Friday, August 14, 2015

The Call of Cthulhu Review

Review of The Call of Cthulhu:  The Call of Cthulhu is a thrilling short story about a creature that by merely knowing of his existence, places you in danger.
By BenduKiwi (Unknown) via Wikimedia Commons
Source: CC-BY-SA-3.0

If you like Edgar Allan Poe, you will definitely enjoy H.P. Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu."

My son introduced me to this author by suggesting that I read "The Call of Cthulhu."  I was so enthralled in this short story that I didn't put the book down until I had read the last word.

This is a review that will no doubt surprise my friends and follows because I don't normally like horror stories, but this one has a paralyzing effect on the reader and I was simply too mesmerized to stop reading.

Apparently I am not alone!



 

 

The Call of Cthulhu Short Story Synopsis

Written by Cynthia Sylvestermouse


 The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)The Call of Cthulhu is a thrilling short story about a creature that by merely knowing of his existence, places you in danger.  From the very beginning of the story, you feel as if you are being entrusted with a great secret that could cost you your life.  In the days that followed my first reading of this tale, I found myself glancing in dark corners with a certain "expectancy."

This story starts as a narration by Francis Wayland Thurston who was named as the executor of his granduncles estate.  His uncle, George Gammell Angell, died after an encounter with a unidentifiable dock worker.  In sorting through his granduncle's effects, Francis finds a bas-relief of a mysterious alien entity.  He was intrigued by this cast and conducts an investigation of its origin and meaning. What he finds is horrific!  It seems that an encounter with this "creature" results in mental illness or death.

Actually nothing could describe this story better than the very opening statements of the tale.  "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.  We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.  The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."



About the Author, H. P. Lovecraft

A True Literary Genius

 

Source: Wikimedia Commons
"Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 - March 15, 1937) was an American author of horror, fantasy, and science fiction, known then simply as weird fiction."

Like so many other great authors and artists, Lovecraft had a very limited following during his life.  His reputation as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century, has only been established since his death.

With so many products, books sold, and cult following status, it seems quite the shame that Mr. Lovecraft himself, never got to enjoy any of the proceeds and know the extent he has touched so many lives. 

Stephen King has called Lovecraft "the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale."

Not that I would have as much influence as Stephen King, but I must say that I honestly have never read more captivating tales than those that were written by H. P. Lovecraft.



Call of Cthulhu Games & DVD's


This short story has also inspired a role-playing game similar to Dungeons and Dragons.   If there are only two of you who want to play, don't worry there is also a boxed card game.   And for those of you who prefer a video game, fear not!   An Xbox game has been produced for you.

I have not seen any of the Cthulhu videos, but I do know there are a couple of different versions to choose available.



 Cthulhu 12 Inch Plush Inspired by HP Lovecraft

Cute Cthulhu?


There are actually quite a few "cute" Cthulhu puppets, plush and other toys also available.  Not everything is eerie or scary.

My own son carried a Cthulhu backpack for several years to school.  If you didn't know the story of Cthulhu, you would have just thought it was a funny green creature backpack.

He also has several of the Cthulhu plush, including a Cthulhu Christmas wreath.




The Cthulhu Birthday Cake

 

A few years ago,  I made a Cthulhu birthday cake for my son.   In true Cthulhu form, the cake split down the center and started falling apart before I could even finish drawing the image!

It was, as if, Cthulhu was breathing down my back.  I felt chills and an eerie sense of being "haunted."

Cthulhu Cake by Sylvestermouse

Weird, you say?   Absolutely!


My Personal Opinion of Cthulhu

 

Cthulhu is a work of literary fiction, but it is very easy for me to embrace the idea that there is a demon (my word) roaming this earth stealing minds, driving man to insanity or suicide.

I have noticed when I read other critiques of this story, that each one had a different emphasis.   I find it fascinating that we all read the same short story, but were "touched" in such a wide variety of ways.

Perhaps one of the reasons this short story has been so popular is because we can all define Cthulhu by our own established personal beliefs.   I would love to hear what you think about the story.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

9 comments:

  1. As much as I don't care for horror style fiction, I think I just might have to read this one after your amazing review. I had forgotten that Lovecraft wrote horror; I am more familiar with his fantasy and sci-fi tales. To borrow a word from Stephen King, Lovecraft was truly a "wordslinger" much like a man who was expert with a gun might be called a gunslinger; his way with the telling of a story is always captivating.

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  3. My introduction to H.P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu came from my son-in-law and daughter, artists and Sci Fi fans. They attend a Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention in St. Louis each year (Archon) and usually have a table with their Sci-Fi and fantasy related artwork for sale. A few years ago they took a bunch of my handmade crocheted octopus babies and put them all in a basket and labeled it 'Cthulhu'. They sold out immediately! Ever since, I use the word Cthulhu in the title & tags for my baby octopus online listings. :) I've actually never read H.P. Lovecraft, but I am aware (in the realm of Science Fiction Fans) how popular his works are, especially the Cthulhu! The Cthulhu has certainly 'called' to me in an unusual way.

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  4. Love your review. Sounds like something my son would like too! A few years back, upon his recommendation, I read some of the Vampire books. Not my thing but I really enjoyed them. Sons can do that to you!

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  5. Seriously, your review of this may have sealed the deal for me reading my second horror story in history (usually am too chicken to read them) but this sounds excellent. My last horror story was in the 1970's I think, 'The Exorcist'. I could barely sleep at night!

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  6. Oh hey! Here's one I've never read and have always meant to. I love horror movies, but I've never found horror books to read in the genre that I like best - supernatural horror. Duh - why didn't I think of H.P. Lovecraft? Thanks for the tip and the review!

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  7. My son introduced me to Cthulhu. I watched a pretty good movie of it and it was not gory or overly graphic like today's movies. It was released in 2005 but was made in black and white to look like a silent movie from the 1920's. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478988/

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  8. Great Review. I think I'm still too chicken to read Cthulhu, but it does sound interesting.

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  9. Good thing you reviewed this for me, as I know I won't have the nerve to read it!

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