Eighteenth book reviewed as part of the 130 Challenge.
There’s something regal and respectable about Lovecraftian horror. It is not gut-wrenching, disgustingly gory or even scary in the right sense of the word. It does not do what a horror story is expected to do. What it does, and exceedingly well, is to fill you with a feeling of dread and leave you uneasy as you try to comprehend the nature of beings that he has described in his story.
Lovecraft doesn’t write about Earthly horrors. His stories don’t have human terrors. The humans are there, even disgusting ones and terrible ones and it is these humans who actually do all the dirty work that makes one squirm, but they aren’t the ones who are supposed to evoke a feeling of gloomy foreboding; it is the Old Ones.
The Call of Cthulu is the story that sets the stage for a series of stories about the Old Ones, great beings of a time before time who have been trapped for eons in a state of death-like sleep, waiting for the right time and the right alignment of stars and planets so that they can restore their reign in the universe.
Lovecraft writes with the frenzied and feverish hand of a prophet of doom and sets the tone for the story right from the beginning. The phantasmagoria that his story creates is that of a cosmic proportion. His monsters are epic and his ideas of despair and destruction, colossal.
He doesn’t frighten you. He doesn’t want to make you scream with horror. What he wants instead, is to send a small chill down your spine. And he does that quite well with ‘The Call of Cthulhu’. I was quite absorbed by it and while it was a brisk read, it was a thoroughly engaging one. That it was wrapped in the most sublime language and exceedingly vivid descriptions that I’ve read in horror fiction, only added to the experience.
Check out the excerpts from the book.