The Call of Cthulhu - Illustrated by Baranger
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Lovecraft’s creativity stretches well beyond his humble grave and permeates our culture. Regardless of any individual’s specific taste in the genre – and whether they like or dislike his ingenious tales of cosmic despair – none can deny Lovecraft’s predominant influence over horror as we know it today.

Lovecraft, like Poe before him, paved a road of terror for other writers to soon follow thereafter.

The Road of Dark Delights

That path is a dangerous one, make no mistake about it. It’s an unbeaten lane that leads writers straight into the dark of the woods where men distort their natural shapes into grotesque abominations. It is a gloom where fathers abandon their own children to the mercy of cannibal hags, and where the shadows themselves walk in the malice of Satan’s own will. Every house we encounter along this path is haunted – or worse – possessed by hideous strengths.

image courtesy of artist Michael Whelan

Be wary who you encounter along this road. The gaunt widow who passes you by on her bike will later be heard cackling from the sky aloft her broom. The trees creak and moan with ghostly woe, and once Night falls, if you see a light glowing from the grove, beware! The goat-headed beast will surely be there dancing among a naked orgy of his accursed children.

The Path of Horror is a wicked (and incredible) one! It draws in writers, then locks in readers. This road is littered with howling skulls beneath a chill fog, but fret not – you will not be alone for long.

A Man in Black who walks between the stalks may be your guide into a waking plague. Perhaps a horseman in search for his head will be seen in the gossamer distance. Or maybe a carriage will carry you as close to Castle Dracula as it dares to go.

Yes, the nightmare visions of those who forged a way through the realm of fear are numerous, and we connect with them so well. Uncertainty, anxiety, and dread are all part of our lives, unfortunately, and none are exempt from turmoil.

Writers are simply able to take our uncertainties and give them a voice. One that allows the reader to vent their own anxieties through the safety of the written word, and to a minor degree, experience the haunted world of doom, death, and despair around them.

Once finished, the reader can close the book and get on with living life on this beautiful planet. It does no one any good dwelling on the “what ifs” in life, and the horror writer simply gives a much-needed voice to the unknown fears that are out there – sealing them away cover to cover.

It’s a voice that we all can face and overcome.

Continue to the next page for more of Lovecraft’s influence on horror.