Monday, October 17, 2011
The Call of Cthulhu, by H.P. Lovecraft
This is the ICONIC story that has inspired games, movies, comics, etc. etc., almost so much that I should tag it as 'Classic' as well.
The story is based on the writings of fictional character Francis Wayland Thurston, found among his belongings after his death. Within them, he describes having found notes left by his granduncle, whose abrupt death was somewhat questionable. Along with the writings was found a small figurine that Mr. Thurston describes as "A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings", which is later identified to represent Cthulhu. Further research reveals that this figurine was used in "voodoo-esque" rituals in which human bodies are being used by a cult that's formed to worship the "Great Old Ones". Thurston uncovers a lot of history behind the cult and eventually sets out on his own to investigate a shipwreck of suspicious detail, which leads him to conclude that he now knows too much and will likely be killed, for "the cult still lives".
There are certain subjects that, to me, are more likely to induce fear. Cult activity and ritual sacrifice are among those. This is one of my favorites for that reason. It not only includes a lot of those topics, but presents them in such a way that they're so conceivably being read from actual manuscripts found among a dead man's personal belongings. I also feel that overall this story is more likely to appeal to those that aren't necessarily huge Lovecraft fans, because its focus is a lot more on ritual and rumor and less on the beasts themselves.