Tag Archives: lovecraft

3. In the Mouth of Madness: A Study of Reality

The realm of literature is deep. It can transport us to new worlds, it can change our perception of reality, change our view of the world, and create wonders.

This is the background in John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness.

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This 1994  project is Carpenter’s tribute to H.P. Lovecraft, starring Sam Niell, Jürgen Prochnow and Julie Carmen, is my favorite among Carpenter’s filmography, as well as one of my personal favorites in my horror movie collection in general. Not without its flaws, it’s nevertheless an entertaining story, with interesting concepts.

The story is about John Trent, an insurance investigator signed investigate what happened to the popular horror writer Sutter Cane, the most popular writer in the world whose macabre novels negatively affects sensitive readers. They arrive in the town of Hobb’s End, a place taken straight from one of Cane’s books. Soon the distinction between reality and fiction is about to blur…

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One scene which sums up the tone of the movie and shows the pretext in the story, is where Trent sits in a confessional at a church, where Sutter Cane speaks to him:

”Do you know what the problem is with places like this? With religion in general? It’s never known how to convey the anatomy of horror. Religion seeks discipline through fear, yet it doesn’t understand the true nature of creation. No-one has ever believed it enough to make it real.”

Reality is what we believe it to be. What we are convincing ourselves. Reality is our perception of the consequences of our actions – the result of everyone’s actions. The quote above relates to the fact that we are able to shape the view of the world and make it a reality to many people.

The movie explores this in the world of literature. The author Sutter Cane affects readers around the world, transforming them into homicidal maniacs, as a result of the readers losing their concept of reality after reading through his books. If our perception of reality is shattered, the whole world is shattered with it. That’s the horror of In the Mouth of Madness. If you are the only sane man in a world full of insane people, you become the anomaly.

And the bottom line: reality can not be trusted. You don’t necessarily have control of your own actions.

I absolutely adore these kinds of mind-fucks. When you’re in the right mood, you’re beginning to distrust everything. Which, in many cases, is what a good horror movie should be about. Looking over your shoulder, being uncertain, imagining things you have know idea if they are true.

And pray to God you actually will have a good night’s rest.

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An Abominable Christmas To All of You!

This is not a day for analyses or reviews.

Instead, I want to share the Christmas spirit with all of you today. Nothing more, nothing less.

And in my mind comes the poem “Festival”, not to be mistaken by the short story The Festival by the same author.

So, along with the wish that everyone is going to have a fantastic Christmas, I am giving the word to Howard Phillips Lovecraft:

 There is snow on the ground,
            And the valleys are cold,
      And a midnight profound
            Blackly squats o’er the wold;
But a light on the hilltops half-seen hints of feastings unhallow’d and old.

      There is death in the clouds,
            There is fear in the night,
      For the dead in their shrouds
            Hail the sun’s turning flight,
And chant wild in the woods as they dance round a Yule-altar fungous and white.

      To no gale of earth’s kind
            Sways the forest of oak,
      Where the sick boughs entwin’d
            By mad mistletoes choke,
For these pow’rs are the pow’rs of the dark, from the graves of the lost Druid-folk.

      And mayst thou to such deeds
            Be an abbot and priest,
      Singing cannibal greeds
            At each devil-wrought feast,
And to all the incredulous world shewing dimly the sign of the beast.

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My Amateurish Literary Career

To be honest… I didn’t read that many books when I was a child. Being a literary student, that may be an ironic statement.

There were some books I found enjoyable. Ture Sventon, for example, is a Swedish book series by Åke Holmberg, where the plot revolves around a lisping private detective in the heart of Stockholm, battling against his arch nemesis Ville Vessla (“Ville the Weasel”). Astrid Lindgren (you American readers perhaps recognizes one of her most famous works Pippi Longstocking) is one of the most profilic writers in the Swedish literary world, as well as one of the most beloved media personalities in our country. These, and a couple of others, I enjoyed… but that was all. My main focus was cartoons.

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I didn’t discover horror fiction until I was in my teens. When I was 13, I read Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, and from that day I was obsessed. It wasn’t long after that I discovered H.P. Lovecraft. (Yes, I know, the obvious cliche about those two legendary writers being the first ones you were introduced to. I wish I could be more original.)

But the one who pushed me over the edge, so to speak – and the one who sparked my interest in writing stories of my own – was Edgar Allan Poe. This master of the macabre and grotesque awoke something in me that I hadn’t considered in all my life:

I wanted to create stories.

It was something in his beautifully orchestrated language, his poetic, horric images, and the detailed portraits of insane minds that fascinated me more than both King and Lovecraft. I have always loved stories about monster or alien creatures, but Poe was nothing like that. He focused on the human psyche, insanity, horrific sights and experiences that may be real, but just as much psychotic imaginations or allegorical representations.

From that moment on… I started my amateurish literary career.

Do I have anything published to show for it?

No.

But someday I will.

That’s one of the main reasons for my search.

Anyone who has the same quest? Or has already reached that state?

Introduction

“Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places.”

Despite these entertaining words by the legendary H.P. Lovecraft, the quest need not be far away. Horror can be found anywhere. From the pages of a leatherbound collection of the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe, to the fear of the dark in your own basement. Sometimes the fear can be a thrilling experience. Sometimes the fear is too real.

Either way, it’s something that has always fascinated me. My love for the horror genre began in an early age. For me, it has always been a source of entertainment, but also a world of dark poetry and fascinating art.

And now I’m welcoming you to join me in my quest.

In this blog I will search for the greatest horror fiction. I will search for interesting facts in the horror genre. I will search for inspiration for my own creative writing. I will search the dark corners in my own soul.

So, welcome, my friends! Feel free to join me in the quest, with comments, suggestions, and feedback!

Let the darkness bless you,

/The Horror Seeker

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