On Art: Books

Last updated July 25th, 2006

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I'll quickly write down something about Lovecraft's "religion" because it's very
complex and also different in every story.

The ELDER GODS are the supreme rulers of the universe. They banished the
evil gods when these abused their power, but unfortunately, then they went to
Since then, these evil gods have been lying in wait, waiting for the chance to
take over the earth again, and start their hellishly apocaliptic regime again.
They're sleeping, waiting... in the undiscovered cities in the Poles (Kadath in
the cold waste), in the ocean, on other planets. They have names like Azatoth,
the idiot god who lives in the nuclear chaos in the centre of the universe, and
Yog-Sototh, the "Keeper of the Gate". Both Ctulhu and Nyarlatothep are not
real gods, but only half-gods, and so the term Ctulhu Mythos is not right.

The OLD ONES are not gods, but extraterrestrials who came to live here when
the earth was young, 50 or 150 million years ago. They're either evil or benign
and wise, they look like pink crabs (who have been observed marching in mili-
tary fashion in the woods in Whisperer in Darkness) or vaguely octopus-like
giants (who gather all information about the universe, past, present and future,
in The shadow out of time, and another colony of them is found frozen in At
the mountains of madness
). Preferably, the cosmic happenings take place in
very large buildings and cities: "cyclopean" is Lovecraft's favorite word.
What's interesting is that when time passed, L's evil beings became less evil. In
The dreamquest of unknown Kadath the same ghouls who were so terrible in
Pickman's model, are quite friendly and helpful pals, and Pickman has a good
chat with Nyarlatothep too, who appears to him in the shape of a comely young
man. And in Through the gates of the silver key, Randolph Carter becomes
good friends with Yog-Sototh.
In most of Lovecraft's stories someone is reading in the Necronomicon. That's
an ancient book full of spells etc and just about anything that comes in handy
in the story. It has become so famous that it's often asked for in libraries. Many
other writers, and films, have taken it up.

It's very interesting, yesterday I read The Call of Ctulhu, this is the first story
in which Ctulhu is mentioned, and Lovecraft hasn't worked out his myth here.
He says Ctulhu is the leader of "things" which are called "old ones". But in the
next story he writes "Ctulhu is Their cousin, yet he can only dimly spy Them".
Because The Call is one of the best-known stories, many people seem to think
Ctulhu is the leader of the gods. How stupid. Like these Hollywood producers
who hastily leafed through Lovecraft's stories and embarked on yet another
corny film production which appropriates his name but has nothing to do with
his stories. Lovecraft's first story is Dagon. Dagon is a real god from antiquity;
there's a film called Dagon, the story is roughly that of "Shadow over Inns-
", but there's a god being adored called Dagon, while a chorus sings
"Ctulhu Phtagn". That chorus is interesting, the film is just rubbish swept to-
gether, with some sex thrown in, for the sake of the cash register. Imagine,
Lovecraft and heterosex! There's no such thing. The only women in Love-
craft's world are hags, crones and "ancient beldames". But these producers put
Lovecraft's name on their trash, like they did with Poe's in the 50s and 60s,
dragging a dead author through the mud. Sacrilege! What a pity there are so
few beautiful, serious horror films. I'd like to see one.

Adriaan Brolsma.

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