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Lovecraft: Four Classic Horror Stories

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In Providence, Rhode Island, a dangerous inmate disappears from a hospital for the insane. At Miskatonic University, a professor slumps into a five-year reverie. In a mysterious and vivid dreamworld, a melancholy man seeks the home of the gods. And in the frozen wasteland of Antarctica, polar explorers unearth secrets that reveal a past almost beyond comprehension—and a fu In Providence, Rhode Island, a dangerous inmate disappears from a hospital for the insane. At Miskatonic University, a professor slumps into a five-year reverie. In a mysterious and vivid dreamworld, a melancholy man seeks the home of the gods. And in the frozen wasteland of Antarctica, polar explorers unearth secrets that reveal a past almost beyond comprehension—and a future too terrible to imagine. Graphic novelist I.N.J. Culbard gives terrifying form to four classic tales by H.P. Lovecraft: “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,” “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward,” “At The Mountains of Madness,” and “The Shadow Out of Time.” Expertly adapted and beautifully drawn, Culbard’s lean and thrilling adaptations breathe new life into four stories that helped to reinvent the horror genre.  


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In Providence, Rhode Island, a dangerous inmate disappears from a hospital for the insane. At Miskatonic University, a professor slumps into a five-year reverie. In a mysterious and vivid dreamworld, a melancholy man seeks the home of the gods. And in the frozen wasteland of Antarctica, polar explorers unearth secrets that reveal a past almost beyond comprehension—and a fu In Providence, Rhode Island, a dangerous inmate disappears from a hospital for the insane. At Miskatonic University, a professor slumps into a five-year reverie. In a mysterious and vivid dreamworld, a melancholy man seeks the home of the gods. And in the frozen wasteland of Antarctica, polar explorers unearth secrets that reveal a past almost beyond comprehension—and a future too terrible to imagine. Graphic novelist I.N.J. Culbard gives terrifying form to four classic tales by H.P. Lovecraft: “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,” “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward,” “At The Mountains of Madness,” and “The Shadow Out of Time.” Expertly adapted and beautifully drawn, Culbard’s lean and thrilling adaptations breathe new life into four stories that helped to reinvent the horror genre.  

30 review for Lovecraft: Four Classic Horror Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    This book presents in graphic novel form four stories/novellas by the incredible writer of fantasy and the uncanny, H.P. Lovecraft; the works, ¨The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,¨ ¨The Case of Charles Dexter Ward,¨ and ¨At the Mountains of Madness,¨ and ¨The Shadow out of Time.¨are adapted by the artist and writer I.N.J. Culbard. I had previously read ¨At the Mountains of Madness¨ as adapted by Mr. Culbard but it was still interesting and exciting to read it again, especially since I have since This book presents in graphic novel form four stories/novellas by the incredible writer of fantasy and the uncanny, H.P. Lovecraft; the works, ¨The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,¨ ¨The Case of Charles Dexter Ward,¨ and ¨At the Mountains of Madness,¨ and ¨The Shadow out of Time.¨are adapted by the artist and writer I.N.J. Culbard. I had previously read ¨At the Mountains of Madness¨ as adapted by Mr. Culbard but it was still interesting and exciting to read it again, especially since I have since then read a collection of Lovecraft stories and even watched a film version of ¨The Color out of Space¨ (which, although interesting, especially in updating the story, I thought fell flat to some extent). So I´ve become somewhat more familiar with the Lovecraftian ¨universe¨ - but perhaps have only scratched the surface, really, since he did create a unique and complex fantasy-horror world. The first story in the book under discussion is¨The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath;¨ it's about the troubles of the protagonist, Randolph Carter, as he grapples with incredibly detailed dreams of a fantasy land, dreams that include a complex plot, since he alternately is trapped in its horror aspect or euphorically experiencing its benign aspect. In the course of his journey, he is directed from one figure to another, beings or characters who are supposed to help him find his way to an enchanted kingdom. This is perhaps an echo of one of the original if not the grand-daddy of all fantasy/voyage tales - Gilgamesh, since the hero in that epic poem too went on a journey, during which he had to figure out how to travel to forbidden realms and seek advice and directions from various figures along the way, in his quest for immortality. But, back the Lovecraft story: Actual people from his life reappear in the dreams that are akin many times to oppressive nightmares, in demonic or wistful form - more or less conforming to the usual rehashing or replaying in dreams of scenes of everyday life by actual people, such as family members, of real life - but always in uncannily altered forms and usually doing strange or unlikely things or in unusual settings. The story ends on an ambiguous note - which is of course intentionally (and of course pleasantly) chilling since it raises the possibility that Carter´s fantasy-dreams may have been orchestrated or directed by an actual person in Carter's life, who may be, under his everyday appearance, one of those uncanny beings or dream-demons. The next story is ¨The Case of Charles Dexter Ward,¨ which involves a quest by the protagonist to find out about ¨forbidden knowledge¨ that is alchemy, magic, and so forth - and his transformation after actually engaging in occult practices. This is a complex fantasy story that reaches back in time to the ancestors of Ward, and has a surprising twist ending. Once again, things are not as they seem, and the quest for forbidden knowledge is a slippery slope that leads to dangerous realms and potential ruin. The complicated story, which includes elements of the fantasy-ethos world of Lovecraft, ends on an ambiguous note - the reader can only wonder if the entire fantasy exists only in the distorted thinking of one man who is not Charles Dexter Ward. Next is ¨At the Mountains of Madness¨ which I had read before but was happy to read again and perhaps got more out of it on this re-read. The horror of the story, elements of which I remembered, was still chilling and this time around I paid more attention to the interplay of the cast of characters, the scholars on the expedition and the forces that impelled them to take risks, venture too far, and finally, suppress the knowledge they had gleaned - supposedly for the good of mankind. The story is perfectly conceived and beautifully presented in graphic novel format; Culbard creates superb characterizations of the scholars, the drawings of the team members, the ship, radio rooms, etc. are excellent. The final story is ¨The Shadow out of Time¨ which unfolds over multi-decades about a hapless Miskatonic University professor, Nathaniel Peaslee, who has fallen into amnesia and tries to figure out why he cannot remember who he was and what he was doing. Peaslee probably broke down under the pressure of work and the arrival of a baby - which meant he had to succeed in his academic career. He evidently cracked up, ended up giving up on his life by exiting sanity temporarily; his family deserted him and he lost his position at the university; when he did recover, he had to start his career anew. He traveled the world trying to figure out why he had broken down - like other Lovecraft protagonists, he becomes a visionary, even somewhat clairvoyant since he can see somewhat into the future, which is shown to be extremely grim with the world heading into world wars. Peaslee ends up in another fantasy world, where he meets beings from the Lovecraftian universe; on this space-time plane, he is transformed into pure consciousness conversing with other former humans nearby who have also been turned into pure consciousness. It turns out some of the sinister beings seize on humans to occupy - this is what happened to Peaslee when he broke down; his consciousness had been seized or occupied by one of the alien beings. Peaslee ends up in a city constructed by the beings - similar to the city in ¨At the Mountains of Madness¨ - wherein is kept an extensive archive of the doings of the beings, a record that stretches back into untold millennia. Peaslee recovers from the vision and is rehired by the university, but at an entry-level position. One of the characters from ¨At the Mountains of Madness¨ reappears in the present story - Professor Dyer of the Geology Dept. He and Dyer travel to Australia to investigate some unusual rock formations that may be connected with the unusual formations Dyer saw on his ill-fated antarctic expedition. While there Peaslee has another vision, revelation, or dream and appears to relapse, with a similar seizure/foaming at the mouth as before. He again recovers and tries to discourage Dyer and the others from further investigations into the unusual rock formations - echoing Dyer´s conviction not to reveal all he had seen on his trip to the antarctic. This time, however, Dyer and his team mates stay to continue their investigations, and so Peaslee leaves to return home; en route writes an account of all he experienced in the desert. He then dreams of travelling to the massive archive building of the fantasy beings - the dream becomes more elaborate and complex, as he struggles to find his way out of the sinister fantasy landscape. This is his recounting of his experience that night in the desert which he is writing as the travels back to New England. He ends his narrative by expressing the hope that the reader of his account will realize that there ¨lies upon this world of man a mocking and incredible shadow out of time.¨ The take-away - perhaps too flip a characterization of this complex story - is that humans can be occupied by sinister beings, and that life on earth itself is simply a game for other highly evolved life forms that exist on a spatio-temporal plane that humans cannot conceive of, but that some humans, such as Peaslee, may have caught glimpses of now and then. Perhaps this is the underlying idea of the Lovecraft fantasy world: Humans can be puppets on occasion of higher, not so benevolent, powers, and that may explain the whiplash effect of relatively harmonious eras on earth followed by eras of war and horror. These unearthly beings are keeping track of their interventions on Earth and on many other planets throughout the universe, and for them, it is simply a game, since they are essentially heartless. They record their doings in detail in their archive which is housed in a gigantic complex on some time-space plane utterly unknown and foreign to us earthlings. The stories seem to feature innocent, or young, or hapless humans, people who start out wholesome but who either look into dangerous knowledge or are even transported via dreams or visions into dangerous places - although sometimes the travelers stumble upon real abandoned cities of the beings as with the antarctic expedition or the blocks in the Australian expedition. But either way, the point is mankind is helpless to resist or fight the all-powerful beings - who can change or direct history and the outcome of historical events on earth by seizing control of individuals´ consciousness for their often nefarious purposes. This is a chilling vision that is also startlingly hopeless - but, since it's part of Lovecraft's fantasy universe , the ¨horror¨ of it is simultaneously chilling and therefore absorbing, distracting, and also fun. Lovecraft is a fantastic writer and Culbard expertly tells these stories in graphic novel form.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Kaufmann

    I.N.J. Culbard adapts and illustrates four of H.P. Lovecraft's longer and better-known works: "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath," "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward," "At the Mountains of Madness," and "The Shadow Out of Time." The artwork is extraordinary, especially Culbard's renderings of various creatures whose descriptions Lovecraft left intentionally vague, and fulfills the purpose of cutting through Lovecraft's sometimes dense and baroque prose to make the stories flow more smoothly. He do I.N.J. Culbard adapts and illustrates four of H.P. Lovecraft's longer and better-known works: "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath," "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward," "At the Mountains of Madness," and "The Shadow Out of Time." The artwork is extraordinary, especially Culbard's renderings of various creatures whose descriptions Lovecraft left intentionally vague, and fulfills the purpose of cutting through Lovecraft's sometimes dense and baroque prose to make the stories flow more smoothly. He does an excellent job adapting the stories, sometimes making slight alterations to their structure that work to increase their narrative power. Revisiting these stories, I found myself struck by a few things. I had never really realized before, for instance, that "Dream-Quest" is kind of a "Lovecraft's greatest hits" compilation, featuring not just recurring characters like Randolph Carter and Richard Pickman, but also making use of places and creatures that had only appeared in his poems and fragments before, all brought together into a single narrative. One could say "Dream Quest" is to Lovecraft's work like the Dark Tower series is to Stephen King's. I also noticed for the first time how similar the climaxes are in both "At the Mountains of Madness" and "The Shadow Out of Time." In "Mountains," the deadly shoggoths that destroyed the Elder Things and their ancient city in Antarctica are discovered to still be alive and a threat to the protagonists. In "Shadow," the deadly flying polyps that destroyed the Great Race of Yith and their ancient city in Perth, Australia are discovered to still be alive and a threat to the protagonists. The stories were written only three or four years apart, and I prefer to think of these similarities as the solidification of a theme that interested Lovecraft rather than lazy plotting. My final observation is that as much as I love Roger Corman's 1963 film THE HAUNTED PALACE, "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" is very cinematic and deserves a more faithful film adaptation. This collection of Culbard's previously and separately published Lovecraft adaptations is a must for fans of graphic novels and H.P. Lovecraft alike. (I now find myself interested in reading Culbert's adaptation of Chambers' THE KING IN YELLOW as well.) One caveat, though: the hardcover is extremely heavy and quite thick, making it difficult to carry with you. You may find it easier to read at home in your favorite chair than to take it with you on a train or an airplane. But then, that's probably the best way to read Lovecraft's chilling tales anyway.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mary Overton

    Terrific introduction to Lovecraft. Be sure to read H.P.'s original stories afterward. Contents: The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath; The Case of Charles Dexter Ward; At the Mountains of Madness; The Shadow Out of Time Terrific introduction to Lovecraft. Be sure to read H.P.'s original stories afterward. Contents: The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath; The Case of Charles Dexter Ward; At the Mountains of Madness; The Shadow Out of Time

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Four of Lovecraft's longest stories captured in a graphic novel form by LNJ Culbard. The stories are faithful to the originals and the artwork is a perfect fit for these Cthulhu Mythos stories. Starts with "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath", "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward", "At the Mountains of Madness", and "The Shadow Out of Time". HIghly recommended to Lovecraft enthusiasts. Four of Lovecraft's longest stories captured in a graphic novel form by LNJ Culbard. The stories are faithful to the originals and the artwork is a perfect fit for these Cthulhu Mythos stories. Starts with "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath", "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward", "At the Mountains of Madness", and "The Shadow Out of Time". HIghly recommended to Lovecraft enthusiasts.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Espen

    Absolutely excellent adaptations of some of Lovecraft's better tales. Culbard's visual approach has both the great benefit and disadvantage of dropping most of Lovecraft's archaic prose, focusing on the action, the setting, and above all, the atmosphere. The Mountains of Madness was my favorite here, not entirely unexpected as that's my overall favorite HPL story, but they're all good. I'd have loved to see The Call of Cthulhu in here too! Culbard's art is, well, idiosyncratic, but I liked it. So Absolutely excellent adaptations of some of Lovecraft's better tales. Culbard's visual approach has both the great benefit and disadvantage of dropping most of Lovecraft's archaic prose, focusing on the action, the setting, and above all, the atmosphere. The Mountains of Madness was my favorite here, not entirely unexpected as that's my overall favorite HPL story, but they're all good. I'd have loved to see The Call of Cthulhu in here too! Culbard's art is, well, idiosyncratic, but I liked it. Sometimes it's simplified near to the point of silliness (what's with those eyes?), but in general it works very well indeed with the source matter. The whole production of the book feels great. My version has a two-thirds size dust jacket over an otherwise almost totally black cover. Certain illustrations fill the entire pages to the edges. The only thing I'm missing is page numbers. The paper is so luxuriously thick I was often uncertain if I'd turned two pages at once.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Shay

    I had read Charles Dexter Ward and At the Mountains of Madness in a story collection, but the other two novels were completely new to me. I don't know that familiarity with the stories helped my understanding any; having art and images to explain the words definitely did. Because this is a graphic novel rendition of a different author's works, I don't really want to comment on the stories themselves. The art was unique and different from what I usually read, but detailed and helpful in following I had read Charles Dexter Ward and At the Mountains of Madness in a story collection, but the other two novels were completely new to me. I don't know that familiarity with the stories helped my understanding any; having art and images to explain the words definitely did. Because this is a graphic novel rendition of a different author's works, I don't really want to comment on the stories themselves. The art was unique and different from what I usually read, but detailed and helpful in following the stories. Some sections were a little too wordy but I think that's just the stories themselves, especially the ones written in a more letter-type format. I think the novels on their own I would have rated lower, because they were still confusing to follow, but taking it on its own as a graphic novel made it a little easier to digest and comprehend.

  7. 5 out of 5

    ダンカン

    Adaptations are never easy if not done right. My love for H.P. Lovecraft is by far, not the easiest but it is his stories that I enjoyed, even though I read only one collection of his stories (The Call of Cthulhu and Other Stories, which I had read and reviewed). Now, this recently released collection of four of his short stories into graphic novel is what excites me to read, especially when I enjoy the artwork by I.N.J. Culbard, which he too adapt the stories. There are four stories adapted int Adaptations are never easy if not done right. My love for H.P. Lovecraft is by far, not the easiest but it is his stories that I enjoyed, even though I read only one collection of his stories (The Call of Cthulhu and Other Stories, which I had read and reviewed). Now, this recently released collection of four of his short stories into graphic novel is what excites me to read, especially when I enjoy the artwork by I.N.J. Culbard, which he too adapt the stories. There are four stories adapted into this one massive graphic novel - The Dream - Quest of Unknown Kadath, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, At the Mountain of Madness and The Shadow Out of Time - are related to one another in ways of the world building itself. But do any of it achieved its potential of enjoyment... to me, only two out of four of them are good. The first two stories were some what slow and boring. Nothing really much happening and the narrative itself is rather monotonous. I can't help but feel like I am going into a history lesson class of the universe of ancient ones. Sadly, it doesn't bring the horror out of the stories and ends up pretty much a dud to me. The last two achieve what was intended - the true horrors of the unknown mystery that inspires movies like Alien or John Carpenter's The Thing that has a good substantial influence of Lovecraft's work - a perfect blend of science fiction and horror. The artwork brings out the best in the stories and fits very well here as it does brings out the macabre of the scary. Fans of Lovecraft will enjoy parts of the stories but for those who do not know Lovecraft, might not appreciate much. To me, I would say it deserves a 3.5 out of 5 for this one.

  8. 5 out of 5

    K De

    Best adaptions to a graphic format for Lovecraft. I.N.J. Culbard has the right feel for working with the horror of existential, cosmic existence. The four graphic novels- “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,” “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward,” “At The Mountains of Madness,” and “The Shadow Out of Time.”- are collected into a hardcover, heavy weight tome. The interpretations of Lovecraft are studious, well paced and has the right artistic air of foreboding and universal dread, especially with the Best adaptions to a graphic format for Lovecraft. I.N.J. Culbard has the right feel for working with the horror of existential, cosmic existence. The four graphic novels- “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,” “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward,” “At The Mountains of Madness,” and “The Shadow Out of Time.”- are collected into a hardcover, heavy weight tome. The interpretations of Lovecraft are studious, well paced and has the right artistic air of foreboding and universal dread, especially with the graphic novel "The Shadow Out of Time'. The high point is the way Culbard adapts the short novel "At the Mountains of Madness" into a pithy exposition of the minute role that humankind has in the greater workings of the time-space frame of reference that humans have constructed versus the infinitely greater races both of this universe and beings that are incomprehensible outside of the known laws of Einstein and quantum physics. The main plot points are hit upon and the pacing is just right. Highly recommended.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rumi Bossche

    Brilliant graphic novel, four of Lovecrafts most known tales, retold. I fell in love with the artwork and coloring, and the style is really Lovecraft his own works. Makes you fall in love with these tales again. Recommended.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alexandr Kuznetsov

    Графическая адаптация произведений Лавкрафта, с которой можно начать знакомство с автором. Внутри хорошая локализация и изобретательная раскадровка четырёх значимых повестей — такие байки из склепа в твёрдом переплёте.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    A decent introduction to some of Lovecraft's works but I could never shake the feeling that Culbard's artistry plateaued the possibilities of the fiction rather than elevate it. A decent introduction to some of Lovecraft's works but I could never shake the feeling that Culbard's artistry plateaued the possibilities of the fiction rather than elevate it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jessie B.

    Excellent collection

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I loved being able to better see what Lovecraft described. I'm a huge fan of Lovecraft and Cthulu. It made me understand the story better. I loved being able to better see what Lovecraft described. I'm a huge fan of Lovecraft and Cthulu. It made me understand the story better.

  14. 4 out of 5

    John

    A great sampling of the longer works. Culbard's color and composition really accentuating the stories. First rate. A great sampling of the longer works. Culbard's color and composition really accentuating the stories. First rate.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dylan

    A mighty fine visual adaptation of some classics. The art style works deceptively well for these stories, especially Kadath.

  16. 5 out of 5

    James

    Amazing artwork that makes me feel small and insignificant. Had some stories in it that I hadn't read before and some remakes that I really enjoyed. Amazing artwork that makes me feel small and insignificant. Had some stories in it that I hadn't read before and some remakes that I really enjoyed.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mark All

    Outstanding art and the stories well-edited for this format/medium. Four of Lovecraft's greatest tales, most notably, At the Mountains of Madness Outstanding art and the stories well-edited for this format/medium. Four of Lovecraft's greatest tales, most notably, At the Mountains of Madness

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Wilson

  19. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

  20. 5 out of 5

    Val

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gaff1138

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Hampshire

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dino Gaurige

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

  25. 5 out of 5

    Humfreak

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jason Vanhee

  27. 5 out of 5

    Foxy

  28. 5 out of 5

    Katzilla Kelly

  29. 5 out of 5

    Craig Garrett

  30. 5 out of 5

    Patrik Hultén

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