Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown

Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown

2008, Biography  -   23 Comments
Ratings: 8.00/10 from 79 users.

Howard Phillip Lovecraft knew madness from an early age. As a young boy, he saw his father shipped off to a mental institution, and his own existence was plagued by frequent bouts of childhood illness and crippling anxiety which followed him into adulthood. The one saving grace in his life was his attraction to the craft of storytelling, a gift that would fail to reap many financial rewards for him in his lifetime, but would effectively shape the world of horror writing forever more after his death.

Today, H.P. Lovecraft, as he is most commonly known, stands as one of the true giants in all of literature, and his work has inspired generations of aspiring authors, filmmakers and other creative talents who embrace the darkest corners of existence. The revealing documentary Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown pays loving tribute to the continuing legacy of this great writer with the assistance of many key artists who remain inspired by him to this day.

Lovecraft's distinctive work creates "a very complex inbreeding of mythologies," according to filmmaker and interview subject Guillermo del Toro. "What the pitch would be is that things much older than mankind, much older than Earth, look upon us with indifference and cruelty." Other distinguished panelists, including filmmakers John Carpenter and Stuart Gordon, and authors Peter Straub and Neil Gaiman, also offer valuable contributions in portraying Lovecraft as both a man and an artist.

Profoundly gifted, yet deeply insecure of his creative abilities, Lovecraft carved a unique niche among writers of the day. His writing is characterized by an almost ethereal articulation of ambience and mood, and an entirely new mythos of his own creation. Hiding in plain sight beneath his otherworldly settings, mythical beasts and monsters, and characters who cannot escape from the darkness of their pasts, lies a vivid portrait of the man himself.

Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown plumbs these depths and much more. In the end, however, the lasting appeal of Lovecraft may be whittled down to one essential factor. "It's really creepy stuff," filmmaker John Carpenter confesses. "It really gets under your skin."

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Al Neu
4 years ago

"Great Tales of Terror And The Supernatural", Edited by Herbert Wise and Phyllis Fraser. 1947. Now here is a delicious volume, old, rare, and hard to find. It contains twa stories by HPL, Rats in the Walls, and Dunwich Horror. It also contains those classics by Machen and MR James and amny, many others. Many of those authors were actually alive when it was first published in 1947. I got my copy and treasure it immensely. Very, very English volume. I was at an elite prep school in Oxford, UK. The master used to read out stories from this book in the dorm. I was never the same again.

Steven harding
6 years ago

Well before his time

7 years ago

So he was behind his time, patriarchal, the product of insanity and anally retentive! Do not think he was a great writer, but he doesn't deserve this trite piece of rubbish as a sort of biography. But having said that, he was not much of a human being either, whatever about modern sensibilities.

7 years ago

fascinating story. Had never heard of the guy....if you dislike lots of interviews with folks talking about this man, Lovecraft, it might not be for you, but if you don't mind that, watch it! – ...preferably alone I'd say...

Keith L.
8 years ago

I have not watched this yet. I just had to put my 2 cents in. My favorites are "The Shadow over Innsmouth" and "The Colour Out of Space". The first being tangible; the second being less so in a graspable antagonist. The reading of Lovecraft may take a slight adjustment in taste, but the payoff is worth it. Great stuff.

8 years ago

For those who haven't already dared the expedition, I recommend accompanying him in his tale 'At the Mountains of Madness'. I'll grant you the style often comes off a little cumbersome for the modern reader, but if you can allow yourself the brief time it takes to get used to that, and if you also have a vivid imagination of your own to boot, I promise you that it's highly likely you'll find yourself terrifyingly enchanted with the strange and fertile images thrown forth out of seemingly nowhere by one of the best writers of the genre. Of all his stories I've read, I consider this one very probably the best. However, having all said that, I can also recognize that the man is not to everyone's taste.

Maxine Godfrey
8 years ago

the guy was an ichthyophobe. i'd rather eat one of his crustaceous critters with a side of drawn butter than read one of his not-so-scary stories. but that's me.

8 years ago

I just had a discussion with my husband about Lovecraft and the mental instability that seemed to run through his family. We both think that, in a way, he did not have a "normal" brain as such. But fortunately, his differences from the average person resulted in these wonderful tales. He created worlds of pure fantasy into which he could escape. There is also a theme of madness that runs through much of his work. IMO this is from not only the events he witnessed (and was affected by) in his family but it must have touched him too, but with a gentler hand.

And lucky for us. His different and extremely creative brain resulted in wonderful tales which also give us an avenue of escape from reality. If he had only lived longer, what treasures might we have been blessed with!

8 years ago

my respect goes out to CTHULHU,a humble gent whom knows how to party '....just ignore the weird looking fellow 'critter-zens' & you'll find 'he(ll)aven' !see ya's on the other side!
-the disturbing one-
ps.:recommend a peak....even though i haven't seen this one yet,darn internet is crap down here in the bottom-less pit!