Archive for HP Lovecraft

Pg. 17, #7

Posted in Comics, FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2020 by dcairns


The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium. No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved.


‘It’s in the cellar under the dining-room,’ he went on, so overcome by his worries now that he forgot to be pompous. ‘It’s mine — mine. I discovered it when I was a child, all by myself. The cellar stairway is so steep that my aunt and uncle forbade my using it, but I’d heard someone say there was a world down there. I found out later they meant an old-fashioned globe of the world, but at the time I thought they were referring to the world itself. One day when no one was there I started down in secret, but I stumbled and fell. When I opened my eyes, I discovered the Aleph.’


We see, from the start, the very strong inclination of science to deny, as much as it can, external relations of this earth.



More and more madly poured the shrieking, moaning night wind into the gulf of the inner earth. I dropped prone again and clutched vainly at the floor for fear of being swept bodily through the open gate into the phosphorescent abyss. Such fury I had not expected, and as I grew aware of an actual slipping of my form toward the abyss I was beset by a thousand new terrors of apprehension and imagination.


“I have seen Niagara thunder over her gorge in the noblest frenzy ever beheld by man,” rhapsodized Frederick Starr in a piece for the Chicago Tribune in 1909, recovered for us now by Stanley Kauffmann and Bruce Henstell in their fine anthology, American Film Criticism: “I have watched an English railroad train draw into a station, take on its passengers, and then chug away with its stubby little engine through the Yorkshire Dells [sic], past old Norman Abbeys [sic] silhouetted against the skyline, while a cluster of century-aged cottages loomed up in the valley below . . . . I have looked upon weird dances and outlandish frolics in every quarter of the globe, and I didn’t have to leave Chicago for a moment.”


Seven passages from seven page seventeens from seven different books. I belatedly recalled an entire forgotten bookcase, and rushed to avail myself of it. Of course, apart from stimulating your brains to assemble strange narratives with sparking connections, and get you wondering about what comes next, these offerings can also serve as inspiration for your purchases — if you respond favourably to a prose style, you can seek out the excerpted volume and roll around in it. See below for details.

Flaming Carrot Comics #1, by Bob Burden; The Picture of Dorian Gray, preface, by Oscar Wilde; The Aleph And Other Stories 1933-1969, title story, by Jorge Luis Borges; The Book of the Damned, by Charles Fort; Tales Designed to Thrizzle #3, by Michael Kupperman (looks like a front cover but is a panel from page 17): The Whisperer in Darkness, by HP Lovecraft, from the story Dagon; The Silent Clowns, by Walter Kerr.

Things I read off the screen in City of the Living Dead

Posted in FILM, literature, Mythology with tags , , , , , , on February 4, 2014 by dcairns


If you’re in America and you want to make a convenient purchase, why not visit a Package Shop? You can buy anything you like there, as long as it comes in a package.

The film is Lucio Fulci’s CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, which includes a few scenes in new York but is mainly set in the small town of Dunwich, which we eventually learn was built on the remains of Salem and is subject to a zombie plague as predicted in the book of Enoch. The whole film is similarly nonsensical. Dunwich, outside of HP Lovecraft, was a real burrough borough  in England, but by the time of the Restoration it had mostly fallen into the sea (which didn’t stop it from returning two members of parliament). Whereas Salem is still intact and therefore does not have “remains” to build on.


For a while, handsomely shot and with Fulci’s typically restless camerawork, this was looking pretty fine, with a bizarre plot that keeps shifting gear and throwing in rogue elements. Once it settles down, it’s unfortunately a simple zombie attack flick — the illusion of a weirdly convoluted narrative was created by the miracle of sloppy storytelling.


Wait, an intermission? In a 98 minute films? These Italian horror fans are such lightweights.

Lots of gore, of course — as in a Peter Jackson film, all the characters “come part easy” — lots of shots of people being grabbed by the scalp until their brains come out. Yuck, and also huh?

Catriona MacColl is very attractive, Christopher George really, really isn’t, and Fulci himself turns up playing a doctor, as was his wont (and as was his real-life training, it seems. I’m not sure I’d want Dr. Fulci as my GP). And there’s future gialli director Michele Soavi* as the village idiot/paedophile/all-purpose pervert, who has a self-inflating blow-up which I at first took to be a supernatural manifestation. Did the filmmakers really think blow-up dolls inflate themselves, like dinghies? What a waste of heavy breathing that would be.


Moriarity (sic) and Sons Funeral Home.

*Not true. See comments below.