and talking to NPCs, as opposed to simply blowing away monsters. The Lovecraft philosophy - that humanity is entirely irrelevant, and not only that, but also screwed over completely - should be present in the game.
And Blade2 was a good action film.
#12 posted by Scragbait on 2003/08/06 17:43:39
I've been interested in the new game for awhile. I hope it has good atmosphere and isn't frustratingly difficult (which spoils immersion.)
How is cthulhu pronounced? Sch-thul-who?
You must be logged in to post in this thread.
Website copyright © 2002-2023 John Fitzgibbons. All posts are copyright their respective authors.