Selected monstrous excerpts from the stories of H.P Lovecraft
I’ve long been an avid reader of the short stories of H.P. Lovecraft. An American author from the early 20th century, Lovecraft is the architect of the concept of … well, hold on. Stephen King references Lovecraft in his book “On Writing,” subtitled a memoir of the craft (“a memoir of the Lovecraft?” Nah). Tellingly, he quotes Lovecraft as an example of an author who has too much vocabulary.
“H.P. Lovecraft has yet to be surpassed as the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.”Stephen King, as quoted from the cover of my edition of The Best of H.P. Lovecraft, 1982.
I daresay I’m not out of line stating that King, and modern Hollywood, trace much from the short stories of old H.P. As far as I can tell, the idea of unimaginable horror from the birth of the Universe, taking the form of ultra-dimensional monsters, comes from the writing of Lovecraft. Stephen King’s “It,” Hollywood’s “Pacific Rim” Kaiju, the Cloverfield monster, possibly even Godzilla, among many others, were birthed through the prose of Lovecraft.
Lovecraft started with his unholy interstellar demon “Cthulhu,” and never turned back. For fun, I decided to reread all his stories from his so-called “Cthulhu mythos” to quote the unimaginable, and verbose, description of each story’s beast. Lovingly and appreciatively.
[No spoilers on any story’s plot follows. However, I will be quoting the descriptions of monsters that may serve as a preemptive reveal; be warned.]
The Call of Cthulhu
The Thing can not be described — there is no language for such abysms of shrieking and immemorial lunacy, such eldritch contradictions of all matter, force, and cosmic order… The Thing of the idols, the green, sticky spawn of the stars, had awaked to claim his own.
The Dunwich Horror
As before, the sides of the road showed a bruising indicative of the blasphemously stupendous bulk of the horror.
At The Mountains of Madness
Great God! What madness made even those blasphemous Old Ones willing to use and to carve such things?
The Shadow over Innsmouth
Nothing that I could have imagined … would be in any way comparable to the demonic, blasphemous reality that I saw.
The Dreams in the Witch-House
How could he be sure he would not land on that green-litten hillside of a far planet, on the tessellated terrace above the city of tentacled monsters somewhere beyond the galaxy or in the spiral black vortices of that ultimate void of Chaos where reigns the mindless demon-sultan Azathoth?
The Haunter of the Dark
“I see it — coming here — hell-wind–titan blur — black wings — Yog-Sothoth save me — the three-lobed burning eye….”
The Whisperer in Darkness
I learned whence Cthulhu first came…. It was shocking to have the foulest nightmares of secret myth cleared up in concrete terms whose stark, morbid hatefulness exceeded the boldest hints of ancient and mediaeval mystics.
The Thing on the Doorstep
… [T]he abomination of abominations … The shape rose up from the altar, and there were five hundred that howled — The Hooded Thing bleating “Kamog! Kamog!” … and then I was there where she had gone with my body — in the place of utter blasphemy, the unholy pit where the black realm begins and the watcher guards the gate….
There’s no use in my trying to tell you what they were like, because the awful, the blasphemous horror, and the unbelievable loathsomeness and moral foetor came from simple touches quite beyond the power of words to classify.
The Colour out of Space
Indubitably there was a sort of heavy dragging, and a most detestably sticky noise as of some fiendish and unclean species of suction.
The Shadow out of Time
The real horror began in May, 1915, When I first saw the living things. … These steadily grew more solid and distinct, till at last I could trace their monstrous outlines with uncomfortable ease. They seemed to be enormous, iridescent cones, about ten feet high and ten feet wide at the base, and made up of ridgy, scaly, semi-elastic matter.
Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.