Stampede writer discovers a new definition of horror

Loran Fairhurst, Staff Writer

I, Loran Fairhurst, staff writer for the stampede, have been on a kick of listening and reading a collection of stories by the author H.P. Lovecraft. Born to the name Howard Phillips Lovecraft in 1890, Lovecraft had a fairly tragic childhood, but this is not a documentary on his life.

Instead, I will be talking about how his works define the horror genre in a brilliant way. Nowadays, the genre of movies and books tend to lean towards jumpscares, gore, anticipation, or a collection of all three. However, the writings of Lovecraft are more than just a feeling of anxiety or a vivid description of a pile of human entrails. They go far beyond that, playing with the psyche instead.

One such story that dwells on the idea of madness overtaking a victim is a short story by the name of The Rats in the Walls. I would prefer not to spoil any element of the plot for my dear reader, but overall, this story centers itself around the idea that there are forces beyond our control that can and will drive us mad.

Another such story, which is in fact considered a “short story”, is The Haunter of the Dark. Though this tale deals more with the cosmic deities that Lovecraft created for his works, it still has the central element of madness, isolation, and the primal fear of the unknown — all things that modern horror has lost.

The final story that comes to mind is the more famous, and much more renowned, The Call of Cthulhu. To some people the name Cthulhu may ring a bell, but most will only recognize Cthulhu as a physical presence. In the story, this indifferent deity that towers over us diminutive humans is not simply some physical monolith. It is so much more. Without going into the exact details of this final example, I will end this column with a last thought.

Modern horror has ceased to be frightening because it plays on a physical fear, or something that will hurt our bodies. That is where Lovecraftian horror differs, It plays with your mind and makes you feel insignificant more than all.