Saturday, 21 October 2017

The Necronomicon

The Necronomicon is a name that sends chills up the spine. Penned in the 8th Century by the Mad Arab Abd-al-Hazred, it contains the chilling secrets of the Old Ones and their blasphemous powers. Despite numerous attempts to suppress it and the knowledge it contains, it continues to crop up across history in the hands of those who would use it for ill.

A very troublesome book.

Of course, I am referring to the commemorative edition of the Necronomicon released in 2008 with a grand selection of Lovecraft's classics. I have spent many an hour pouring over these terrifying tales by candlelight in the wee hours of the morning, and on more than one occasion scaring myself silly.

Even though these stories were written a while ago they still retain their terrifying feel.

It contains such Lovecraftian classics as "The Call of Cthulu", "A Shadow Over Innsmouth", "Dagon", "The Dunwich Horror", "At the Mountains of Madness" and "Herbert West Reanimator", and many, many more!

While this does sound like a sales pitch, it is more of an easier way for me to fit in my appreciation for the horror of Lovecraft into a simple single review rather than trying to review each one individually. There are so many excellent short stories by Lovecraft it would be impossible to pick just one for me to single out!

This book is near and dear to my heart for the greatness of the stories within. The creeping, subtle, and often barely glimpsed horror it describes is amazing. For instance, in Innsmouth you have all the creepy sea like horror that Lovecraft so delights in invoking, while working with the just beneath the surface horror that Lovecraft is so fond of creating.

His style and substance has in some cases not aged well. For instance depictions of "mongrel" races and unflattering caricatures of other ethnicities will most likely not sit well with modern readers. However, like the use of the "n-word" in older publications, we should not let our enjoyment of this horror be tempered by the prejudices of the day. I daresay that it would be impossible to enjoy classic literature if we were unable to overlook its flaws. 

However, I think any horror buff can say that the feelings of terror and disgust Lovecraft's evokes are timeless. I still get chills when reading "The Rats in the Walls" simply for its subject manner. Who doesn't find the idea of hordes of evil rodents slightly disturbing? The fishy and often times totally abnormality and alien nature of Lovecraft's monsters drives home his view of an uncaring universe which does not have the well being of our insignificant little blue planet at heart. In fact the simple vast power and uncaring nature of the Old Ones who flit through the passages of Lovecraft's writings may be their greatest terrifying trait!

Even in the stories that don't connect to his wider (if disorganized) mythos can be unnerving. Herbert West and his necromancy is terrifying all its own, and the variety of beasties and ghouls that haunt the pages of Lovecraft's stories should be celebrated, or feared as the case may be.

In this month of fun horror, let us praise one of the fathers of modern horror and all those he has influenced.

Thank you H. P. Lovecraft, and for those of you who haven't read his work, I highly recommend you do!

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