Seriously, SCREAMFACTORY is releasing news of title after awesome title they’ll be releasing on blu-ray every Friday throughout October, and recently they made the announcement that they will be releasing Stuart Gordon’s FROM BEYOND, based loosely upon the H.P. Lovecraft story,as a Collector’s Edition Bluray & DVD combo next year! There will be new extras along with the older ones which were on the prior 2007 DVD release. Bitchin’!
FROM BEYOND centers around a pair of scientists attempting to stimulate the pineal gland with a device called The Resonator. An unforeseen result of their experiments is the ability to perceive creatures from another dimension that proceed to drag the head scientist into their world, returning him as a grotesque shape-changing monster that preys upon the others at the laboratory.
Yesterday, August 20th, was the birthday of the greatest American writer of the 20th Century. I am, of course, talking about Howard Phillips Lovecraft, born August 20th, 1890. I feel somewhat ashamed that I missed getting a post up about it on the day, but I couldn’t let it go without writing some form of tribute to the man who, without his limitless imagination of cosmic horror, the horror world would’ve never been as we know it today. He was contemporaries with Robert Bloch (PSYCHO), Robert E. Howard (CONAN THE BARBARIAN), Fritz Leiber, amongst others, and went on to influence every great horror writer we revere today. Stephen King called Lovecraft “the Twentieth Century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale,” and Neil Gaiman has called him “Rock and Roll.” That last quote could be taken quite literally as Lovecraft has been referenced in bands such as Black Sabbath, Metallica, amongst others.
This being a horror film site, we can’t possibly forget to talk about his influence on the horror film genre. Stuart Gordon has made a career out of (somewhat loosely) adapting Lovecraft’s work for the silver screen. Lucio Fulci used Lovecraftian names and themes. In CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD (aka THE GATES OF HELL), the witch haunted town the entire film takes place in is Dunwich. And let’s not forget such films as John Carpenter’s THE THING, which was in fact based on the novella Who Goes There by John W. Campbell Jr. and was published in 1938 and shared many themes with At The Mountains Of Madness, published in 1936. It’s quite obvious that Carpenter’s THE THING shares many Lovecraftian themes, even if by proxy. And then there’s THE EVIL DEAD franchise. In the first film, the evil book isn’t referred to specifically as The Necronomicon, but in EVIL DEAD 2 and ARMY OF DARKNESS, that is precisely what it is referred to, the Necronomicon of course being a creation of the Mad Arab Alhazred, both creations of H.P. Lovecraft.
I could go on and on about Lovecraft’s influence on film, but perhaps, recently, his influence on pop culture has hit the hardest. Do a simple search for Lovecraft on Google and you’ll find a countless number of websites and shops selling Lovecraft…well…everything. T-shirts, Necklaces, Books (the “actual” Necronomicon), Hats, you name it, you can find it. And perhaps his greatest creation, the CTHULHU mythos has hit pop culture harder than anything else he’s created. It’s Lovecraft mania out there, not only on the web, but the world itself. Perhaps the tragedy of Lovecraft is that he died penniless and had thought himself a failure as a writer, something that always makes me feel a little sad when I think about it. If only he could see what an influence he’s had on the world today, perhaps we could’ve even cracked a smile on that stern face of his.
Happy belated birthday, Mr. Lovecraft. You’ve changed the world, you’ve changed the genre, and you will never be forgotten. And even though you were a teetotaler, here’s a pint to you.
To know me is to know that my favourite writer of all time is H.P. Lovecraft. I’ve read and re-read everything he’s written (almost, the selected letters have still eluded my grasp). Well, it would seem that IMAGE COMICS have a new series going entitled THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF H.P. LOVECRAFT. Here’s the synopsis:
When an ancient curse transforms young H.P. Lovecraft’s darkest nightmares into reality, the timid writer becomes both an unwitting god of destruction and the only person who can battle the evil he’s unleashed into the world. One part biography, one part horror pulp, one part fugitive thriller and you have… one weird tale indeed.
Has the potential to either suck or be something interesting. Check out one of the comic covers below: