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By H. P. Lovecraft

The Dunwich Horror and Others

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The Dunwich Horror and Others
By H. P. Lovecraft


The Dunwich Horror and Others, written by H. P. Lovecraft and published by Arkham House, is one of those books which I think every fan of horror literature ought to own. It is literally THAT good. The book contains the best of Lovecraft’s collected short fiction. Of all of the four main Arkham House books containing Lovecraft’s non-poetry, I’d say this is probably the best, only challenged by At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels. The cosmic horror of H. P. Lovecraft is something that has to be read to be believed. I’ve begun to read many of the authors who have intentionally tried to mimic the Old Man’s work, and also many who have been influenced by him in some way, and although some come close, no one I’ve yet read seems to do cosmic horror in quite the same way as Lovecraft. As you can see if you peruse the ratings below, what I thought were the worst stories still received 7/10. Buy this book, and make sure you buy the hardcover edition from Arkham House. It is one that will be sitting proudly in my bookcase for as long as I live. The book is handsomely bound in cloth. In fact, for anyone who is into the Civil War era, these books bear a striking resemblance to books published by Morningside Books, a Civil War book publisher. In any event, like Poe’s Complete Tales and Poems, like any of King’s short story collections, and like The Dark Descent, a collection of some of the greatest horror short stories ever printed, I wholeheartedly and without reservation recommend that you buy this book. It is a 10/10, no question.

“In The Vault”
By H. P. Lovecraft
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “God, what a rage! I’d hate to have it aimed at me!”

Comments: Revenge is a dish best served cold, at least according to gypsies. Asaph Sawyer was definitely cold when he got his final revenge!


“Pickman’s Model”
By H. P. Lovecraft
Rating: 8/10
Quote: “But by God, Eliot, it was a photograph from life.”

Comments: I’ve heard of the story Pickman’s Model before, especially since it was made into a television episode for the Night Gallery horror anthology series. I never knew exactly what the title implied until now.


“The Rats in the Walls”
By H. P. Lovecraft
Rating: 9/10
Quote: “When I speak of poor Norrys they accuse me of a hideous thing, but they must know I did not do it.”

Comments: I’ve read “The Rats in the Walls” before and it’s a very good story. Steven King’s short story “Jerusalem’s Lot” has some similarities to it, in addition to also seeming a lot like a Poe story.


“The Outsider”
By H. P. Lovecraft
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “Then the moon came out.”

Comments: Who is the outsider? Is he alive or (un)dead? Does he himself know? This was another one with a sort of Poe-ish quality.


“The Colour Out of Space”
By H. P. Lovecraft
Rating: 10/10
Quote: “can’t git away…draws ye…ye know summ’at’s comin’, but ‘tain’t no use….”

Comments: This is one of my favorite Lovecraft stories, and one which I’ve read before. I’ve always wondered about the implication of all the people of Arkham drinking water from the tainted reservoir. Chilling…


“The Music of Erich Zann”
By H. P. Lovecraft
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “I have never met a person who has seen the Rue d’Auseil.”

Comments: Where was the narrator staying in his college years if he can’t find it back? And what horrors were lurking out there in blackest space beyond the garret window?


“The Haunter of the Dark”
By H.P. Lovecraft
Rating: 9/10
Quote: “I am Robert Blake, but I see the tower in the dark.”

Comments: I enjoyed this one very much. This was Lovecraft's response to Robert Bloch's story “The Shambler from the Stars”. I find it amusing that the two friends managed to kill off the other's likeness in their "tribute" stories.


“The Picture in the House”
By H.P. Lovecraft
Rating: 8/10
Quote: “Queer haow a cravin’ gits a holt on ye.”

Comments: As the narrator says, some houses are better off being torn down. Maybe he should have mentioned the crazy old Puritans who live in them too! Good thing there was a thunderstorm or who knows what might have happened…


“The Call of Cthulhu”
By H.P. Lovecraft
Rating: 9/10
Quote: “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”

Comments: I’m relatively new to Lovecraft, but I’ve read and enjoyed this one several times. I’ve always loved the way HPL has narrators who are about to die for their knowledge, or whose knowledge is hidden away for someone to find. In this way the world is warned of the Great Old Ones.


“The Dunwich Horror”
By H.P. Lovecraft
Rating: 10/10
Quote: “What was it, anyhaow, an’ however did young Wizard Whately call it aout o’ the air it come from?”

Comments: This was the first Lovecraft story I read. I was bored at work one day and a friend showed me a few places online where I could read Lovecraft’s stories. Needless to say I was hooked from the beginning, and my Lovecraftian collection of books began.


“Cool Air”
By H.P. Lovecraft
Rating: 9/10
Quote: “Dr. Torres knew, but the shock killed him.”

Comments: This was an excellent non-Mythos story. I think I saw something similar to this one time on a TV horror anthology series. If anyone knows which one I might be talking about please let me know.


“The Whisperer in Darkness”
By H.P. Lovecraft
Rating: 9/10
Quote: “Goodbye, smash that record, and don’t mix up in this.”

Comments: The change in tone from Akeley’s second-last to last letter is obviously suspicious to the reader. But, then, Lovecraft WANTS it to be obvious. This was one of Lovecraft’s lengthier short stories, but it is one of his very best.


“The Terrible Old Man”
By H.P. Lovecraft
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “Mr. Czanek had never before noticed the colour of that man’s eyes; now he saw that they were yellow.”

Comments: I liked this one a lot for its very short length, and would have given it a higher rating had it been a little longer. It’s one of those stories that allows the reader to conclude what he will. If you have any kind of imagination at all, Messrs. Ricci, Czanek, and Silva met a fate worse than death…


“The Thing on the Doorstep”
By H.P. Lovecraft
Rating: 9/10
Quote: “Her crowning rage, however, was that she was not a man; since she believed a male brain had certain unique and far-reaching cosmic powers.”

Comments: I had never read this one before, and I liked it tremendously. Poor Edward Derby would have been much better off if his parents hadn’t coddled him so much as a child and on into adulthood. It was this coddling which made him an easy target, like a fly caught in the spider’s web.


“The Shadow Over Innsmouth”
By H.P. Lovecraft
Rating: 10/10
Quote: “Thar’s whar it all begun—that cursed place of all wickedness whar the deep water starts.

Comments: I loved this one the first time I read it, and it only seems to get better with future readings. I especially enjoy the resolution, and what it reveals to our narrator.


“The Shadow Out of Time”
By H.P. Lovecraft
Rating: 10/10
Quote: “Then, all too truly, there lies upon this world of man a mocking and incredible shadow out of time.”

Comments: Why can’t I get the image of gigantic, time-traveling, living Christmas trees out of my head? This was another lengthier short story, but it was also an incredibly good one, which tied together many of Lovecraft’s strange beings and places.


433 pp.

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