Tag Archives: horror

Gifts of Lovecraft

If you’re anything as lucky as me, then you’ve found a significant other/trans-dimensional monster hunter/mental patient to share your life with, however short that may be. And if your beloved and accursed life partner is an enthusiast, nay, a votary, of all things weird and macabre, then you might need a little help finding the inspired gifts to show them the horrific holiday, blighted birthday or abhorrent anniversary you both deserve! These Lovecraftian artifacts will spell out your love beyond the ageless æons and non-Euclidean space, as the dread Cthulhu has already permeated our modern popular culture with its putrid tentacles… of doom.

BOOKS & ART

Whether a long-time devotee or curious neophyte, anyone interested in ‘the Mythos‘ could find no better place to delve than these gorgeous collections, The Eldritch Tales and the Necronomicon. The faux-leather covers and gold-embossed Les Edwards illustrations (not to mention the inside Virgil Finlay sketch of Howard Phillips Lovecraft) make these commemorative editions a must-have. Notably,  Robert E. Howard‘s Conan the Barbarian is also collected in a similar series, as the two share a contextual history. Then again, a lot of fictional universes dip into the Cthulhu Mythos, from some of Stephen King‘s short stories to Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea‘s Illuminatus! Trilogy, and even more recently, episodes of South Park.

Originally written for the pulp magazines of the 1920s and 1930s, H. P. Lovecraft’s astonishing tales blend elements of horror, science fiction, and cosmic terror that are as powerful today as they were when they were first published.

One might also gaze upon the maelstrom of aesthetes and devotees of the black arts, who have lent their skills to paintings, illustrations, sketches and essays of these mighty Elder Gods. The Lovecraft Retrospective is chock full of artists inspired by the Master of Horror Fiction, including H. R. Giger and Mike Mignola, among at least forty others (with an introduction by Harlan Ellison). Although Giger released his own Necronomicon work with an introduction by Clive Barker, and Mike Mignola, (in addition to doing a brilliant cover for a collection) also paid tribute to the man himself in the Codex Arcana. Not to mention the very looming presence of Ancient Ones in the Hellboy universe.

Or peruse the works of the late Jean Giraud, whether they be in full comic book form, or covers such as Lovecraft: Letters D’Arkham, Marginalia, 1975.

Speaking of art, it’s a damned shame (and I do mean damned) that, for copyright reasons, these hilarious crossovers, mash-ups or remixes are not available for purchase. Such as Murray Groat (A.K.A. Muzski)’s versions of Tintin within the Mythos, as Hergé/Moulinsart S.A.’s rights apply:

“I am getting alot of print requests by email, which is nice, but I have to sadly tell each and everyone of them that I cannot.”

cc5203223fe766c426332abee9c40d02.jpg

Or the multi-chaptered project to chronicle Bil Keane‘s The Family Circus as they fall into the inky æther of ‘unspeakable horrors.’

Or Dr. Faustus‘ Seussian retellings:

This is not to say, of course, that one cannot make a fine print of these deviations for personal, non-commercial use.

DRINK

One method of inducing a thrilling madness is to first enter a drunken stupor. Though many soporific aperitifs of the Eldritch abomination exist, only a few are readily extant and/or non-fictitious.

Demon’s Hop Yard IPA is brewed by Anheuser-Busch, Inc., and can be found in several states (Lovecraft’s ‘Devil’s Hopyard’ was in his fictional town of Dunwich).

Clear, bright golden, with copper hues topped with a thick, clinging hop-induced lace that trails the beer as it’s consumed. Aroma is dank, resiny and saturated with a pronounced herbal character.

Miskatonic Dark Rye is a vegan and organic ale from (where else?) Portland, Oregon brewing company Captured by Porches. I’m sure it’s what the students at Miskatonic U get soused on as they pore over dusty tomes in ancient libraries.

Smooth. Rye spiced with chocolate and wine tones. Light to medium bodied. Made with organic two row and malted wheat, rye, and oats. Malted with crystal and chocolate. Hopped with domestic tettnanger.

Others are more secret, nigh-mythical brews, such as the Limited Edition New Year’s Black IPA by Us Vs Them, inspired by the dark lord Cthulhu himself, which is either no longer available or lying asleep for centuries.

Premium 2 row barley, coloring and caramel flavor from 2 speciality malts…the blackness comes from a special de-husked roasted malt called Carafa Special 3… it does not impart that very roasty, astringent or bitter coffee flavor you’d find in a stout, however it does leave a deep, dark tone to the appearance. It was bittered with Chinook and flavored with Amarillo Centenial and Simcoe and fermented with a California Ale Yeast to accentuate the clean bitterness and hop flavors.

Cthulhu Custom Etched Shot Glass

Of course, one needs the proper receptacle to contain the evil spirits with designs on your mind and soul. Might I recommend either the tentacled pint glass, or the Cthulhu custom-etched shot glass, (and filled appropriately with Kraken rum)

A fine gift could be made of Jonathan Chaffin’s Horror in Clay tiki mug, and now that his Kickstarter goal has been made, perhaps in futures told they shall be hewn from matter most foul, but do not seem for sale to the public just yet.

And apparently, HPL was a fervent coffeeholic, with these subversive subcultures crossing in several ways, including the now extinct Cthulhu Coffee.

“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgahnagl fhtag”  ~ Me, after tasting the foul bitters aforementioned

TOYS

All manner of adorable plushies of the Dread Lord can be found, but some creative artisans have crafted their own worldly totems, as prescribed by the visions in their feverish dreams.

John Kovalic’s My Little Cthulhu:

The various knitted Cthulhu patterns:

Or the abominable HP Lovercraft figure by Alex CF:

My first DIY action figure project is a hand molded, cast and painted effigy of Lovecraft, along with a copy of the fabled and despised Necronomicon! Each figure will come as part of a larger box set – including a copy of a comic I have written and drawn, a screen printed t shirt, a screen printed poster, badge and sketch, all in a wax sealed box! These will be available very soon! email merrylinhouse@gmail.com for inquiries!

ENTERTAINMENT

Though many directors have been influenced by HPL’s works, not many have successfully conjured a faithful translation of those strange stories (see: Re-Animator). In 2005, however, director Andrew Leman brought one of the finest independent horror films into our world and onto the silent screen:

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society presents its all new silent film of The Call of Cthulhu. The famed story is brought richly to life in the style of a classic 1920s silent movie, with a haunting original symphonic score. Using the “Mythoscope” process — a mix of modern and vintage techniques, the HPLHS has worked to create the most authentic and faithful screen adaptation of a Lovecraft story yet attempted.


More importantly, for the purposes of gift-giving and love-making, a classic black & white flick is the perfect thing to curl up with your loved one on the couch, as a slowly creeping dread encompasses the both of you. (The prolific H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society also villainously vends the album A Shoggoth on the Roof, a CD of Lovecraftian carolsArkham Asylum Certificates of Insanity, and other cult relics.)

The Evil Dead 2 (Book Of The Dead 2 Limited Edition)But if you really want a really great date night, allow the self-parodying  Sam Raimi and manly-chinned Bruce Campbell to open a deathly portal of Dead-ites, with your very own Necronomicon bound in a horrid human face! This Limited Edition ‘Book of the Dead’ isn’t necessarily easy to find, but is full of artwork and special features, and will scream when pressed if in mint condition!

H. P. Lovecraft IH. P. Lovecraft II

H.P. Lovecraft, not so coincidentally, was also a psychedelic acid rock band in the late 1960’s. They only released two albums in 1967 and 1968 before breaking up, renaming and reforming, but their best work were these early nuggets. They’re not exactly horrific or amorous, but their imagery is evocative and dreamlike nonetheless.

TRAVEL

If you desire to steal your beloved away for the week-end, perhaps a themed holiday is in order. If out West, wander to The Lovecraft Bar in Portland, covered in demonic symbols and cosmic tentacles, and visit the annual H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and Cthulhu Con. Or make your way to L.A. for their version of the Eldritch Events. Florida each year holds the NecronomiCon, a science fiction, fantasy and horror convention now in its 31st year.

But for real historical ambiance, what could be more romantic than a getaway to New England, to the hexed locality that spawned so many legends of spirits and devils and witchcraft, and a never-ending litany of literary progeny, from Hawthorne and Poe to Lovecraft and King. Begin in Lovecraft’s hometown of Providence, Rhode Island (though the Angell St. family mansion was torn down in 1961). Take the walking tour of College Hill, his old stomping grounds. From there, expedition to Essex County, Massachusetts (Lovecraft commented often in his letters that Marblehead was one of his favorite towns, saying that he’d live there if he didn’t already live in Providence). The basis for many of the ports and towns in what came to be called Miskatonic County (with an eponymous river and University), or ‘Lovecraft Country,’ containing Dunwich, Innsmouth, Arkham, Kingsport and Billington’s Wood.File:Lovecraft Country.svg

Interestingly, the fictional county is close to Salem, already known for its occult history, and North of the Bridgewater Triangle, a modern hotbed of supposed paranormal activity.

MISCELLANY

If your fated partner cares not for those sweet nothings and sweeping gestures, perhaps the wretched aromatics of the Elder Gods will help spice things up, and the Picnic in Arkham: The Lovecraft Collection of perfumes by Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs:

Azathoth is the blind, idiot god who sits on a black throne at the center of Chaos. His scent is high-pitched and screeching, both impenetrably dark and searingly bright with the clarity of madness: tangerine, saffron, vetiver, black amber and cedarwood.

Shub-Niggurath! The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young, the All-Mother and wife of the Not-to-Be-Named-One. The lust incense of a corrupted Astarte. A blend of ritual herbs and dark resins, shot through with three gingers and aphrodisiacal spices.

The internet is resplendent with other mementos that profess your dark feelings, so be creative and think outside the box!

Diplomas:

Miskatonic Diploma (Herbert West) Poster

Purses:

And Elder thongs:

Chiquita Shares

CHIQUITA SHARES

Once upon a time there was a tiny island upon the land of which lived a tiny race of tiny people, whom where known as… “The Japanese.” Long ago there had been a tiny war with their embittered rival… “The America.” America, a great, expansive, faraway land, was a proud nation with great talk shows and chicken wings of great fire. They waged a great war with great bombs until a great peace treaty was signed. And it was all pretty great.
Over many years, the Japanese and the American economies fused into one amorphic symbiotic entity, an increasingly indistinguishable mixture in some sort of pot… with melting in it. I don’t know if you know where I’m going with that or not. The culture gap, thusly, was blurred as growing children of each nation were raised on the cartoons of the other. Leaders and speakers from each land slurred their languages together into one. And so it was, that Japan and America became… “Jamericorp.” A company dedicated to liberty, harmony, and low, low prices on all brand name items. Any vestige of former government was abandoned, forgotten for this new enterprise.
Soon after this abrupt and poorly crafted plot point was put into effect, the Japanese scientists renowned for developing square watermelons were contracted by Chiquita. Their project was top secret, the utmost in national security. In fact… I don’t think I should really be telling you this… hmmm… don’t know if I can trust you to… weeeell… hokay, you got an honest face. As it so happened, they were trying to create a single banana, independent of the rest of its bunch, large enough to feed a family of eighteen. (Ed: That’s how large the average Jamericorp family is. Yeah.) And they succeeded. And Chiquita shares went up forty points, giving them a total of… forty points.
But the Japanese scientists soon became very bored, as they are wont to do. They hypo-theorized: if this was all it took to feed a family of eighteen, then why not a family of twenty-seven, the age that Kurt Cobain died at? Or why not a small African village? Hell, why not even a moderately-sized African village? Why not Detroit? You know those scientists. They are all about the charity and stuff. So they developed a meta-banana, immense as a skyscraper and at least 20-60% tastier. (Ed: This does not include some of your well-known tastier towers such as the Coit Tower or that one in Pisa.) And they succeeded. Chiquita shares went up one hundred more points.
However, the scientists noticed that their meta-bananas, lacking meta-refrigeration, were becoming rotten shortly past their prototype phase, and that some of the larger and more meta of the bunch didn’t even make it past R&D. And so the scientists genetically altered the makeup of the banana’s DNA even further, endowing it with impenetrable peel and allowing the sweet and juicy innards to stay sweet… and juicy, rendering the banana invincible, as it were. (Ed: ‘As it were’? Shouldn’t it be ‘as they were’ or ‘as it was’? Whatever.) And they succeeded in doing so, and Chiquita shares went up one hundred and seventy points.
Again, they became very bored. They had exhausted all practical and ideal developments for the banana. So much so, in fact, that now these bananas could not even be opened to be eaten. Not only could they not be eaten, they couldn’t even be consumed. So they gave the bananas an artificial intelligence comparable to Nintendogs or Albert Gore. This banana would ripen on command and peel itself. And they succeeded, and as they did so, Chiquita shares went up ninety points.
But one fateful night, something went frightfully wrong. As the scientists slept in their tiny beds, Prototype Banana-43 awoke and, crashing through the minimally secured compound walls, (this is Japan, after all), headed the ludicrously crowded city of Tokyo. That’s right. Tokyo.
Kimi Fukishawa was the first to see the giant banana, and the first to meet her fruity fate. Standing atop her apartment building on the outskirts of town, smoking a cigarette, her eyes widened as they took in the monster, shaking off its debris. She let loose a horrendous scream, slightly out of sync with her lips. Her husband raced upstairs, but he was too late. All he found was trail of wreckage blocks wide, fiery carnage spewing from gas mains, and both his wife and half of his roof missing.
In the following days, madness ensued. The weak Japanese army and cheaply made American weapons were no match for the impregnable peel of the beast. Tanks toppled like Matchbox toys, and bodies smeared against the pavement resounding with terror! The death count reached into the millions, rose even higher, as the property damage counted in the million-billions! I’m not great at math, but I can assure you, that’s a fucking lot!
Screaming and running from what reporters and analysts had dubbed ‘Bananazilla,’ the masses were soon crushed under the enraged stem of deranged lunacy. Having utterly crushed Japan’s center of commerce, its economy inadvertently destroyed, and subsequently, America entering its worst Depression since the cancellation of TV’s Jeopardy!, Bananazilla retired to the Oceanic depths, waiting to strike again in a fervor of tyranny! Jamericorp ceased to be! The scientists, in their final moments, had decried their folly in playing God, and were now also dead. The remaining Japanese hid underground surviving on regimented diets of sewer-sushi and Li-Chi, millions of Americans with nothing to eat at all but mayonnaise, confused and wandering their emptied cities. Luxembourg became the world’s leading superpower. Didn’t see that one coming, didja?
There was no recovering, and there was no respite, for at any given place and at any given time, Bananazilla, scourge of humanity and developed civilization, could and would strike again. Wreaking havoc neatly and constantly striking fear into the already chilled souls of every man, woman, and tender child, each quaked, as they knew they were still at risk. The beast… hungered. It delighted only in darkness and the bringing of great nations to its knees, removing their proverbial jugular veins in a fit of willful and impassioned fury, when least suspected. It was, and still is out there somewhere, the embodiment of all that rings evil.
And Chiquita shares went down five hundred points…