Haunter in the Dark

As I was reading this little HP Lovecraft horror story, which is arguably the lynchpin in his entire oeuvre, I realised that Lovecraft is not a good writer because he’s too busy listing bits here and there with thrown in weird-fiction-like adjectives to describe the drab settings he places characters in rather than entering deeply into that setting to unsettle the reader.

His characters are always on the periphery, observers safe at a distance of lifetimes, that are looking in at eldritch entities from a vantage point too safe to be scary.

Thus these “unknowable” things can barely be deemed such out of a sheer sense of security in the reader. Until the end of his stories when that safety blanket crumbles a little as the main character gets to personally know the knowledge these unknowable things can convey. Usually through a dream, which is quite safe also really.

Where he is great is his imagination. Rooted in despair and evoking dread, Lovecraft’s stories envelop you in a sense of foreboding anxiety and dire interest in the cosmic occult. He’s infectious in what he portrays but not in how he portrays it. Mostly lacklustre yet never forgettable.

If there is one thing I think is necessary when reading Lovecraft is to read over 400 pages of his short stories, so around 50 stories, to gain the necessary insight on what he has achieved and what he was trying to say. Bleak and weird but utterly profound in how long it stays with you after the fact.

The greatest Lovecraftian story you can read though is Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’ Providence. An amalgam of all his stories taken literally. Brilliant, really.

Worst kind of email

The worst type of email you can get from someone is someone who is barely a colleague telling you how to do your job. From their end, there’s confusion about what you do. Who’s fault is that? Why does that happen? People lack information about what you do and what they should be doing in relation to working with you. To be honest, I recommend giving it a day before sending a reply to set ’em straight.

Coming 2 America

They’re making Coming to America 2 with Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall and the rest of the cast. They are actually making a sequel and the ‘to’ is a ‘2’ in the title. I don’t know if I should be feeling nostalgic about this, I don’t think I can. Eddie Murphy nowadays is just not funny. I’ve tried to laugh for him, I have, but I just can’t. He was a comedy god in the 80s, you can’t deny that. Timeless stuff. But nowadays his comedy is just lame. Man, this is weird. What is going on in Hollywood.

8 1/2

I finally sat down to watch Fellini’s 8 1/2, a film that’s been ranked as one of the all time greats. I can see why, but I also couldn’t finish it. It’s a director’s film not a writer’s film.

Fellini achieved some visual magic for sure but the writing in it – the dialogue, the actions – are after a while quite maddening. Yet the film is stylistically flawless, and it feels as if it hasn’t aged that much some 40 or 50 years later. Most of the performances hold up as well, especially the protagonist and the people closest to him. It’s just that the actual film is difficult to watch the more it goes on. The tortured feelings of an artist that it portrays quite well in some ways are what make it a hard pill to swallow.

There’s not much of a story there, a director trying to get a movie together, who begins to doubt himself amid a circus of showbiz types and members of the Catholic Church. But even describing it like that isn’t actually what it’s about because so much of it is just about the things happening in between getting the movie together.

So the reason why I needed a break from it 20 minutes out from it’s end was the ceaseless, nonsense dialogue that got too much for me. By that point in the movie there are these hallucinatory scenes, which coupled with dialogue that sounds like people complaining constantly, which it pretty much was, I could feel my own sanity slipping. The dialogue does not stop. No one stops talking, there are no silences, no breaks. It’s fine for the most part but something clicked about that and I clocked off.

So this movie is the type of movie where you need to drink a lot of coffee to watch it and preferably in the morning when you have nothing to do. Neither of which I did. But I will. I’ll finish it off and give it a 5/5 for driving me crazy just because of how well it’s shot, how unique it is.

Pirate Radio

Cooper’s missing. 

It’s been 72 hours since he disappeared and the police are yet to do anything about it. They’re spread thin chasing leads about a spree of weird incidents across town. 

Cooper’s two best friends, Lara and Audrey, both deeply in love with the lad, have decided to search for him – even though he stopped talking to Audrey after a long date with Lara.

The two girls searched for Cooper at his last known location, behind the bar on the edge of town, where Lara admitted to Audrey she was kissing him after they asked a stranger to buy them a pack of beers. Besides that they know Cooper’s parents, who are even meaner to Cooper than they are to themselves, are doing nothing to help.

While the girls found nothing at the scene, many of the townsfolk were praying for the lad that night because the pastor had asked them too. Lara and Audrey knew this, they were at church when the pastor acted in accordance with his position in the community. But what the girls didn’t know was that some of these townsfolk were praying around a black cauldron boiling with oil and bone.

A text from an unknown number with the single word “unchanged” was sent to Audrey’s phone just as the two were leaving. It included an attachment of an image of Cooper before he met up with Lara. Specifically, he was sitting at the truckstop diner drinking a strawberry milkshake.

The girls made their way there and entered the diner with concerned looks, which at that time of night were not the looks two young girls should have while so many unseemingly types were around: truckers and drunks looking to do anything to not yet go home. However, none of them were paying the girls any attention. In fact, they were all too busy listening to a pirate radio station blast on about what the police had cornered inside the old Mill.

As the search for Cooper continued to turn up false leads, Lara overheard a biker at the diner mention how some young lad with lanky limbs he had working for him was no longer the person he made himself out to be. She tried to put certain thoughts out of her head, quickly shifting focus back to Audrey. Someone needed to, Audrey was young, immature and in way over her head as she tried to put the moves on a couple of loggers chowing down on turkey-burgers at a booth. She wanted to press them for information, but Lara put a stop to it. “Maybe he’s been like this all along…?” Lara thought. She couldn’t get it out of her head and hated how paranoid she was becoming because of all this.

In the mill across town, exactly eight police officers, the entire town’s police force, were inside the building, standing in front of a large office with no windows, signalling to each other to bolster defensive positions and make sure the thing inside had no way of getting out.

At the pirate radio station, the DJ quickly added in that a young lad with black hair and lanky limbs had been spotted with another man in a black “wizard’s hat” just outside the east side trailer park. He then thanked the locals and their commitment to the neighbourhood watch program. Lara and Audrey immediately knew it was Cooper because no one else could be described as lanky limbed. The DJ followed it up with that a man with a similar description as the one wearing the black plastic wizard’s hat was last week reported to have been fleeing Ned Dickens’ farm after one of his cows became violently ill.

As the girls were leaving the diner, a trucker asked them if they would like a lift to wherever it was they were going. They kindly declined, but he insisted he could get them to where they needed to be, such as the trailer park, faster than their feet ever could. Lara gave the man the finger before running out the door with Audrey in tow. They ran across the gravel car park outside the diner, stopping just at the road. It was dark out. They looked back to see if anyone was following but no one had bothered. In fact, inside the diner looked dark, like the lights were all off. But before they could think much of it, a red porsche came speeding to a stop right next to them. In the driver’s seat was a young man with black hair and lanky limbs, but it wasn’t Cooper. “Get in,” he said. “I’m going to the trailer park too.”