In the car yesterday I listened to two excellent narrations of Lovecraft short stories. And I marvelled upon re-encountering the opening paragraph of “The Picture in the House” from 1919.
Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places. For them are the catacombs of Ptolemais, and the carven mausolea of the nightmare countries. They climb to the moonlit towers of ruined Rhine castles, and falter down black cobwebbed steps beneath the scattered stones of forgotten cities in Asia. The haunted wood and the desolate mountain are their shrines, and they linger around the sinister monoliths on uninhabited islands. But the true epicure in the terrible, to whom a new thrill of unutterable ghastliness is the chief end and justification of existence, esteems most of all the ancient, lonely farmhouses of backwoods New England; for there the dark elements of strength, solitude, grotesqueness, and ignorance combine to form the perfection of the hideous.
Andrew Leman does a great job with “Picture“, and Bruce Green likewise with “From Beyond“. But there’s one annoying glitch in Green’s otherwise stellar performance. The mad scientist in “From Beyond” is named Crawford Tillinghast. Green consistently pronounces his surname “Tilling-hast”. But this should surely be “Tilling-gast“: cf. Prendergast, ghastly, aghast, Gormenghast.
Thanks to Joel for introducing me to the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast.