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Podcast 149: Happy Birthday H.P. Lovecraft

Celebrating Cthulhu’s creator and his continued influence on pop culture

Photo caption: The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society adapted their namesake's story "The Cal...

Photo credit: HPLHS

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society adapted their namesake's story "The Call of Cthulhu" as a silent film in 2005.

Episode 149: Happy Birthday H.P. Lovecraft

Aug. 20 will mark the 128th anniversary of H.P. Lovecraft’s birth. But how did this man who was born in Providence, Rhode Island come to create a body of horror fiction that continues to influence the public consciousness and other artists? Explore that question with the latest podcast and Mike Dalager who's working on a passion project based on Lovecraft's "Dreams in the Witch House."

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Transcript

Suggested viewing

"Alien" (1979)

John Carpenter's "The Thing" (1982)

"Re-Animator" (1985)

"The Call of Cthulhu" (Short - 2005)

"AM 1200" (Short - 2008)

"Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown" (feature length documentary - 2008)

The 128th anniversary of H.P. Lovecraft’s birth falls on Aug. 20. But how did this man, who was born in Providence, Rhode Island come to create a body of horror fiction that continues to influence the public consciousness and other artists? Explore that question with the latest podcast.

I am dedicating the podcast to Lovecraft by interviewing Mike Dalager, a man with a passion project to create a rock opera from Lovecraft’s "Dreams in the Witch House."

Dalager worked for the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society from 2010 to 2014 and appeared in their silent film adaptation of "The Call of Cthulhu." That's where his obsession with the author began.

Photo caption: Mike Dalager (left) has been working on a Lovecraft passion project for years...

Photo credit: Mike Dalager

Mike Dalager (left) has been working on a Lovecraft passion project for years. It is a rock opera based on the author's "Dreams in the Witch House."

Howard Phillips Lovecraft was virtually unknown during his lifetime and died at the age of 46 in poverty after having only published his work in pulp magazines. But over the years his tales of horror, fueled by the fear of the unknown, have risen in popularity and captured our collective unconscious.

Among his best-known works are "The Rats in the Walls," "The Call of Cthulhu," "At the Mountains of Madness," "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," and "The Shadow Out of Time." All of which fed into the Cthulhu Mythos. The tentacled Cthulhu is one of the Great Old Ones, dead alien deities Lovecraft imagined as being buried deep inside the Earth.

Lovecraft's work is complicated by the fact that in real life he expressed racist, misogynistic and homophobic ideas.

Alan Moore articulately addressed this in his introduction to "The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft" edited by Leslie S. Klinger.

""It is possible to perceive Howard Lovecraft as an almost unbearably sensitive barometer of American dread," Moore wrote. "Far from outlandish eccentricities, the fears that generated Lovecraft's stories and opinions were precisely those of the white, middle-class, heterosexual, Protestant-descended males who were most threatened by the shifting power relationships and values of the modern world."

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