Sunday, November 01, 2015

Return of the Ghooric Zone

After nearly two years away from Whispers from the Ghooric Zone, I've decided once more to ressurect the blog - hopefull this time as an ongoing creative project. Whilst I'll be retaining a focus on all things Lovecraftian and Weird, I may expand the remit of the blog cover other (albeit probably still nominally Lovecraftian-related) topics. Over the past few months I've been building up quite an extensive set of notes regarding possible posts, which should supply ample fuel to my intention of keeping the Ghooric Zone updated minimally on a weekly basis.

There may also be some experimentation where the design of the Ghooric Zone is concerned, so do not adjust your set if you encounter disturbing changes in layout and visual style/presentation over the coming weeks. The Ghooric Zone management take no responsibility for any disoderings of the senses, feelings of utter hopelessness, realisations of insignificance, disquieting suspicions of being a mindless puppet dancing madly in the black and empty void, or other experiences of existential angst subsequent to viewing any changes to the blog.

I digress. Of recent note where things Lovecraftian are concerned, I attended a showing of 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth': a theatrical presentation which was part of the recent London Horror Festival. In previous years, I've been a big supporter of the festival - and, indeed, continue to be so; however, this year's line-up was heavily weighted toward horror-comedy theatre. Whilst I have no objections to this kind of genre mash-up (indeed, I'm a big fan of the Monster Hunters, who have appeared at the festival in previous years), I tend to find the comedic turn a fairly lazy way of presenting horror theatre (not the most accomodating medium to the genre in any case), often playing for cheap laughs by riffing on worn and tired horror tropes. 'Shadow' ended up being the only show I went to see during the festival's run because it was Lovecraft, but also in spite of the fact that it was advertised as a 'darkly comic' adaptation.

Indeed, 'Shadow' was a two person, 45 minute adaptation of Lovecraft's classic tale played almost exclusively for laughs, with lots of funny accents and gurning. All of which, ultimately and unsurprisingly, undermined the power of the original. Whilst there were some valiant attempts to use the comedy for exploring Lovecraft's racism - and the actors did a pretty good turn in making 'Shadow' entertaining as a theatrical experience - it ultimately disappointed due to a complete lack of a sense of mounting dread so central to the key themes of the story; the classic reveal that is pivotal to the original tale also passed almost unnoticed (probably due to the fact that it was constantly being foreshadowed for comic effect).

Whilst I shall certainly be revisiting the London Horror Festival in 2016, here's hoping that it's next iteration will be a little more diverse, with a little less of the comedy and a little more of the horror. In other words: good effort chaps, but must try harder.

On a final (but related) point, it does seem that London has been hitting something of a zenith in terms of horror-themed events of late...a point which I mean to return to in later posts.

Be seeing you.

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