Monday, August 20, 2012

The Stars Were Right 122 Years Ago

So today marks the 122nd birthday of H.P. Lovecraft, an American pulp fiction author and father of cosmic horror. A lot of people are unfamiliar with his work and for good reason - it's incredibly macabre and a lot, if not all, of his stories portray the protagonists as helpless pawns struggling against forces beyond mortal understanding.

However, there's no denying Lovecraft's influence on modern pop culture. Off the top of my head, I've listed a few of the things that we wouldn't have or would have been drastically different if this author chose path less dark.

Without Lovecraft, there would be no Cthulhu Mythos.

Without the Mythos, the stories of August Derleth, Clarke Ashton Smith or Robert Howard, among others, would not be the same. While they were excellent storytellers, the shared universe they created gave their stories more meaning.

Without the Mythos, we wouldn't have Conan the Barbarian or Kull the Conqueror. Arnold Schwarzenegger would not have been given his big break and we wouldn't have the same Terminator or Predator franchise.

Without the Mythos, there would be no Necronomicon. There would be no Evil Dead trilogy (which made Sam Raimi the icon that he is today).

Without the Mythos, H.R. Giger would not have published Necronomicon and who knows how the xenomorphs in Ridley Scott's Alien would have turned out.

Without the Mythos, there would be no Herbert West. The Re-Animator series would not have existed.

Without the Mythos, we would not have Arkham.

Without Lovecraft, people such as Clive Barker, Stephen King, Alan Moore, Guillermo Del Toro, Moebius and John Carpenter would have had different influences.

Without Lovecraft, we would not have heard of the damned town of Innsmouth or the fantastical realm called the Dreamlands. R'lyeh would have remained forgotten under the waves and Miskatonic University would not exist.

Without Lovecraft, Mass Effect's iconic Reapers, Hellboy and Alaizabel Cray would have been very different from what we have today.

Obscure as he may be, chances are every one of us has stumbled upon something influenced by his work.

He has portrayed the unknown at its best - uncaring, maddening, unfilmable and incomprehensibly horrifying.

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