6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Long-dead author revitalises a faltering genre? DEFINITELY!,
This review is from: H. P. Lovecraft Omnibus 1: At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels of Terror (Mass Market Paperback)
Having read a lot of horror, one name always came up as the inspiration for the modern horror writers. That name is HP Lovecraft. I had heard about his works, but never seemed to pick up any of them. Finally, i reached a point with a lot of the modern horror writers where i had seen most of it all before, and was growing tired of the same plots rehashed over and over. Too much horror these days is inspired by cinema, and in many modern horror novels you can almost pick out the set pieces that will be translated into a film scene. Feeling disillusioned, i turned to HP Lovecraft.
These tales are fantastic!They have renewed my enthusiasm for the genre once more. They are dark, malignant stories that serve up horror without falling into cliche, and treat the reader as an equal which is very rare in modern horror. The stories do not take you by the hand and lead you through the plot, with a million signposts to take you to the ending. These stories take you to the entrance of a maze, push you in and then, for good measure, switch off the lights! Superb!
The first 3 stories are excellent pieces of writing.They are called At the Mountains of Madness, the Case of Charles Dexter Ward, and Dreams in the Witch House.These are among the finest horror works you will read.
Mountains of Madness deals with an expedition to the Antarctic, and describes the discovery of a hidden civilisation, only for one half of the team to be brutally slaughtered in a mysterious fashion.The tale then picks up with the remaining team members trying to solve the mystery, by entering this hidden area, and discovering a hidden city that has subterranean passages.This story is brilliant at building up an atmosphere of suspense, foreboding and claustrophobia. It isn't particularly brutal - it rises above this, and leaves you to imagine what went on. I won't spoil the story, but this is a real winner from start to finish.
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, for me, is the gem in this collection.It concerns a young man investigating his family tree and finding a 'black sheep' of the family lurking away in one of the branches. The story deals with the titular character descending into madness, whilst filling in the details of the ancestor's questionable life. This was a real page turner and i rushed through it full of wonder and enjoyment. There is a clear progression in the story, with plenty of subplots but more importantly, plenty of gaps, to allow the reader to feel part of the tale. The ending is quite original and well-thought out.
The third story is the Dreams in the Witch House and concerns a brilliant student becoming involved in outre ideas. What could have been a standard haunted house story is given a new twist, and again shows horror writing at its best.
The final stories are the Dream Quest of Unknown Kaddath,The Silver Key, and Through the Gates of the Silver Key. These to me are much weaker stories. And i didn't enjoy these half as much as the 3 Cthulu Mythos stories. These are more dark fantasy than horror, thought again, there are areas of remarkable brilliance within them.
I loved Lovecraft's style of writing.It is completely different to any other horror writer's - though if you read HG Wells, there are some similarities. The style adds to the horror and the feeling of impending doom.
Who would this appeal to? Any other jaded horror readers out there for one! Fans of Brian Lumley's Titus Crow novels should definitely read this, as Lumley is a Lovecraft fan beyond measure.The fact that these stories are as frightening and original today as when they were written is a real testament to their brilliance. Most horror today is instantly forgettable - Lovecraft is going to have people shivering, and cowering for many years to come................
I loved this collection, and can't wait to read the other 2 in this particular series.