Often cited as the father of Modern Horror, Howard Phillips Lovecraft was a writer for ahead of his times when it came to his concepts within the horror genre. He created a whole mythos and pantheon of deities who are far more terrifying than anything that has come since because he bases his horror on a very common human fear. The fear of being insignificant.
I have been a fan of his works for over 20 years and I own more than one copy of his complete fiction. His writing style is enigmatic, poetic, and just detailed enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.
To that end his work has been used and has inspired some of the most enduring figures in horror since the 30’s. The creature from the black Lagoon is eerily reminiscent of the deep ones from the Innsmouth Horror, the Necronomicon Ex Mortis in The Evil Dead franchise IS a Lovecraft creation, and the Xenomorph in Alien, designed by H.R. Giger in his collection Necronom IV which is a collection of surreal horror inspired by this author.
The most enduring and popular aspect of his writings though are his cosmic gods. This bestiary is made up of several tiers including the outer gods, the great old ones (aka the elder gods) and several independent races. (I’ll include a handy dandy image below).
These gods, according to the mythos, came to earth when the planet was still young and helped to guide and influence the new species of homo sapiens on their way in evolution, but over time they grew tired of their battles and the world and either returned to their cosmic homes or retreated to the bottoms of the oceans or deep under the surface of the planet. But their followers never forgot them. They provide tributes and sacrifices to keep their gods happily slumbering, for the most part. For when they wake up they would drive man insane and bring about the end of times.
Cabin in the woods actually borrowed heavily from this idea with their whole ritual sacrifices to appease hidden old gods who were slumbering, which goes to show that nearly 100 years later Lovecraft is a true master who continues to hold sway over the horror genre as a whole…
To be continued