The life and work of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, which includes hugely influential stories like “At the Mountains of Madness” and “The Call of Cthulhu” – are treated by his acolytes like the stuff of cult lore. Lovecraft’s xenophobia and propensity for clunky, adjective-heavy descriptions of “unknowable” Gods and monsters make his writing an acquired taste, yet the depth of maniacal feeling that he invested in his writing is infectious. You can see that effect in the way that devotees as famous as John Carpenter, Guillermo del Toro and Neil Gaiman talk about his work in Fear of the Unknown, a smart, approachable portrait of Lovecraft and sharp case for why his writing remains truly original. As horror writer Peter Straub puts it, Lovecraft was very much influenced by Edgar Allan Poe’s writing, especially stories like “The Tell-Tale Heart,” yet he also effectively “invented his own genre.” —Simon Abrams


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E. Thompson

I make movies. Sometimes people see them. I have been a martial artist for a very long time. I'm in a personal war with the Oxford comma.

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