Monday, 25 June 2007

Lovecraft and Italian horror

Re-reading the interviews in Loris Curci's Shock Masters of the Cinema, something John Carpenter says regarding his then-current In the Mouth of Madness got me thinking:

“I've been wanting to do a Lovecraft story for many years – but you can't do them, they don't work... Lovecraft is just to be read, that's where he's beautiful, that's his language; you can't show the “indescribable horror that drives you crazy” because it won't, it will never drive you crazy.”

Or, Lovecraft – like Poe – is about the generation of particular sensations through the use of words and as such they cannot really be adapted for the cinema but only transposed and translated? Why Bava and Argento were right to never make straight adaptations of Lovecraft but instead draw inspiration from and allude to him? The difference between Lovecraft's “cosmic horror” and the attempted codification and systematisation into “the Cthulhu Mythos” by August Derleth as something that “makes sense,” idiosyncratic use of elementalism (e.g. Cthulhu despite being a water power is trapped beneath the ocean) notwithstanding? The equivalent mythos of the Three Mothers (their alchemy) and their intertexts of Fulci and Cozzi?

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