Lovecraft Laughing

Uncanny Memes in the Weird

Lovecraft LaughingThe horror author infamously famous for his listless, gaunt, lantern-jawed face, H. P. Lovecraft is smiling. This picture is the only such one. The effect is uncanny. Weird it may be, it is not the rare occasion that horror geeks or slasher fans cannot help but ask themselves of the appeal in horror fiction. Is it just the gory scenes? Only cheap thrills compared to something far more hideous, a dread unfathomable to the richest of imaginations? An answer seems to be lurking behind Lovecraft’s enigmatic smile. His monsters crawl out of the most unexpected cracks of our culture, no marvel that Michel Houellebecq, an ardent reader of the Lovecraftian oeuvre himself, becomes mystified upon meeting Lovecraft’s fans: “They have not read his work and don’t even intend to do so. Nonetheless, oddly, they want to find out more—beyond the texts […].”

Indeed, as if it wasn’t the most imperative question of them all, the ultimate riddle: what is beyond the texts? What connects Herman Melville and Henry James to H. P. Lovecraft, and through him, to John Carpenter, Ridley Scott, and video games? Is there a secret code hidden in the cypher of one of Sigmund Freud’s most elusive writings? Impossible to tell. Lovecraft’s paroxysm is a caveat here: “The Thing cannot be described—there is no language for such abysms of shrieking and immemorial lunacy, such eldritch contradictions of all matter, force, and cosmic order.” Then what is it that we read, watch, and play, if not the Thing itself?

Lovecraft is laughing.

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Title: Lovecraft Laughing. Uncanny Memes in the Weird
Author: Pál Hegyi
Year of release: 2019
ISBN: 978-615-5423-56-7 (.mobi); 978-615-5423-55-0 (.epub); 978-615-5423-54-3 (POD)