Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Lovecraftian Thing a Day (2018) No.288: John Carpenter Live

This evening I had the pleasure of watching horror maestro John Carpenter perform live at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire; as afficianados of the man will be well aware, Carpenter not only directs but scores many of his own movies, and in the 80s innovated a trademark soundtrack style of brooding, minimalist electronica - the influence of which can be seen within the current trend of 80s cinematic revivalism (notably, Carpenter's work is a key inspiration with regard to both the visual aesthetic of and the theme music to the wildly popular Stranger Things). Carpenter's soundtracks have also significantly informed the modern electronica sub-genre of synthwave.

Whilst Carpenter's body of work spans the continuum of horror and sci-fi styles, his 'Apocalypse trilogy', including The Thing, The Prince of Darkness, and In the Mouth of Madness, constitutes a cornerstone of modern Lovecraftian cinema.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Lovecaftian Thing a Day (2018) No.287: Servants of the Star and the Snake

If there is one figure in the history of contemporary esotericism who has fundamentally shaped the contours of Lovecaftian occulture as it exists today, it must surely be Kenneth Grant. The Servants of the Star and the Snake, edited by Henrik Bogdan, is a newly-published collection essays by artists, occultists, academics - and those whose oeuvre straddles multiple of these fields - celebrating the corpus of both Kenneth and Steffi Grant; needless to say, Lovecaft’s presence is felt throughout, but his presence looms especially large in the excellent contributions of both Stefan Dzicklewicz and friend of the Ghooric Zone, Alistair Coombs. Overall, a superb and important collection whch will be of interest to Grant afficianados as well as scholars of contemporary occultism.

The Lovecraftian Thing a Day (2018) No.286: Cthulhu Hack Dry-Erase Character Sheet

Just a quick one for today, as I’m runnng late with today’s offering - the latest addition to my stash of Cthulhu Hack rpg stuff: a set of A5/postcard-sized dry-erase character sheets.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Lovecraftian Thing a Day (2018) No.285: The Conspiracy Against The Human Race

If you missed Ligotti’s The Conspiracy Against The Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror during its initial publication, you can now immerse yourself in his spectacularly bleak non-fiction disquisition on the futility of being in this re-issued paperback edition, published by Penguin.


Friday, October 12, 2018

The Lovecraftian Thing a Day (2018) No.284: Arkham Horror - The Card Game Player Board

Todays offering is a rather nice lasercut mdf player board designed for Arkham Horror: The Card Game. The board comes with a plain mdf finish, so I painted it a suitably-eldritch shade of green - now I just need to make use of he damned thing by getting a game of ths too the table...

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Lovecraftian Thing a Day (2018) No.283: Blood on Satan’s Claw

Over the past few years, Folk Horror has become a Big Thing, as evidenced by the publication of numerous texts theorising this newly discovered genre, the emergence of a hugely popular Folk Horror Revival Facebook group, and the appearance of numerous Folk Horror-themed blogs (including last year’s The Horsingdon Transmissions - that also intersected with the categories of Urban Wyrd, Speculative Horror, Lovecraftian cosmicism, and Ligottian nihilism). But I digress.

Recently, I decided to undertake a rewatch of some of the foundational ‘texts’ of Folk Horror, starting with the film by way of which the term was coined: Blood on Satan’s Claw. Whilst the film doesn’t betray any explicit Lovecaftian influences, it struck me as being very Machenesque in parts - to the extent that I can’t help wondering if Machen’s work had an influence on the film.

I, for one, couldn’t help draw comparisons between the character of Angel Blake to both The Great God Pan’s Helen Vaughn and the unnamed narrator of The White People; the fact that local children are also inducted into monstrous rituals which the adults of the village mistake as ‘games’ also resontates with tropes found both in The White People, as well as in some of Machen’s tales which invoke the Tylwyth Teg of Welsh legendry. Whilst the film’s plot seemingly deals with a category of Judeo-Christian demonic evil, the origin of that evil in a plough furrow (and in the form of a strange, inhuman skull) perhaps speaks to a different, more primal and earthly horror; Machen’s notion of Sin (with a capital ‘S’) - treated in The White People as a horrifying transgression of the natural order - also seems apposite here, especially so given that both Machen’s ‘Sin’ and the manifest evil in Blood on Satan’s Claw lead - a la The Novel of the White Powder - to irruptions of physical corruption upon the human body. But then perhaps I’m reading a little too much into this...

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Lovecraftian Thing a Day (2018) No.282: The Weird and the Eerie

The Weird and the Eerie was Mark Fisher’s final book - and a fitting eulogy to its author.

Mark and I both worked in two of the same institutions, and I knew him in passing - he also invited me to give a paper at the Lovecraft-themed Weird Theory symposium held at Goldsmiths back in (I think) 2007. I hope he didn’t regret that, as the paper I delivered was, frankly, fucking awful; even so, that event exposed me to an emergent body of academic philosophical theory in which Lovecraft was placed front and centre, and has led me to a far more mature and nuanced theoretical understanding of Lovecaft’s intersections with occultism and popular culture (a radically-revised version of my Weird Theory piece will, hopefully, be appearing in a volume on accelerationism and the occult next year).

In any case, The Weird and the Eerie is an outstanding set of bite-sized essays which pointedly analyse the categories of weird and eerie fiction, and trace the development of those categories in the work of classic authors of the genres such as Lovecaft and James, as well as in that of more contemporary artists such as Mark E. Smith and David Lynch.


Tuesday, October 09, 2018

The Lovecraftian Thing a Day (2018) No.281: The Immaculate Void

Brian Hodge’s The Immaculate Void dropped through my letterbox earlier today, and I’m already a third of the way through it. I’m not rntirely sure where this is going, but The Immaculate Void is revealing itself to be an outstanding piece of modern cosmic horror, which intertwines the very earthly horrors perpetrated by a serial child murderer with the inexplicable disappearance of one of Jupiter’s moons...

Definitely one to check out.