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Archive for the ‘The Horror of it All!’ Category

Lovecraftian Horror Movie Review: Re-Animator (1985)

Posted by Harbinger451 on April 22, 2016

 The Lovecraftian CategoryRe-Animator (Stuart Gordon, USA. 1985)

An adaptation of (the first two parts of) H. P. Lovecraft‘s short story Herbert West – Reanimator but updated to a more contemporary setting and infused throughout with some very campy and decidedly black humour. All the actors involved play it entirely straight and the dry jokes are delivered so dead-pan that it just makes this movie even funnier.

UK movie poster for Re-Animator (1985)

UK movie poster for Re-Animator (1985)

Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) is a very intense, dedicated and some-what weird medical student who comes to the Miskatonic University in New England in order to further his studies after an unfortunate incident at the University of Zurich’s Institute of Medicine in Switzerland, resulting in a(n un)dead professor, caused him to leave there rather unceremoniously.

West rents a room and basement space (for his experiments) from fellow student Dan Cain (Bruce Abbot) who eagerly takes him in for the extra income and despite his girl-friend Megan Halsey (Barbara Crampton)’s reservations that West is too “creepy” for a house-mate. Soon after, Dan’s pet cat Rufus goes missing so he and Megan search the house top to bottom and finally find its corpse in West’s refrigerator… along with some mysterious vials of strangely glowing green liquid. Dan later confronts West about the dead cat and West explains that the cat was already dead when he found it but didn’t want Dan or Megan finding it in such a condition so he refrigerated it till he could break the bad news to them gently.

Dan then asks West to explain the green liquid and West tells him that it is the result of his ongoing experiments to find a cure for death itself. Dan, of course, is sceptical so West proves the efficacy of his “reagent” by injecting it into the dead cat. Rufus is reanimated and immediately goes crazy – attacking them both – so they kill the cat a second time. Both shocked and exited by this event Dan agrees to assist West in his experiments and the pair decide to try to perfect the reagent by experimenting on corpses stored in the University’s morgue. The chaos resulting from this experiment causes the medical school’s Dean Halsey (Robert Sampson), Megan’s father, to stumble into the pair in the morgue but the Dean is killed by a reanimated corpse – which West re-kills with a bone-saw.

Realising the Dean’s corpse is the freshest they’re likely to get, West injects it with the reagent and it too is reanimated… but it too behaves violently toward them. When police and security officers arrive and subdue Halsey, West and Dan – to explain the scene of carnage – claim that the Dean simply went crazy and attacked both them and the corpses in the morgue. The reanimated Dean is strapped into a straight-jacket and taken away – put into the care of his brain specialist colleague Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale). After lobotomising Halsey, Dr. Hill soon realises that the Dean is in fact dead and reanimated. Realising that West must be onto something with his research, which the doctor had earlier scoffed at, Hill determines to get West’s secrets for himself.

Little does Hill realise quite how unhinged Herbert West was becoming with each increasingly disastrous and chaotic experiment. Hill tries to blackmail West into handing over his secrets, West plays along just long enough to decapitate Hill with a shovel… and then West wonders how his reagent will work with body parts…

Content Warning: be prepared for very dark humour with very gruesome and bloody scenes… also some nudity and a particularly controversial depiction of a sexual assault (that gives new meaning to the phrase “giving head”).

Watch the trailer here:

Re-Animator – Tagline: Herbert West Has A Very Good Head On His Shoulders… And Another One In A Dish On His Desk
Runtime: 86 min (unrated) / 95 min (R-rated) / 106 min (extended cut) – Colour – English.
The Lovecraftian’s Rating: 9/10
(Extremely Good) – this might be schlock, but it is schlock of the highest order – a very funny and gory horror comedy. Jeffrey Combs‘ performance is particularly brilliant and it cements in place the foundation for his (as well as director Stuart Gordon‘s and producer Brian Yuzna‘s) prominent position in Lovecraftian cinema history.

Buy Re-Animator on DVD or Blu-ray at Amazon.com
Buy Re-Animator on DVD or Blu-ray at Amazon.co.uk

Please feel free to comment on this review – or, if you’ve seen the movie, add your own review – by replying to this post.

Go HERE for a full list of Lovecraftian film and TV adaptations. We have an expanding section of our website dedicated to The Lovecraftian – purveyor of all the latest news, updates, chatter and trends from the field of Lovecraft lore – the man, his works and his weird worlds of Yog-Sothothery.  Stay up-to-date with the news and join The Lovecraftian’s adventurous expeditions into the world of the Cthulhu Mythos by following him on Twitter where fact and fiction become entwined! The Lovecraftian’s main webpage can be found HERE.

Also: Check out The Lovecraftian Herald, an online newspaper concerning all things Lovecraftian in the world of social media and beyond. Published daily by us here at Harbinger451.

For the uninitiated:

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) was an influential and prolific American writer of early twentieth century cosmic horror fiction who saw himself chiefly as a poet – though many believe that it is his immense body of often literary correspondence that is in fact his greatest accomplishment – he wrote over 100,000 letters in his lifetime. He inspired a veritable legion of genre writers then, and to this day, to set their fiction within his strange cultish world.

The Cthulhu Mythos: Lovecraft, somewhat light-heartedly, labelled the “Mythos” that he created in his body of work Yog-Sothothery – and also, on rare occasions, referred to his series of connected stories as the Arkham Cycle. It was his friend August Derleth who coined the term “Cthulhu Mythos” (named after one of the monstrous beings that featured in Lovecraft’s tales) to encapsulate his epic vision of a chaotic and dark universe filled with unspeakable horror.

Brought to your attention by Harbinger451.

Copyright © 2016 Harbinger451 – All Rights Reserved

The Horror of it All

Posted in The Horror of it All!, The Lovecraftian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Lovecraftian Horror Movie Review: The Dunwich Horror (1970)

Posted by Harbinger451 on April 17, 2016

 The Lovecraftian CategoryThe Dunwich Horror (Daniel Haller, USA. 1970)

A contemporary and not entirely faithful adaptation of Lovecraft’s short story of the same name with some 70s counter-culture and Crowley-esque occult-ness added for good measure… oh – and a young Dean Stockwell hamming it up to the max!

The Dunwich Horror Movie Poster

The Dunwich Horror Movie Poster

The enigmatic young warlock Wilbur Whateley (Dean Stockwell) is twin to a monstrous entity locked in the attic of his family’s Dunwich farm-house. The pair were born to Lavinia Whateley (Joanne Moore Jordan) who was driven insane by the trauma of the birth and (presumably) by their conceiving – since the father of the “brothers” was Yog Sothoth, an Outer God summoned briefly by Lavinia’s own father Old Whateley (Sam Jaffe) twenty-five years earlier.

Wilbur wants to get his hands on a copy of the Necronomicon and a virgin so he can perform a ritual to open the trans-dimensional door that will let the Old Ones, heralded by Yog Sothoth himself, through to this world and bring about their dominion over humanity. At the Miskatonic University in Arkham he finds both the eldritch tome he’s looking for and a suitable young virgin, Nancy Wagner (Sandra Dee). He successfully ensnares Nancy but the book proves to be a bigger problem as a suspicious Dr. Henry Armitage (Ed Begley) refuses to “lend” it to him.

After getting Nancy ensconced, drugged and mesmerised at his Dunwich home Wilbur sets out to steal the Necronomicon. Meanwhile, Dr Armitage sets out to rescue Nancy from the warlock’s influence and then slowly realises it will fall to him to prevent any magical skullduggery from coming to fruition.

Pedagogic nit-picking: everyone in this movie pronounces the town’s name as “Dun-witch” when in fact it should be pronounced “Dun-itch”.

Content Warning: some nudity, sexual situations and orgiastic scenes.

Watch the trailer here:

The Dunwich Horror – Tagline: A few years ago in Dunwich a half-witted girl bore illegitimate twins. One of them was almost human!
Runtime: 90 min – Colour – English.
The Lovecraftian’s Rating: 7.5/10
(Good to Very Good) – an underrated (by most) cheesy 70s horror but a minor classic of Lovecraftian cinema that is very entertaining, even if the ending is a bit rushed. Much better than the director’s previous Lovecraftian effort – Die, Monster Die (1965). Stockwell steals the show!

Buy The Dunwich Horror (1970) on DVD or Blu-ray at Amazon.com
Buy The Dunwich Horror (1970) on DVD or Blu-ray at Amazon.co.uk

Please feel free to comment on this review – or, if you’ve seen the movie, add your own review – by replying to this post.

Go HERE for a full list of Lovecraftian film and TV adaptations. We have an expanding section of our website dedicated to The Lovecraftian – purveyor of all the latest news, updates, chatter and trends from the field of Lovecraft lore – the man, his works and his weird worlds of Yog-Sothothery.  Stay up-to-date with the news and join The Lovecraftian’s adventurous expeditions into the world of the Cthulhu Mythos by following him on Twitter where fact and fiction become entwined! The Lovecraftian’s main webpage can be found HERE.

Also: Check out The Lovecraftian Herald, an online newspaper concerning all things Lovecraftian in the world of social media and beyond. Published daily by us here at Harbinger451.

For the uninitiated:

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) was an influential and prolific American writer of early twentieth century cosmic horror fiction who saw himself chiefly as a poet – though many believe that it is his immense body of often literary correspondence that is in fact his greatest accomplishment – he wrote over 100,000 letters in his lifetime. He inspired a veritable legion of genre writers then, and to this day, to set their fiction within his strange cultish world.

The Cthulhu Mythos: Lovecraft, somewhat light-heartedly, labelled the “Mythos” that he created in his body of work Yog-Sothothery – and also, on rare occasions, referred to his series of connected stories as the Arkham Cycle. It was his friend August Derleth who coined the term “Cthulhu Mythos” (named after one of the monstrous beings that featured in Lovecraft’s tales) to encapsulate his epic vision of a chaotic and dark universe filled with unspeakable horror.

Brought to your attention by Harbinger451.

Copyright © 2016 Harbinger451 – All Rights Reserved

The Horror of it All

Posted in The Horror of it All!, The Lovecraftian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

We made a Promo Video for our upcoming free H. P. Lovecraft eBook

Posted by Harbinger451 on April 13, 2016

451 ePublishing Haus CategoryPromo Video for our upcoming free H. P. Lovecraft eBook.

The first volume of our free Dark Matter series of ebooks is proving to take quite some time to compile and format. It collects all of H. P. Lovecraft’s creepy cultish fiction with a good spattering of his relevant essays, poetry, letters and his only sketch of Cthulhu. This eBook will also take a look at the legacy of his Cthulhu Mythos – an epic vision of a chaotic and dark universe filled with unspeakable horror – which inspired a veritable legion of genre writers then, and to this day, to set their fiction within his strange cultish world. It will have 144 of Lovecraft’s weird works; including ALL of his extant tales, with his juvenilia, his collaborative and his revision works. It will also include selected examples of those poetical and non-fiction works that we think will be of interest not only to fans of his fiction and Mythos in particular – but also to fans of horror and weird fiction in general.

Anyway – to the main point of this post. We thought a little promo video would serve well to drum up some interest in the aforementioned e-book… and, without further ado (except, put your headphones on people – the soundtrack will knock your socks off),  here it is:

Made using entirely free software with the addition of some open-source sound files from freesound.org. All the graphics were made using the open-source vector graphics editor Inkscape. The Cthulhu illustration was created using the GNU Image Manipulation Program GIMP. These graphics and images were then incorporated into video format using Microsoft’s Movie Maker.

The soundtrack featured in the video was made using the free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds Audacity. This soundtrack includes a special guest appearance by Bloop the mysterious ultra-low-frequency and extremely powerful underwater sound detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1997. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu quote “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn” was voiced by Harbinger451 himself… here it is in isolation:

For a break down of who was responsible for each individual sound used in the soundtrack see the credits at the end of the video… but also presented here for your convenience:

Video Credits

Video Credits

Details of the free ebook Dark Matter Vol 1: The Weird Tales of H. P. Lovecraft can be found HERE – including a full list of its contents.

Brought to your attention by Harbinger451.

Copyright © 2016 Harbinger451 – All Rights Reserved


451 ePublishing Haus

Posted in 451 ePublishing Haus, Free for All, The Horror of it All!, The Lovecraftian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lovecraftian Horror Movie Review: Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968)

Posted by Harbinger451 on April 12, 2016

The Lovecraftian CategoryCurse of the Crimson Altar (Vernon Sewell, UK. 1968)

AKA: The Crimson Cult (USA) | The Crimson Altar (USA poster title)

Very loosely based on Lovecraft’s short story The Dreams in the Witch-House – and we do mean loosely, the only connections we could see are the facts that there are dreams and they are indeed experienced in a witch-house. This was the last film featuring Boris Karloff to be released during his lifetime.

Poster for Curse of the Crimson Altar

Poster for Curse of the Crimson Altar

Set in contemporary England an antiques dealer, Mark Eden (Robert Manning), searching for his missing brother is led to a large and Gothic country house occupied by J. D. Morley (Christopher Lee) and Eve (Virginia Wetherell) his niece – descendants of the infamous Black Witch of Greymarsh Lavinia Morley (Barbara Steele) who was burned at the stake by the local villagers three hundred years earlier. The obligatory creepy butler, named Elder, is played very well by the excellently doomy Michael Gough while an elderly Karloff appears as the dour and forbidding wheel-chair bound expert on witchcraft, Professor Marsh.

The drug induced dream sequences have to be seen to be believed – they’re both trippy and kitsch and some of the costumes are in turn awesome (the green/blue skinned Lavinia’s regalia), sinister (the animal-masked jurors) and sometimes hilarious (the PVC bondage-esque blacksmith/torturer’s outfit for example).

Content Warning: There are some brief scenes of mild nudity… and the sight of the middle-aged Eden letching and pawing at the lovely young Eve in the supposed romantic angle of the story is quite literally stomach churning.

Watch the trailer here:

Curse of the Crimson Altar – Tagline: What obscene prayer or human sacrifice can satisfy the Devil-God?
Runtime: 89 min – Colour – English.
The Lovecraftian’s Rating: 6/10
(Pretty Good) – benefits from a strong cast, a terrific setting and a some-what psychedelic sixties vibe but is otherwise pretty lacklustre… especially the rather perfunctory ending.

Buy Curse of the Crimson Altar on DVD or Blu-ray at Amazon.com
Buy Curse of the Crimson Altar on DVD or Blu-ray at Amazon.co.uk

Please feel free to comment on this review – or, if you’ve seen the movie, add your own review – by replying to this post.

Go HERE for a full list of Lovecraftian film and TV adaptations. We have an expanding section of our website dedicated to The Lovecraftian – purveyor of all the latest news, updates, chatter and trends from the field of Lovecraft lore – the man, his works and his weird worlds of Yog-Sothothery.  Stay up-to-date with the news and join The Lovecraftian’s adventurous expeditions into the world of the Cthulhu Mythos by following him on Twitter where fact and fiction become entwined! The Lovecraftian’s main webpage can be found HERE.

Also: Check out The Lovecraftian Herald, an online newspaper concerning all things Lovecraftian in the world of social media and beyond. Published daily by us here at Harbinger451.

For the uninitiated:

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) was an influential and prolific American writer of early twentieth century cosmic horror fiction who saw himself chiefly as a poet – though many believe that it is his immense body of often literary correspondence that is in fact his greatest accomplishment – he wrote over 100,000 letters in his lifetime. He inspired a veritable legion of genre writers then, and to this day, to set their fiction within his strange cultish world.

The Cthulhu Mythos: Lovecraft, somewhat light-heartedly, labelled the “Mythos” that he created in his body of work Yog-Sothothery – and also, on rare occasions, referred to his series of connected stories as the Arkham Cycle. It was his friend August Derleth who coined the term “Cthulhu Mythos” (named after one of the monstrous beings that featured in Lovecraft’s tales) to encapsulate his epic vision of a chaotic and dark universe filled with unspeakable horror.

Brought to your attention by Harbinger451.

Copyright © 2016 Harbinger451 – All Rights Reserved

The Horror of it All

Posted in The Horror of it All!, The Lovecraftian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lovecraftian Horror Movie Review: Die, Monster, Die! (1965)

Posted by Harbinger451 on April 8, 2016

The Lovecraftian CategoryDie, Monster, Die! (Daniel Haller, UK/USA. 1965)

AKA: Monster of Terror (UK) | Colour Out of Space (USA working title) | The House at the End of the World (UK working title)

Loosely based on Lovecraft’s short story The Colour Out of Space (and possibly conflating some elements of The Dunwich Horror – the Witley family history having similarities to the Whateley’s – along with some other Lovecraftian tropes) this movie directed by Daniel Haller transposes the action to a small country village named Arkham in contemporary England.

Die, Monster, Die! - lobby card

Die, Monster, Die! – lobby card

Stephen Reinhart (Nick Adams) is an American scientist come to visit his girl-friend Susan Witley (Suzan Farmer) at her family’s estate at the invitation of her mother, Letitia (Freda Jackson). On arrival at the village Reinhart is treated with suspicion as soon as it becomes known that he’s looking for the Witley Estate, where none of the villagers will go, and is forced to make his own way on foot across the heath to the house.

While on the heath he passes a huge crater surrounded by a large area of scorched earth and the dessicated remains of burnt vegetation. Moving on he comes to the forbidding grounds of the Witley house – liberally posted with “No Trespassing” signs and guarded by at least one man-trap – persevering on he finally gets to the house itself where he is confronted by Susan’s father Nahum Witley (Boris Karloff) and bluntly told to leave – but, of course, he doesn’t – especially when Susan appears immediately and greets him with welcoming and open arms.

Cue lots of mysterious shenanigans involving weird illnesses, unearthly noises, missing and dying servants, a family history of sorcery, a locked and glowing green-house with mutated plant life leading to a glowing potting shed full of strange mutated creatures of indeterminate origin… and, lets not forget, the large luminescent meteorite in the cellar radiating the purest green.

Lovecraftian trivia; Reinhart finds a book in Witley’s library entitled “Cult of the Outer Ones” – a passage from which reads, “Cursed is the ground where the Dark Forces live, new and strangely bodied… he who tampers there will be destroyed…”

Watch the trailer here:

Die, Monster, Die! Tagline: Can you face the ULTIMATE in DIABOLISM!… can you face PURE TERROR!
Runtime: 80 min – Colour – English.
The Lovecraftian’s Rating: 5/10 (Mediocre)
– for the most part an interesting blend of Gothic and Science Fiction horrors but unfortunately it really gets into the realms of the ridiculous toward the end.

Buy Die, Monster, Die! on DVD or Blu-ray at Amazon.com
Buy Die, Monster, Die! on DVD or Blu-ray at Amazon.co.uk

Please feel free to comment on this review – or, if you’ve seen the movie, add your own review – by replying to this post.

Go HERE for a full list of Lovecraftian film and TV adaptations. We have an expanding section of our website dedicated to The Lovecraftian – purveyor of all the latest news, updates, chatter and trends from the field of Lovecraft lore – the man, his works and his weird worlds of Yog-Sothothery.  Stay up-to-date with the news and join The Lovecraftian’s adventurous expeditions into the world of the Cthulhu Mythos by following him on Twitter where fact and fiction become entwined! The Lovecraftian’s main webpage can be found HERE.

Also: Check out The Lovecraftian Herald, an online newspaper concerning all things Lovecraftian in the world of social media and beyond. Published daily by us here at Harbinger451.

For the uninitiated:

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) was an influential and prolific American writer of early twentieth century cosmic horror fiction who saw himself chiefly as a poet – though many believe that it is his immense body of often literary correspondence that is in fact his greatest accomplishment – he wrote over 100,000 letters in his lifetime. He inspired a veritable legion of genre writers then, and to this day, to set their fiction within his strange cultish world.

The Cthulhu Mythos: Lovecraft, somewhat light-heartedly, labelled the “Mythos” that he created in his body of work Yog-Sothothery – and also, on rare occasions, referred to his series of connected stories as the Arkham Cycle. It was his friend August Derleth who coined the term “Cthulhu Mythos” (named after one of the monstrous beings that featured in Lovecraft’s tales) to encapsulate his epic vision of a chaotic and dark universe filled with unspeakable horror.

Brought to your attention by Harbinger451.

Copyright © 2016 Harbinger451 – All Rights Reserved

The Horror of it All

Posted in The Horror of it All!, The Lovecraftian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Lovecraftian Horror Movie Review: The Haunted Palace (1963)

Posted by Harbinger451 on March 30, 2016

The Lovecraftian CategoryThe Haunted Palace (Roger Cormen, USA. 1963)

Although marketed as Edgar Alan Poe’s The Haunted Palace this movie, directed by Roger Cormen, is actually based on H. P. Lovecraft‘s short novel The Case of Charles Dexter Ward with the screenplay adapted by Charles Beaumont. It’s not an entirely faithful adaptation of the short novel but it does have Vincent Price in dual roles as Joseph Curwen and Charles Dexter Ward.

The haunted Palace lobby card

The haunted Palace lobby card

In 1875, Charles Dexter Ward inherits a Gothic castle-like Palace that, about 110 years earlier, had been brought over stone by stone from Europe and re-built overlooking the New England town of Arkham by his great great grandfather, Joseph Curwen. Curwen was effectively burned at the stake by the town’s people for being a Necromantic Sorcerer (responsible for the impregnating of local young women by demonic entities) who cursed them all before he died – he vowed to return from death and get revenge on each of those responsible and all their descendants.

Curwen apparently had a back up plan ready to go should an angry mob end up murdering him, using his Necromantic Sorcery he ensured that his disembodied Spirit would remain “vital” within the Palace till he could find a suitable victim to possess and through whom he would be able to exact his revenge. Ignorant of his ancestor’s history Ward decides to move to Arkham and into the Palace with his wife Anne, played by Debra Paget… big mistake.

Cue 60s Gothic Horror Movie melodrama hardened by a dark Lovecraftian weirdness. It has a good solid cast, that includes Lon Chaney Jr as Simon Orne – a loyal cultist/servant of Curwen’s, and a sumptuous look typical of Roger Cormen’s “Poe Cycle” for American International Pictures. The film itself is titled after an Edgar Alan Poe poem and in the closing scenes the final verse of that poem is narrated – ‘…While, like a ghastly rapid river, through the pale door, a hideous throng rush out forever and laugh – But smile no more’

The Haunted Palace marks the first time actual names of Lovecraftian Monstrosities, such as the Elder Gods Cthulhu and Yog-Sothoth, are uttered on celluloid. It is also the first time Lovecraft’s legendary black magic book, the Necronomicon, is not only mentioned but also makes its premier appearance in the history of motion-picture tropes as an integral prop and plot-device.

Watch the trailer here:

The Haunted Palace Tagline: A warlock’s home is his castle…Forever!
Runtime: 87 min – Colour – English.
The Lovecraftian’s Rating: 7/10 (Good) – not one of Cormen’s best but certainly his most Lovecraftian. Vincent Price’s performance is, as ever, a delight to watch.

Buy The Haunted Palace on DVD or Blu-ray at Amazon.com
Buy The Haunted Palace on DVD or Blu-ray at Amazon.co.uk

Please feel free to comment on this review – or, if you’ve seen the movie, add your own review – by replying to this post.

Go HERE for a full list of Lovecraftian film and TV adaptations. We have an expanding section of our website dedicated to The Lovecraftian – purveyor of all the latest news, updates, chatter and trends from the field of Lovecraft lore – the man, his works and his weird worlds of Yog-Sothothery.  Stay up-to-date with the news and join The Lovecraftian’s adventurous expeditions into the world of the Cthulhu Mythos by following him on Twitter where fact and fiction become entwined! The Lovecraftian’s main webpage can be found HERE.

Also: Check out The Lovecraftian Herald, an online newspaper concerning all things Lovecraftian in the world of social media and beyond. Published daily by us here at Harbinger451.

For the uninitiated:

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) was an influential and prolific American writer of early twentieth century cosmic horror fiction who saw himself chiefly as a poet – though many believe that it is his immense body of often literary correspondence that is in fact his greatest accomplishment – he wrote over 100,000 letters in his lifetime. He inspired a veritable legion of genre writers then, and to this day, to set their fiction within his strange cultish world.

The Cthulhu Mythos: Lovecraft, somewhat light-heartedly, labelled the “Mythos” that he created in his body of work Yog-Sothothery – and also, on rare occasions, referred to his series of connected stories as the Arkham Cycle. It was his friend August Derleth who coined the term “Cthulhu Mythos” (named after one of the monstrous beings that featured in Lovecraft’s tales) to encapsulate his epic vision of a chaotic and dark universe filled with unspeakable horror.

Brought to your attention by Harbinger451.

Copyright © 2016 Harbinger451 – All Rights Reserved

The Horror of it All

Posted in The Horror of it All!, The Lovecraftian | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Horror Poll: Which actor’s portrayal of Dracula is the Best?

Posted by Harbinger451 on May 26, 2015

The Horror of it All CategoryHorror Poll: Which actor’s portrayal of Dracula is the Best?

Bram Stoker’s famous villainous vampire, from his massively influential Gothic novel – Dracula (1897), is one of the most portrayed horror characters in Movie and TV history… but whose portrayal is the best? We’ve selected our top 21 most notable, memorable or worthy performances – from which you can choose your favourite three in our Poll HERE – helping us decide who’s Dracula is the greatest. I’d just like to make two points before starting the list – 1, Max Schreck’s Count Orlok IS Count Dracula (but that name couldn’t be used for copyright reasons), and – 2, Christopher Lee is listed twice on purpose (once for his role in the famous Hammer movie series and again for another entirely separate movie role in Jess Franco’s Count Dracula).

Max Shrek in Nosferatu: eine Symphonie des Grauens (Friedrich Wilhelm Mornau, Ger. 1922)

Max Schreck in Nosferatu: eine Symphonie des Grauens (Friedrich Wilhelm Mornau, Ger. 1922)

So… Which actor’s portrayal of Dracula is the Best?

Vote for your favourite three in our Poll HERE.

1. Max Schreck in Nosferatu: eine Symphonie des Grauens (Friedrich Wilhelm Mornau, Ger. 1922)

2. Bela Lugosi in Dracula (Tod Browning, USA. 1931) and in only one of Universal’s many sequels/spin-offs Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein (Charles Barton, USA 1948)

3. Carlos Villarías in Drácula (George Melford & Enrique Tovar Ávalos, USA-Spanish language. 1931)

4. Lon Chaney, Jr. in Son of Dracula (Robert Siodmak, USA. 1943)

5. Christopher Lee in Dracula (Terence Fisher, UK. 1958) and in six of Hammer’s sequels Dracula: Prince of Darkness (Terence Fisher, UK. 1966), Dracula has Risen from the Grave (Freddie Francis, UK. 1968), Taste the Blood of Dracula (Peter Sasdy, UK. 1969), Scars of Dracula (Roy Ward Baker, UK. 1970), Dracula AD 1972 (Alan Gibson, UK. 1972) and The Satanic Rites of Dracula (Alan Gibson, UK. 1973)

6. Christopher Lee in Count Dracula (Jess Franco, Spa-Ita-Ger. 1970)

7. Paul Albert Krumm in Jonathan (Hans W. Geissendorfer, Ger. 1970)

8. Udo Kier in Blood for Dracula (Paul Morrissey, Fra/Ita. 1973)

9. Jack Palance in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Dan Curtis, USA. 1974)

10. David Niven in Vampira (Clive Donner, UK. 1974)

11. Louis Jourdan in BBC TV’s Count Dracula (Philip Saville, UK. 1977)

12. Frank Langella in Dracula (John Badham, UK/USA. 1979)

13. Klaus Kinski in Nosferatu: Phantom Der Nacht (Werner Herzog, Ger/Fra. 1979) and in its sequel, Vampire in Venice (Augusto Caminito, Ita. 1988)

14. George Hamilton in Love at First Bite (Stan Dragoti, USA. 1979)

15. Duncan Regehr in The Monster Squad (Fred Dekker, USA. 1987)

16. Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola, USA. 1992)

17. Leslie Nielsen in Dracula: Dead and Loving It (Mel Brooks, USA. 1995)

18. Gerard Butler in Dracula 2000 (Patrick Lussier, USA. 2000)

19. Richard Roxburgh in Van Helsing (Stephen Sommers, USA. 2004)

20. Thomas Kretschmann in Dracula 3D (Dario Argento, Ita/Fra/Spa. 2012)

21. Luke Evans in Dracula Untold (Gary Shore, USA. 2014)

Vote for your favourite three in our Poll HERE.

Luke Evans in Dracula Untold (Gary Shore, USA. 2014)

Luke Evans in Dracula Untold (Gary Shore, USA. 2014)

Discuss and debate this list or suggest other performances you think deserve to be listed here by replying to this post. Don’t forget to vote in our Poll HERE.

Check out more of our Horror Polls HERE.

The Horror of it All… enter HERE all those who delight in horror, death, the macabre, the occult, black humor, weird tales, dark fantasy – and all such nefarious pleasures.

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What would be your Perfect Halloween Horror Movie Marathon?

Posted by Harbinger451 on October 30, 2014

The Horror of it All CategoryHalloween night is the perfect excuse for a horror movie marathon (like you need an excuse)… but what movies do you choose? Do you go for an eclectic selection of personal favorites or all-time classics… or have a themed night of related movies – say by following a famed franchise from start to finish or a selection of movies using the Halloween season as its backdrop? Difficult choices have to be made when embarking on the enterprise of choosing the perfect Halloween Horror Movie Marathon… so hopefully I’m here to help you out with a few suggestions and alternatives. I’d be really interested in hearing your own suggestions for the perfect horror movie marathon so please enter them in the comments section below.

1. Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween (1978)

John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978)

First up on my list is easy, John Carpenter’s 1978 Halloween – a tale of an escaped lunatic returning to his home town to continue a killing spree he started 15 years earlier. This seminal slasher first introduced the unstoppable psycho-killer Michael Myers to the movie going public and, bonus, the action takes place during Halloween and features some cool clips and sound-bites from classic old horror/scifi movies just to set the creepy mood. It stars the excellent Jamie Lee Curtis and the indomitable Donald Pleasence who delivers some of horror movie history’s most memorable lines with petrifying aplomb. Of course this classic spawned a whole franchise – nine more films (plus numerous novels and comic books) – but they are all a rather hit and miss affair. Choosing carefully among them can give you a decent marathon run of Halloween flavoured movies for the big night’s viewing.

Following directly from the first, Halloween II (1981) is definitely worth a watch – Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1882) isn’t, it doesn’t feature Michael Myers at all and the ever-present “its (however many) days to Halloween” jingle is just horrifyingly annoying and makes the movie practically unwatchable. Halloween‘s IV to VI (1988, 1989 & 1995) are decent enough but its probably worth skipping to the seventh chapter – Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) – which ignores numbers III to VI and continues the events from the first two movies… but 20 years later. You could follow that, if you’ve got time, with the eighth movie, Halloween: Resurrection (2002), which is set 2 years after the events in H20. In 2007 Rob Zombie’s bold, if pointless, remake was released – not a patch on the original though much more violent – and he released a follow-up in 2009 (which I have to admit I haven’t seen – and I’m not inclined to after his first effort).

As a foot note to this suggestion, and as an alternative Halloween Marathon, you could pair Carpenter’s brilliant original with  the classic movies playing on TV in the background of various scenes – Howard Hawk’s astounding scifi horror tale The Thing From Another World (1951) (which Carpenter himself would go on to remake in 1982 as the excellent The Thing) and the Fred M. Wilcox’s spooky scifi classic based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest – Forbidden Planet (1956).

Other Horror Movies set during Halloween

Numerous other horror movies have been set during or around the Halloween season – here are some of the better ones: The Crow (1994) is an excellent supernatural action movie – a young goth couple planning a Halloween marriage are murdered the night before and the male of the pair (Brandon Lee) returns as a reanimated corpse a year later to seek violent and bloody revenge. Idle Hands (1999) is a very bloody but extremely fun horror comedy about a lazy stoner teenager who’s right hand gets possessed on Halloween night and starts murdering everyone around him… even after it’s been amputated. Trick ‘r Treat (2007) is an extremely well made and suspenseful horror anthology of four stories centered around Halloween, its traditions and its legends… highly recommended.

2. The Exorcist

William Friedkin's The Exorcist (1973)

William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973)

William Friedkin’s famous (and infamous) 1973 possession movie The Exorcist is based on William Peter Blatty’s bestselling novel – which in turn is based on a (supposedly) true story – and is consistently voted one of the scariest movies ever made. I’d advise you to get the most un-cut version of this movie you can – the movie’s impact has been severely dulled by over-the-top censorship over the years. It’s a tour-de-force of shock story telling, directing and acting that tells the tale of Regan (Linda Blair), a young girl (apparently) possessed by the Devil, and her mother’s attempts to get an exorcism to free her daughter from the Devil’s thrall. Eventually the services of one of the Catholic Church’s few remaining Exorcists (Max von Sydow) are called upon and a devastating confrontation ensues. The massive success of this movie ensured that it, like Halloween, would have a number of sequels, prequels and parodies – as well as many many, much poorer, imitations. A very good Exorcist Movie Marathon can definitely be had for Halloween Night should you choose to go that way.

John Boorman’s sequel Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) takes up Regan’s story four years later and deals with the Catholic Church’s investigation into the events of the first film. Personally I’d skip that one and go straight to The Exorcist III (1990) written and directed by Blatty himself and based on his follow-up novel Legion which is a direct sequel to his The Exorcist novel. Centered on Lieutenant Kinderman’s (George C. Scott) investigation into a series of apparently demonic murders fifteen years after those in the first movie and apparently having the hallmarks of a (known to be deceased) serial killer. This movie has some very effective suspense and tension building scenes that lead to truly outstanding shock moments. After faltering attempts to produce a prequel to The Exorcist two were eventually released in 2004. The first to be made was Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist but it was thought (by the studio) to be too slow and a second was re-edited with new footage to make a more conventional horror movie and Exorcist: The Beginning was released. “The Beginning” received a pretty poor reception by critics and audiences though so “Dominion” was also released – to an only slightly better reception. It is my opinion that “Dominion is by far the better of the two but for the purposes of an Exorcist Movie Marathon perhaps Bob Logan’s spoof Repossessed (1990) starring the brilliant Leslie Nielson (along with Linda Blair) would be a better (and certainly more fun) option.

3. Alien

Ridley Scott's Alien (1979)

Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979)

Ridley Scott’s science-fiction horror masterpiece Alien (1979) is, in my opinion, even scarier than The Exorcist. It is a claustrophobic terror ride of building suspense and shocking frights as a deadly alien picks off the crew of a spaceship one by one after they answer an apparent distress call from a distant hostile planet. With a stellar cast (headed by the inimitable Sigourney Weaver), amazing special effects that hold there own (even against the best of today’s CGI) and probably the best and most memorable movie monster (or monsters if you consider the face-hugger and chest-burster phases) in horror history. The movie spawned sequels, prequels and loads of lesser imitations – the best of which has to be James Cameron’s Aliens (1986), the direct sequel, picking up the story 57 years later and changing the mood somewhat into a scifi horror action adventure movie with a bunch of (space) marines trying to take on a whole colony’s worth of the alien bad-guys… great stuff.

If you want to put together an Alien movie marathon I would also recommend a movie that inspired screen-writer Dan O’Bannon when drafting his Alien concept – Edward L. Cahn’s It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958) about a rescue mission to Mars that leads to an alien presence hunting down the space-rocket’s crew up through the confined decks till the remaining members are holed up in the control room at its apex. He also cited the previously mentioned The Thing From Another World and Forbidden Planet as influences. Also, there’s Mario Bava’s cult classic Planet of the Vampires (1965) which has some striking design and narrative similarities with Alien – though both Ridley Scott and Dan O’Bannon have said that neither of them had seen Planet of the Vampires at the time.

Alien was criticized by some as being just a haunted house movie set in space… but WHAT a haunted house movie! And anyway, what’s wrong with haunted house movies? In fact, I think one the best (and scariest) haunted house movies ever would make a good complement to Alien in a Halloween Horror Movie Marathon – and that would be Robert Wise’s The Haunting (1963) which is based on Shirley Jackson’s excellent 1959 novel The Haunting of Hill House. A small group of people endeavor to stay at an infamously haunted house under the guidance of a paranormal investigator to try and get to the bottom of the house’s murderous reputation… BIG mistake!

4. The Return of the Living Dead

Dan O'Bannon's The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Dan O’Bannon’s The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Written and directed by Dan O’Bannon The Return of the Living Dead (1985) is an extremely black comedy horror about a brain-eating zombie outbreak originating from a small town medical supply warehouse where inept duo – old-hand foreman Frank (James Karen) and young new employee Freddy (Thom Mathews) – stupidly break open a canister (left in the warehouse by mistake) containing one of the living-dead left over from a military experiment (involving a gas called Trioxin) that went horrendously wrong. When a bunch of Freddy’s friends turn up – hilarity and mayhem literally ensue in equal measure.

Ken Wiederhorn’s follow up, Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988), reunites James Karen and Thom Mathews – this time playing a duo of hapless grave robbers named Ed and Joey – in an entirely different small town about to be over run with brain-eating zombies after another stray military canister is mistakenly opened. Not quite as good as the first but still a very entertaining romp into horror comedy territory. Brian Yuzna’s third installment Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993) ditches most of the comedy elements from the previous two and replaces them with a darkly romantic storyline. When Curt’s girlfriend, Julie, is killed in a motorcycle crash he knows what he must do to “fix” her – go to his colonel father’s military base where they’ve been experimenting with Trioxin to create living dead super-soldiers and turn her into one of the living dead… which just causes a heap load of new problems for the pair – not least the army chasing them in the hopes of making her a super-soldier. There are two more movies in the franchise – Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis (2005) and Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave (also 2005) – but these have little to do with the original movies.

The premise of these movies is that a form of the events depicted in George A. Romero’s iconic Night of the Living Dead (1968) actually happened – but that that movie was a spin on the truth to hide the military’s cock-up… to quote Freddy – “You mean the movie lied?!” Needless to say Romero’s first living dead movie would make a great first feature to play before a selection of the The Return of the Living Dead movies and – it has to be said – it also has its own franchise that would make for a good (though not AS good) alternative living dead marathon.

 
Enter HERE all those who delight in horror, death, the macabre, the occult, black humor, weird tales, dark fantasy – and all such nefarious pleasures.

Harbinger451.co.uk

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What is a multiverse and what types of multiverse are there?

Posted by Harbinger451 on March 2, 2014

The 451 ePublishing Haus CategoryWe are starting a new section of the website entitled the Multi-Verse Digest – a guide to to the best known alternative histories and other worlds of fiction, folklore, film and games. In this quantum age of a proposed infinite multiverse each is just as likely as the next! Harbinger451 will be exploring them soon. As an introduction to the concept of multiverses we have devised a list of types of multiverse – which is presented here for your information. It might be handy for writers and RPG-ers of speculative fiction (Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror) looking for ideas for, and rationals behind, their invented universe or world setting.

The Multi-Verse Digest

In its broadest sense a multiverse (or meta-universe) is a collection of multiple universes, any number of which could be very similar to or very different from our own and each other. Many types of multiverse (and universes within them) have been theorised and none, some or all could exist simultaneously either together or apart. Here is a list of the basic types of multiverse that could exist… maybe.

The Cyclic or ‘Yo-yo’ Multiverse:
Our universe is one in a potentially infinite series of expanding and contracting universes that each end in a big-crunch before spawning the next with another big-bang. Every big-bang could reincarnate the universe in a slightly or even drastically different form.

The Wider Cosmological or ‘Infinite’ Multiverse:
Our universe is everything within the cosmological horizon… but what about beyond that horizon, are there a potentially infinite number of other universes out there in the great unknown void beyond our observable universe? Possibly… in fact, probably. When dealing with an infinity almost anything is possible and, to varying degrees, probable. So a vast and massively varied amount of other universes almost HAS to be out there.

The Quantum Split or ‘Spooky’ Multiverse:
The basic building blocks of our universe, the sub-atomic quanta, can be observed in a range of possible manifestations – each with a different probability or likelihood of appearing. What if each of these possible observations correspond to a different manifest universe – running parallel or parallax to ours on weirdly different, strange sounding, M-theory dimensions, strings or branes. At the quantum level all matter and energy may be linked, bound or entangled through time, space or extra dimensions with their counter-part quantile manifestations. Some or all quanta may exist in multiple places, times or dimensions at once. Many theorist’s use these apparent spooky properties of quanta to extrapolate wormholes and the potential for gateways or portals to another universal place, time, or even parallel world.

The Time-streams or ‘What if?’ Multiverse:
This extrapolation of the Quantum Split Multiverse stipulates that every random event has many possible outcomes and connotations – each with a different probability. A die throw has six possible outcomes, each leading to a slightly different but equally possible future. What if all those possible futures play out in different branching time-lines – each equivalent to a whole parallel universe ultimately leading back in time to the same initial causal event – whether its a Big-Bang or not?

The Dark or ‘Mysterious’ Multiverse:
The observable universe appears to be lacking a great deal when it comes to matter and energy. Where is it and what is it doing? We only know of (can see) about 5% of the matter and energy that should be in our universe. The rest we have labelled (for want of better terms) Dark Matter (27%) and Dark Energy (68%). What if this hidden unknown is beyond our normal perception, it occupies the same space or void but is on different continuum or continua, or has the same continuum but occupies a different space or void. These would not so much be different universes but would be quantum flip, dark or just other-world versions or slants of ours.

The Virtual or ‘Matrix’ Multiverse:
The computer simulated virtual worlds we can create are getting more and more advanced. Eventually we will be able to virtually simulate a world that is, for all intents and purposes, as convincing and ‘real’ as our own actually ‘real’ one. There could be multiple digital copies of these virtual worlds and in some they could create virtual worlds of there own as we have. This of course begs the question – how do you know if the ‘real’ world you are in now IS the ‘real’ world and not just one of many created by a Cosmic Programmer trying out different scenarios? Also – it rears the soul-destroying prospect of being in a virtual simulation within a virtual simulation… within a virtual simulation… and on and on ad-infinitum.

The Mathematical or ‘Ultimate’ Multiverse:
Mathematical possibility and probability provides an ultimate multiverse that contains every mathematically possible universe made manifest according to different laws of physics, varying constants and differing initial conditions. The rational behind this theory is – if something is mathematically possible it must exist… somewhere. If it can exist – it will… especially in an infinite multiverse.

The Speculative or ‘Fictional’ Multiverse:
Many gifted story tellers have created believable fantasy worlds as the imaginative stage on which their tales are dramatised. Any of them could be real in an infinite multiverse of possibilities. There could be a universe where those fictitious events took place. There could be a universe where H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos is real, there could be one where Game of Thrones is actually happening and there could be one where the Galactic Empire relies on the control of a very rare spice from an obscure desert planet called Dune.

There could be universes out there where any form of magic system is real, or where the Force from Star Wars is real, or really Gothic ones where ghosts, werewolves and zombies roam among us and the vampiric Count Dracula is an actual historical character.

As counter-intuitive as it may seem for a relatively scientific speculation on the nature of everything – in an infinite multiverse there could be universes where any connotation of the religious or philosophical beliefs that we have invented while on this planet Earth IS real and true… for me – that is the most terrifying possibility of all.

What is a universe and what types of universe are there? Coming soon!

Check out Harbinger451’s own exercise in the fictional world building of an alternative parallel universe: Gaea Parallaxis.

Brought to your attention by Harbinger451.

Copyright © 2013 Harbinger451 – All Rights Reserved


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The 451 ePublishing Haus is open for business with the 1st Dollar Dreadful eBook

Posted by Harbinger451 on October 12, 2013

The 451 ePublishing Haus CategoryThe 451 ePublishing Haus is the digital publishing arm of Harbinger451.co.uk and will be bringing you a whole range of eBooks, both for free and to buy, soon. This branch of our site has launched with the publication of the first volume in our Dollar Dreadful series, a periodical collection of original Dark Genre short fiction for the staggeringly low price of $1 – each volume of which will feature three tales of terror and dread  – from the best indie writers out there – that fall under the wider genre of horror but may include speculative, mystery and noir themes that are geared toward adult tastes.  So, by definition, they will probably contain extreme themes and situations of a profane, violent, horrific or sexual nature. Expect adult language and situations as well as overt violence and gore! You have been warned!

Dollar Dreadful Vol. 1: A Tangle of Shadows - Cover

This first volume in the Dollar Dreadful series brings together three shocking short stories from M. L. Hart – a superb collection that is all about sex and death. Each story, told in M. L. Hart’s absolutely distinctive voice, tackles this eternal preoccupation with Eros and Thanatos, taking in themes of religion, power and control, mental illness, deviancy, violence, pyromania and murder. They are deft, sensual and fully realised – maintaining their intrinsic force throughout and not letting up until the tale is done. The stories do not fit easily into any one genre, featuring instead a blend of many that is characteristic of this exciting, unusual writer. You can find more info, buy and download as PDF, MOBI or EPUB for only $1 HERE.

The 451 ePublishing Haus has further eBook series planned that include Master Works from the fields of Philosophy, Mythology, the Occult, History, the Sciences and the Speculative Arts; also Horror genre classics are featured in our Dark Matter series – the first of which will be a massive collection of H. P. Lovecraft’s fantastic cosmic horror fiction. Find out more HERE.

As well as the Dollar Dreadful series we’ll also be publishing new and original dark alternative genre fiction – with an adult readership in mind – in our Anti-Verse and Multi-Verse eBook series – that are more fantasy and sci-fi oriented but still with an undercurrent of horror. We hope to soon be publishing detailed guides expanding the Anti-Hero RPG rules, the Universal Mythos system of occultism and the Gravy Train Express guide to making money online. Read more about these eBooks HERE.

Brought to your attention by Harbinger451.

Copyright © 2013 Harbinger451 – All Rights Reserved


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