H.P. Lovecraft and Zombies

For our final week of A Hog’s Head Halloween 2009, we return to the godfather of modern horror, H.P. Lovecraft. If you’re not yet familiar with the master of fear, read Amy H. Sturgis‘s helpful post from last year, “Getting into the Lovecraft Zone.”

Since we haven’t talked about zombies yet this month, we’ll make the featured story for this week Lovecraft’s very short “In the Vault.” (HT to Amy, once again, for reminding me of zombies and this story at her blog today).

There’s lots of Lovecraft material already here at The Hog’s Head, since we’ve read 10 of his stories together over the past 2 years. We were smart enough to tag some of it, so you can find a lot of material here. For more, use the search bar on the right!

7 thoughts on “H.P. Lovecraft and Zombies

  1. I’d love to get a discussion going about how this story is so different from many of Lovecraft’s other ouevres, less into the myth of alien races and mutated half-breeds, fish critters and alien dimensions, and more into pure, simple horror, but I can’t have a conversation by myself.

    Those of you who don’t find Chthulhu not quite your cup of tea should try this story. Bet you’ll never be caught in a crypt with six coffins after dark again.

  2. LOL, Red Rocker! I would never be caught in a crypt with six coffins at ANY time of day, period! :-0
    Now you’ve got me intrigued and I will have to go and read the darned Lovecraft story, even though I hadn’t planned to…

  3. I’m slowly getting around to the story. Although Lovecraft in print generally leaves me confused rather than terrified…

  4. All right, now that I’ve read the story, I have to state that, like RR, I observe that it is unlike many of the other Lovecraft stories I have read. In fact, it’s so matter of fact that one could easily miss the eerieness(if that’s the right word) of the whole situation that Birch finds himself in. The initial pronouncement that Lovecraft makes, that “Birch had acquired a limitation,” is completely understated, again, a most un-Lovecraftian pronouncement, in my view. I found myself wondering several times what this story would have been like in the hands of Edgar Allan Poe. Much more atmospheric, definetly.
    Anyway, without giving away the plot line or writing a spoiler, I will try to grapple with Red Rocker’s question of who is worse in the story, Birch or Sawyer. I’m inclined to rate them pretty close, especially after the last revelation of the narrator. However, it does sound to me as though Sawyer was the more evil character–as he was vindictive in life, while Birch is more indolent and careless, but not downright meanspirited, that is, he does not cut corners to get revenge on people , but because it is more convenient for him. Sawyer, whom we never see as a live character, and indeed is only given a few lines of description in the story, still seems to have been evil in intent. So I’m going to say that he was the worse of the two.
    (BTW, his “action” which gave Birch his aforementioned “limitation,” may have been a blessing in disguise, as it got Birch out of the undertaking business–any other thoughts on that???)

  5. Birch is more indolent and careless, but not downright meanspirited, that is, he does not cut corners to get revenge on people , but because it is more convenient for him.

    Punny, Fricka, very punny.

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