Howard Phillips has an eldritch dream in this brief tale by
J. Chapman Miske in posthumous collaboration with Lovecraft himself.
The Thing in the Moonlight is based on a letter dated November 24, 1927 from H. P. Lovecraft to Donald Wandrei, and this was prepared for publication by Miske, who created a terse and somewhat clumsy frame story for Lovecraft’s description of his dream. This is how it appeared when first published in the January 1941 issue of Bizarre magazine, with an illustration by Walter E. Marconette.
The Tibetan Scorpion Protection Yantra, which is generally associated with the practices of Guru Dragpo, a wrathful form of Padmasambhava, who holds the creature in the outstretched left hand. Protection against demons, obstacles, negativity. (Block Print, 17 c.)
I find it surprising that in all the criticism I’ve heard regarding Lovecraft, not once have I seen any mention of the fact that much of his subject matter, and his style of writing in general - was a rehash of William Hope Hodson.
Hodgson was a sailor who lived in the late 1800s and would eventually die in world war one. Most of his writing was a mixture of horror and fantasy focused on strange events happening at sea.
However he also wrote some more explicitly “cosmic horror” style stories. One example is The Night Land where a 1700s dandy wakes up in the extreme future when the sun has gone cold and the last remnants of humanity are locked away in a pyramid shaped arcology. The world outside the arcology is literally a vast unknown filled with unidentifiable monsters seeking to extinguish humanity at a moments notice.
We certainly agree on a few things; Lovecraft is deserving
of criticism. His viewpoints on race, women, gays, etcetera were, at least in
writing, deliberately and determinedly vitriolic. Thankfully, he was not particularly
influential in life outside of a smallish circle of devotees and protégés.
We also wholeheartedly agree on the fact that Hodgson was a
pioneering writer with deeply original ideas. His novel House on the Borderland is singular, striking, and stays with you
after you read it. Plus, he was hot, 10/10.
Lovecraft was perhaps a 0.5/10, if he was obscured partially
by an evil-smelling foetid mist and didn’t speak at all.
And any reader of weird fiction eventually checks the dates
on Hodgson’s tales and realizes that ol’ Howard borrowed liberally from Hodgson’s
groundbreaking concepts on “what was scary,” so to speak.
However, Lovecraft’s fictional output is just as broad and
diverse as Hodgson’s. (Using the word diverse to describe Lovecraft, ugh, shoot
me, lol.) He wrote entirely fantastic pieces, such as Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath which owe far more to Dunsany than to
Hodgson. Some of his Gothic works, such as The Outsider, are echoes of Poe. His meticulously ‘New England’ pieces such as Charles Dexter Ward embrace a style and content entirely his
own, which achieves full realization in Dunwich
Horror, Whisperer in Darkness, and
Mountains of Madness.
The similarity of some of his fictional output to other
authors was a shortcoming as a writer that Lovecraft was aware of, and strove
to improve. From a 1929 letter: “There are my ‘Poe’ pieces and my ‘Dunsany
pieces’—but alas—where are my Lovecraft pieces?”
It is a pity he
lacked this self-awareness outside of his writing to address some of his other,
more egregious flaws.
Lovecraft and Hodgson both deliberately employed archaic
language for effect in their fiction, which is definitely another point of
similarity, yet their prose reads very differently. Sentence structure,
vernacular and ‘rhythms’ are distinct and unlike.
Lovecraft had many literary influences, Dunsany and Poe chief
among them, but Hodgson’s contributions to his idea of what “made horror scary”
should not be overlooked. That being
said, I think it would be a mistake to dismiss the genuine uniqueness of many
of Lovecraft’s stories and ideas.
This was Milligan’s first feature to be shot in 35mm at his home on Staten Island. An absolutely hallucinatory dose of bargain basement Grand Guignol, the film tells the story of the miserable marriage between incognito werewolf Lawrence Talbot and Dracula’s daughter, Regina. Regina’s peculiar vampiric condition requires constant injections made from cannibalistic plants.
Though the lack of budget for this production is glaringly apparent, and Milligan’s films are characterized by the sordid deeds of unsympathetic characters, his movies often have a raw artistic quality that transcends their limitations. Hope Stansbury, here playing Regina, Daughter of Dracula, gives a delightfully demented performance. Also of note are the gorgeous costumes created and sewn by Milligan himself, though he uses his pseudonym Raffiné in the opening credits.