H.P. Lovecraft – The Call of Cthulu
Every October I read something from the horror genre. This year, I chose Lovecraft’s most famous story. A common theme in his work is that humans go about their lives oblivious that they are at the mercy of ancient, terrible gods hibernating in the deep. In this story, the narrator, a young man, retraces the steps of his late uncle, a professor of ancient languages. The people he meet become progressively stranger, including a murderous cult in New Orleans, and he travels progressively further, finding exotic ruins in Greenland with ancient texts describing a city called R’lyeh and something called Cthulu. He eventually ends up in the South Pacific, and meets the sole survivor of a ship that landed at R’lyeh, awakened the sleeping Cthulu, and barely survived the encounter. The man was driven mad by the experience, and his story is filled with nightmare-like imagery of shifting forms, non-Euclidean geometry, running, falling, and the immortal, tentacle-faced ancient Cthulu’s relentless pursuit, and instant recovery from its wounds.
Lovecraft’s tale also inspired at least two Metallica songs; guitarist Kirk Hammett is a noted horror fan. “The Thing That Should Not Be” from 1986’s Master of Puppets features lyrics referring to the story. “The Call of Ktulu,” likely spelled that way to avoid copyright issues, is the closing instrumental track from 1984’s Ride the Lightning.