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Lovecraft's Influence


Dethstrok9

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I first discovered Lovecraft in a card game called Cthulhu Fluxx, then I bought his collected fiction and Call of Cthulhu 7 edition (which is my favorite RPG system to date). Almost none of my friends have ever even heard of the guy, and I'm wondering, what else has he inspired? 

I know there's a movie called The Reanimator, and that authors like Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch, and even Stephen King were influenced by the grandfather of cosmic horror, but what else? What is the collective influence of Howard Philips Lovecraft?

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-Voice of the Legion

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Well, I first learned about Cthulhu from the video game Super Scribblenaughts of all places. It was a while later that I learned about who H.P. Lovecraft and his other works.  I have never read any of the books, but even just looking up and reading about the strange and alien monsters of the mythos left such a great impression on me at the time that they inspired me to try and make my own monsters like them in the books I am working on.

For something that goes back before Lovecraft's work and even inspired him, I recommend you check out William Hope Hodgson's book The Night Land. Despite its premise, It is a lot more positive than H.P.'s work from what I gather, which is more my style anyway.

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3 hours ago, Old Man Henerson said:

Well, I first learned about Cthulhu from the video game Super Scribblenaughts of all places. It was a while later that I learned about who H.P. Lovecraft and his other works.  I have never read any of the books, but even just looking up and reading about the strange and alien monsters of the mythos left such a great impression on me at the time that they inspired me to try and make my own monsters like them in the books I am working on.

For something that goes back before Lovecraft's work and even inspired him, I recommend you check out William Hope Hodgson's book The Night Land. Despite its premise, It is a lot more positive than H.P.'s work from what I gather, which is more my style anyway.

That sounds awesome, I love reading so I'll be sure to check it out. Have you yourself published anything? @Old Man Henerson

Edited by Dethstrok9
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I come here a little bit of an outsider....

The last time I read a book from Lovecraft might have been 20 years ago... Also I don't play Cthulhu (I play other D100 games) and I am not too much into horror either...

Anyway, just a thought I had when thinking your question over... I don't think Lovecraft books are the greatest.. But...
- he is an easy nice read, from what I remember. Not great, but good. There is lots of them too.
- his horror scifi genre as a whole lend itself well to third party and fans creation, because it's not just one odd monster... it's a conflict of civilizations... between human.... and whole species of otherworldy beings.... and human cultist who study them....
- it's also heavy on conspiracies... which is quite an endlessly popular theme

Mm.. that's as far as my thinking went... ;) 

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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Metallica - Call of Ktulu 🤘🏻

Written by James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Cliff Burton and original Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine (who left before the album was recorded), this instrumental was inspired by the story The Call Of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft. The author is a big influence on Metallica - his work also inspired their song "Thing That Should Not Be."

In the book, the story says that mentioning the name Cthulhu (Verbally or written) will bring him closer. That's why Metallica used the name "Ktulu" and not "Cthulhu" - for fear of the beast.

For more references in metal music: https://www.kerrang.com/features/thy-horror-cosmic-celebrating-metals-obsession-with-h-p-lovecraft/

And the graphic novel by Alan Moore: Providence.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Poe said:

Metallica - Call of Ktulu 🤘🏻

Written by James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Cliff Burton and original Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine (who left before the album was recorded), this instrumental was inspired by the story The Call Of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft. The author is a big influence on Metallica - his work also inspired their song "Thing That Should Not Be."

In the book, the story says that mentioning the name Cthulhu (Verbally or written) will bring him closer. That's why Metallica used the name "Ktulu" and not "Cthulhu" - for fear of the beast.

For more references in metal music: https://www.kerrang.com/features/thy-horror-cosmic-celebrating-metals-obsession-with-h-p-lovecraft/

And the graphic novel by Alan Moore: Providence.

 

 

One of my all time favorite bands, I recently learned how to play both "Call of Ktulu", "The Thing That Should Not be", and "Sanitarium (Welcome Home)" on rhythm guitar, it's awesome that they introduced people to Lovecraft.I actually heard those songs long before I even knew anything about HPL. Heck, my dad and I thought The Thing That Should Not Be was about the Loch Ness Monster ...

-Voice of the Legion

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Nearly the entire filmography of John Carpenter. Many (myself included) consider The Thing (1982) to be the the most well produced and executed Lovecraftian film.

I also wholeheartedly recommend the other two in Carpenter's Apocalypse trilogy: Prince of Darkness and In The Mouth of Madness.

Edited by klecser
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57 minutes ago, klecser said:

Nearly the entire filmography of John Carpenter. Many (myself included) consider The Thing (1982) to be the the most well produced and executed Lovecraftian film.

I also wholeheartedly recommend the other two in Carpenter's Apocalypse trilogy: Prince of Darkness and In The Mouth of Madness.

As well the film: the Mist.

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13 hours ago, Dethstrok9 said:

That sounds awesome, I love reading so I'll be sure to check it out. Have you yourself published anything? @Old Man Henerson

No, I have not published anything yet. I will probably publish my first book sometime in the next year or two from now.

12 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

- his horror scifi genre as a whole lend itself well to third party and fans creation, because it's not just one odd monster... it's a conflict of civilizations... between human.... and whole species of otherworldy beings.... and human cultist who study them....
- it's also heavy on conspiracies... which is quite an endlessly popular theme

Mm.. that's as far as my thinking went... ;) 

It was stuff like this that inspired the book I am working on. It is about superheroes in the near future fighting against cultists and the growing powers of darkness as their alien god awakens on the Earth. I would basicaly describe the setting as Overwatch vs Cthulhu.

The other thing that really inspired my book was the game Earthbound, which gets pretty lovecraftian by the end of the game. It is also a big inspiration in the campaign I am currently working on now.

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HPL's fingerprints are on a lot of horror cinema, I suspect. Even if just because of how gigantic his influence was on King—IIRC King says something like "all my good ideas basically came from Lovecraft/Lovecraft did them first" in his memoir, On Writing. A King sort of is the voice of American horror literature for the last forty-odd years.

The film Cabin in the Woods ends on a distinctly Lovecraftian note (I'll not say further, in case you want to go watch it—I don't have much taste for horror, but I quite like that movie).

Another early influence/co-conspirator worth noting is Clark Ashton Smith. Like Howard, he was part of HPL's correspondence circle. He mostly wrote short stories & poetry; although his taste for the cosmic came before he met HPL, the latter's influence and encouragement was substantial. I haven't read much HPL myself, but CAS and REH's works are quite good.

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Interesting question...I agree with Lloyd Dupont, Lovecraft's writing isn't the best, yet his influence is everywhere, inspiring Stephen King and many other better known and more successful horror writers (I probably read King's pastiche of Lovecraft, 'Jersalem's Lot', before I read any actual Lovecraft...I was introduced to Lovecraft in college perhaps just a year or two before I discovered the Call of Cthulhu game).  

For all his flaws as a writer (and a person, his racism and narrow-mindedness), his fiction has stuck with me because I am so taken with the core idea of his writing, cosmic horror, the 'mankind's inquisitiveness uncovers not the glory of the cosmos but the utter and alien hostility of it'. I suppose it's the neurotic inside me that finds it so fascinating...not appealing...but really interesting. 

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8 hours ago, JLBrown7289 said:

Interesting question...I agree with Lloyd Dupont, Lovecraft's writing isn't the best, yet his influence is everywhere, inspiring Stephen King and many other better known and more successful horror writers (I probably read King's pastiche of Lovecraft, 'Jersalem's Lot', before I read any actual Lovecraft...I was introduced to Lovecraft in college perhaps just a year or two before I discovered the Call of Cthulhu game).  

For all his flaws as a writer (and a person, his racism and narrow-mindedness), his fiction has stuck with me because I am so taken with the core idea of his writing, cosmic horror, the 'mankind's inquisitiveness uncovers not the glory of the cosmos but the utter and alien hostility of it'. I suppose it's the neurotic inside me that finds it so fascinating...not appealing...but really interesting. 

I agree that his racism is unacceptable (although I'm sure, were he alive today, he would see how his racism has destroyed his entire reputation...), however, I personally find his work some of the best. Unlike King (and countless others), he didn't really have much to draw on (except Poe of course) and practically created his own genre. However, I respect your opinion, and can see where you're coming from. Many of his tales seem unfinished or difficult to read, but his great works stand out like stars in the void. 

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-Voice of the Legion

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On 12/23/2019 at 3:00 PM, Dethstrok9 said:

I agree that his racism is unacceptable (although I'm sure, were he alive today, he would see how his racism has destroyed his entire reputation...)

I actually think his racism made a lot of his horror possible.  Lets forget Red Hook for a moment  (his most racist story).  Consider Emma Lazarus' poem at the base of the statue of Liberty:

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Now consider that the huddled masses are actually nesting Shoggoths.  Consider that the whole metaphor of Shoggoths is actually tied up with the unleashed slave peoples seeking revenge against their masters, and the intrinsically Communist ideas that evokes.  HPL was a man raised in the upper class of New England who was terrified of the threat of class warfare and looked on non-conformity and diversity not as a blessing but an existential threat to his way of life from inferior cultures.  You can see how these ideas pervade his work, and there is no question that his horror is a conservative narrative where alien monsters threaten the underpinnings of his world, and every change is implicitly horrible and inevitably for the worse.  Consider how the Dreamlands refer to a classical world, a retrospective golden age that is inaccessible save to visionaries and dreamers.  This notion of a golden age in the past is pretty much a cornerstone of Conservatism.

While I also find HPL's racism odious, I don't think shying away from it does anyone any good.  Instead I think understanding how it permeates his mindset and literature is quite enlightening, and also helps us remember that the world of the past was a very different place to the world of today.  If you don't understand these ideas in their proper historical context, you can't understand how the ideas sold and perpetuated themselves or the damage they did.

 

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Hit movies like Liam Neeson's Taken are no different to Red Hook, in that they identify a group and in the story turn them into a dangerous other, so I don't think what HP Lovecraft did is outrageous compared to other works of fiction, including modern works. Steven King's Pet Sematary centres on a native American burial site filled with bad magic, does this mean King is a racist who hates native Americans?

For what its worth HP Lovecraft probably was a racist, he was certainly a homophobe. But seriously, it was a different age folks - the fiction is fun to read, nobody in their right mind believes immigrants really are black magicians, even if you read it in a HP Lovecraft story.

 

 

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On 12/18/2019 at 12:10 PM, klecser said:

The Thing (1982) to be the the most well produced and executed Lovecraftian film

While Carpenter's The Thing may be in the spirit of Lovecraft, it's a remake of Howard Hawk's movie The Thing from Another World from 1951, which was based on the short story Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, published in 1938.

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"The Beast With A Million Eyes" (1955) has a different execution but similar premise to "The Color Out of Space."  A rural family is menaced by crazed animals and people after a "plane" buzzes their homestead and lands in the desert.

Then there was the "G.I. Joe" cartoon episode where Cobra was trying to release an entity from an ancient well, thinking the creature would assist their efforts at world domination.  You can imagine how that little scheme worked out.  😱

Armitage: "There are things Man was not meant to know."

Duke:  "And knowing is half the battle!"

Edited by seneschal
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On 1/1/2020 at 4:29 PM, seneschal said:

"The Beast With A Million Eyes" (1955) has a different execution but similar premise to "The Color Out of Space."  A rural family is menaced by crazed animals and people after a "plane" buzzes their homestead and lands in the desert.

Then there was the "G.I. Joe" cartoon episode where Cobra was trying to release an entity from an ancient well, thinking the creature would assist their efforts at world domination.  You can imagine how that little scheme worked out.  😱

Armitage: "There are things Man was not meant to know."

Duke:  "And knowing is half the battle!"

In the book I am writing, the cultists are very militaristic, much like Cobra. I think it comes from my days of playing Command & Conquer with Kane and the Brotherhood of Nod. Someone like Kane makes a good analog for my Nyarlathotep stand in.

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8 hours ago, Old Man Henerson said:

In the book I am writing, the cultists are very militaristic, much like Cobra. I think it comes from my days of playing Command & Conquer with Kane and the Brotherhood of Nod. Someone like Kane makes a good analog for my Nyarlathotep stand in.

My favorite kids show about terrorists descended from alien snakes who love shouting at each other to retreat, much like my second favorite kids show about terrorist "robot" aliens just trying to return home who also love shouting at each other to RETREAT! 

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-Voice of the Legion

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2 hours ago, Dethstrok9 said:

My favorite kids show about terrorists descended from alien snakes who love shouting at each other to retreat, much like my second favorite kids show about terrorist "robot" aliens just trying to return home who also love shouting at each other to RETREAT! 

So all those years Cobra Commander was just trying to phone home. BRILLIANT!🤣

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