Friday, September 16, 2016

Lovecraftian Thing a Day No. 260: Lin Carter's Anton Zarnack - Supernatural Sleuth

I watched the new Blair Witch movie yesterday (mild spoilers ahead) and, despite some strong reviews, I have to say I was unimpressed: it feels like a much cleaner, updated version of the original (to which it is a direct sequel), but swaps out the sense of creeping dread which underpinned the original for the kind of tired jump-scares that are all-too typical of modern found footage movies; in addition to which, it commits the cardinal sin of actually showing the witch (albeit very briefly) - a reveal that the original movie quite rightly eschewed. There were some intriguing elements to the film - particularly the fact that whatever is stalking the protaganists through the woods at night is seemingly of monstrous size...yet despite some very Lovecraftian intimations that we get here, Blair Witch takes another direction which both ultimately disappoints and adds nothing to the mythology fbthe Blair Witch.

What, you may ask, does this have to do with today's offering? Nothing other than the fact that probably the best part of my trip to the cinema was seeing the new Doctor Strange trailer, which reminded me of Lin Carter's Anton Zarnak: Supernatural Sleuth. Zarnak follows in the tradition of literary paranormal investigators a la John Silence, Carnacki, and the like; but his knowledge and expertise in matters mystical and occult - especially as they pertain to the Cthulhu Mythos - mean that Zarnak is also something of a Lovecraftian analogue of Dr Strange. In addition to which (if I recall correctly), a footnote to Zarnack's backstory includes mention of an association with one Stephen Strange...

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