The Shadow Over Innsmouth, by H.P. Lovecraft
Innsmouth, MA is a fishing town that was once large and prosperous, but over the years it has fallen on hard times. The unnamed narrator (who from later notes by Lovecraft turns out to be Robert Olmstead) is telling the story of his travelling and touring of New England, in particular his time in Innsmouth. Outsiders caution the narrator against going to the shambling town, saying how some people have disappeared and how the Innsmouth folk don’t take kind to strangers. Against his own judgment, the narrator decides to go on a daytrip.
As he arrives in the dilapidated town, he immediately notices the horrible smell of fish and ruin. The people he sees all have a peculiar look and gait about them. The antique architecture is strange, and something eerie seems to be going on.
I enjoyed The Shadow Over Innsmouth. The tale was spooky enough to have my pulse race a bit faster than normal. As the story progressed I became more engrossed in the tale and history of Innsmouth, especially when Zadok began to give the history to the narrator. If you can get past the wordy introduction to the story, this tale is truly eerie. By the end, you’re left with haunting images in your mind and a dreadful stench in your nostrils.
Dagon, by H.P. Lovecraft
This story is much shorter than the previous one, but they are related to one another. This tale is told in a similar fashion, by an unnamed narrator recalling an incident by being stranded on a lifeboat in the ocean. While he’s at sea he witnesses something that leaves him haunted and terrified.
This story was a quick read, but the impact was strong and felt. The last few paragraphs are shocking, and as I finished I blankly thought about what had just happened. I can’t say much, but if you want to read a quick-paced, psychological-paranormal horror tale, Dagon is it.
Together, these two tales examine the impact on the psyche, and the "madness" that ensued was quite believable. These stories by Lovecraft have given me a taste of what the Master of Horror is capable of, and I'm sure I'll read more Lovecraft in the days to come.
And now, here's a Public Service Announcement from around 1979. (Apparently there are a slew of these sorts of PSA's, but I've never seen any.) Enjoy. Writing Wednesday's tomorrow...