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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.131.0.116
Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2010 - 12:18 pm:   

If anyone's interested I'm going to be talking about HP Lovecraft in film next weekend at this:

http://aklo.blogspot.com/2010/11/weird-winter-tales-day-festival-in.html

I'll also be reading some of my story The Iconostasis of Imperfections from Wicked Delights. If nothing else it may be the only chance people will get to hear what I think of Die Monster Die, et al!
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2010 - 12:45 pm:   

Wish we could be there too!
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.237.21
Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2010 - 12:54 pm:   

None of Lovecraft's stories have ever been adapted faithfully. THE RESURRECTED has its moments - the raid on the Curwen farm and the exploration of the labyrinthine cellar come readily to mind - and I suppose DAGON, FROM BEYOND and REANIMATOR are good fun in their own right, but I've always thought that most 'Lovecraft films' give HPL a bad reputation. Anyway, have fun John.
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 92.232.199.129
Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2010 - 01:05 pm:   

Ooo, that sounds good! They're showing The Call of Cthulhu too. I seem to keep missing that film where ever it gets shown.

I'd love to be there too, but can't unfortunately. Good luck with it anyway, John.
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John Forth (John)
Username: John

Registered: 05-2008
Posted From: 82.24.1.217
Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2010 - 02:26 pm:   

While it's true that most adaptations of HPL's stories have been a bit fast and loose with the source material, The HP Lovecraft Historical Society's faux-twenties adaptation of CALL OF CTHULHU is pretty faithful. They're working on THE WHISPERER IN THE DARKNESS now too.
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.131.0.116
Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2010 - 06:35 pm:   

Thanks all! As far as I can tell the panel consists of an Academic black magician, a poet, a wizard and me, which should certainly make for an interesting afternoon
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.111.132.33
Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2010 - 06:44 pm:   

'Thanks all! As far as I can tell the panel consists of an Academic black magician, a poet, a wizard and me, which should certainly make for an interesting afternoon.'

If I could I would. Too far from the Yorkshire moors for me but I wish you well!
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 92.232.199.129
Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2010 - 07:31 pm:   

>>As far as I can tell the panel consists of an Academic black magician, a poet, a wizard and me<<

For some reason, the thought of that line-up made me chuckle out loud. Any chance of videoing it and putting it on YouTube, d'you think?
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.131.0.116
Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2010 - 09:40 pm:   

Ally that's very sweet - I thank you & I'm sure Cthulhu does too!

Caroline - me? On video? The thought never crossed my mind!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 12:39 am:   

'Die, Monster, Die' is still the finest Lovecraft adaptation that has ever been made imho.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 12:40 am:   

If only they would retitle it 'The Colour Out Of Space'...
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.131.0.116
Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 08:54 am:   

'Die, Monster, Die' is still the finest Lovecraft adaptation that has ever been made imho.

Stevie had you had a heavy night on the drain cleaner?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 10:54 am:   

No, I love that film. One of those classics from my childhood that scared the bejesus out of me, and that I still think works magnificently well as an atmospheric period horror. I also loved Daniel Haller's 'The Dunwich Horror'.

Being honest, though, there isn't much competition with regard to Lovecraft adaptations. I enjoy Stuart Gordon's spoofs but prefer the serious treatment that Haller gave the material, coming on the back of his work on the Corman Poes.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 11:47 am:   

I still think Blair Witch is the greatest Lovecraftian film (though not an adaptation, of course).

Is Cthulhu rising? Now I've been asked to talk to a book group in Chester about Lovecraft in January...
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.229.119
Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 11:48 am:   

Yikes! Wish I'd known about this earlier, can't make it now. The stars are not right. I hope it's a day of soul-annihilating terror. With biscuits.

I'll add my voice to those praising Cthulhu... sorry, typing must have slipped, I mean the film The Call of Cthulhu, lovingly crafted in black and white with an awesome 'mythophonic' soundtrack.

While we're at it, the Lurker Films collection includes fine short adaptations of 'Cool Air', 'The Music of Erich Zann' and 'Pickman's Model' (the Italian version of the latter being perhaps the best). And their customer service is justly praised: the item requisitioned is flown by night-gaunt to reach you seven days before you ordered it, warping your life into a vertiginous nightmare of distorted time and consciousness. Which is always nice.

I'm also delighted to note that LF have released a set of notecards featuring a superb passage from a 1936 Lovecraft letter damning the Republican Party, and ending: Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead. This shows how much Lovecraft's outlook was changing towards the end of his life.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 12:22 pm:   

Come to think of it... 'Die, Monster, Die' would have been my very first introduction to Lovecraft's material as I vividly remember writing a lurid composition in primary school, the day after seeing it, about the monsters in the greenhouse breaking out and rampaging across the countryside. The thought of that old woman in the bed still gives me the willies!
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 12:24 pm:   

> This shows how much Lovecraft's outlook was changing towards the end of his life.

Too little too late, in my view.
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.131.0.116
Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 05:15 pm:   

Joel I shall seriously miss your attendance at this. Amongst other things I have a desire to discuss Conan in the movies with you!
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.237.21
Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 06:14 pm:   

"The Colour out of Space" could be made into a fine picture indeed, for the original story provides lots of fascinating and shuddersome bits. Gawd knows what HPL would have thought of DIE MONSER, DIE . . . The creatures in the greenhouse are just about the only thing I find worth mentioning about it.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.165.158
Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 06:20 pm:   

Never seen any Conan film I fear. I used to consider all Hollywood action films a pointless and vacant waste of time. These days I would say "virtually all". Anyway, Conan does not look at all like Arnie. He's a fighter, a hard man, not a steroid-pumped Hollywood bodybuilder.
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.131.0.116
Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 06:24 pm:   

Joel - I'm with you all the way. Well, perhaps not ALL the way ;-> but certainly in terms of the screen portrayal of Conan which really rather disappointed me on a recent rewatching. Basil Poledouris' music is, however, spot on.

Hubert - I recently re-read The Color Out of Space and I think HPL predicted Hollywood's big-budget over the top FX-filled epics by about 70 years!
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.192.174
Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 06:36 pm:   

Just shows you how hopeless Hollywood is at interpreting fantasy. Conan is not a massive, dumb, musclebound lump. He's fast, agile, hard as nails and possessed of infinite stamina. I read a lot of Conan stories in my teens. (Sigh.)
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.131.0.116
Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 08:38 pm:   

The first thing Stephen Jones ever said to me was 'Do you like Conan?' which I interpreted the same way as I might the question 'Do you like movies about gladiators?' but in fact he'd just finished editing the two Fantasy Masterworks volumes.

And now this thread is well and truly off-piste
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 09:29 pm:   

Some other high-quality movies that have fine Lovecraftian moments, even if they aren't Lovecraftian films (either explicitly, or fully), would be, to me, and for different ingredients: ALIEN, PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, QUATERMASS AND THE PIT, and THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES. Oh, and the first "X-Files" movie, too.

JPL - and Michael Shea's unauthorized follow-up THE COLOUR OUT OF TIME (1984) is a wonderfully crazed and chaotic bit of madness, too! I very much enjoyed it. Have you read it?
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.237.21
Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 10:18 pm:   

re REH - I was always more of a Solomon Kane man myself

John - yes, I shudder to think what Hollywood would make out of the final apocalyptic moment where the 'colour' leaves the well and shoots off into space. The scene that works for me best in the story is the narrator's discovery of the farmer's wife who's still alive even as she 'continues to crumble'. To me this has always been reminiscent of the good doctor's discovery of what became of the hapless student in "The Novel of the White Powder". Both discoverers kill off their discovery, even if Lovecraft is less outspoken about the deed.
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Ian Alexander Martin (Iam)
Username: Iam

Registered: 10-2009
Posted From: 207.6.255.47
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 - 03:31 am:   


quote:

...an Academic black magician, a poet, a wizard and [JLP]...


If someone could please construct a joke using this as the opening, no doubt the world will be grateful.

As for Die, Monster, Die, I'm presuming that we're discussing the German art-house film, whose title is typically translated as "That Monster There", covering much of the tortured artistic life of Kurt Weill, as viewed by his lover and mistress (yes, both of them)?

Why are so many of you picking-up large, blunt objects and looking at em like that?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 - 12:14 pm:   

Joel, you don't want to see any Conan film either. They're all pants. I still say 'Solomon Kane', for all its flaws, is the closest cinema has yet come to capturing something of Howard's style.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 - 12:23 pm:   

I thought Conan the Barbarian was very good indeed - and one of the most violent films Hollywood produced during that era. But I've never read a Conan story, so judge the film on its own merits.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 - 12:34 pm:   

The Conan stories are essential reading for any genre fan, Zed. They are to fantasy literature what Lovecraft's mythos stories are to horror, and the two tie together perfectly. I think of the Conan stories as more action oriented mythos stories set in ancient history and just as vividly cosmic in the horrors they summon up... gloriously un-PC, blood drenched fantasy/horror at its most thrilling and nightmarish. Robert E. Howard had one hell of a disturbing imagination imo.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 - 12:46 pm:   

I'm not really all that into Fantasy and Sword-and-Sorcery, Stevie. I've only ever read a couple of Howard's tales, ditto Clark Ashton Smith. I'll probably get round to them at some point, though...
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 - 01:18 pm:   

Zed, read Howard's 'Worms of the Earth', 'The Shadow Kingdom' and 'The Dark Man'. More horror and rage and bleakness than even you can handle without a local anaesthetic.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 - 01:21 pm:   

Joel, I read 'Worms of the Earth' last year and liked it a lot. I also recently bought that Solomon ane collection - 'The Right Hand of Doom'. Read the first two tales and they were pretty good. I enjoy the themes and the the darkness, but the fantasy trappings do put me off a bit.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 - 01:24 pm:   

I agree the Solomon Kane stories are more powerful but the Conan stories have their merits too, including a deadpan humour and some suprisingly direct eroticism. With horror and morbidity neatly folded into a flamboyant package of travel and adventure.
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 - 01:28 pm:   

What we really need is a good fantasy film adaption of one of Jack Vance's Dying Earth stories. Probably The Eyes of the Overworld would be the best choice... Such a film could be inventive, exciting, witty, smart and saturated with irony, just like the book itself, one of the best fantasy novels of all time.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 - 01:31 pm:   

'Wings in the Night' is the outstanding SK story for me. The sky literally rains horror in that story.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.237.21
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 - 01:49 pm:   

"Wings in the Night" is my favourite Kane, if not REH, story! It made quite an impression on me when I read it as a 15-year old. Part of it must have been the eroticism, an element one finds in many Clark Ashton Smith tales as well.

Don't dismiss any Howard tale as mere 'sword and sorcery'. There's more to his tales than meets the eye.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 - 02:10 pm:   

Not much eroticism in that story, Hubert, at least not by my crude standards. I was thinking more of stories like 'Queen of the Black Coast', where Howard casually observes: "As she strode past, her thigh brushed the tip of his outstretched sword."
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 - 02:19 pm:   

> "As she strode past, her thigh brushed the tip of his outstretched sword."

Clearly his sword on that occasion was a rapier!
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 - 04:38 pm:   

When I started reading the Conan stories back in my early teens, I was blown away. I thought I had discovered the equivalent of the wheel in writing. I was so blown away, in fact, I asked my English teacher at the time if I could opt for Robert E. Howard instead of the supplied list of authors and books to choose from. I remember she gave me this quizzical look, probably surprised someone so young was into any author at all. She asked me who he was. I said he was the author of Conan. I still remember the look she delivered me, of pure contempt mingled with repulsion, as she barked back, "No!" There are those out there, apparently, who aren't Robert E. Howard fans at all....
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.237.21
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 - 06:41 pm:   

Well, in the 'real world' fantasy, horror and even science fiction are still considered rubbish for the most part, even if the language and ideas in some of that Trivialliteratur (as the Germans call it) is far superior to what is found in 'real literature'.
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.131.0.116
Posted on Sunday, December 05, 2010 - 11:20 am:   

Well the event went really well and was surprisingly well attended by absoultely nobody I knew, whcih is always encouraging for...ahem...influencing new potential readers. The day began with Gwilym Games giving a lecture on libraries in HPL's work, followed by a panel discussion on The Necronomicon. After this we had a talk on Kenneth Grant, the real-life 'magician' and how HPL's stories may have influenced his own writing.

After that was Gwil Games' often hilarious account of the Samuels-Games Expedition (his title) to Devon to seek out HPL's ancestors. Gwil kept us rolling in the aisles with this and some of the pictures were classics.

After I read from The Iconostasis of Imperfection Gwil hosted an hour of the two of us discussing HPL in Cinema, interspersed with clips and trailers from Lovecraft movies where I got to talk about Charles Band & the whole 17 year saga of the making of Stuart Gordon's Shadow Over Innsmouth, AIP's HPL movies, Tony Tenser's technique of coming up with movie titles, and finishing off with a big plug for Rare Exports.

All this, mulled wine and Lovecraftian mood music as well - well done, Reading Central Library!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Sunday, December 05, 2010 - 12:02 pm:   

That sounds great, John - wish I could've been there, old chap.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Sunday, December 05, 2010 - 12:34 pm:   

Sounds like a lot of fun!

Craig - in my case it was Richard Matheson who got me growled at. In my last years at school one English class a week would be allocated to whatever book each pupil wanted to read. I recall displaying The Shrinking Man to the teacher for approval, but he said "Put it away" in no uncertain terms. But shortly after that The Day It Rained Forever was smiled upon by the same teacher.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Sunday, December 05, 2010 - 05:24 pm:   

It is funny, isn't it, how some of these teachers have essentially been indoctrinated by a consensus of popular taste? Name recognition, and then knee-jerk reactions, govern these decisions....

Btw: I have, coincidentally, just read Matheson's short-short "Born of Man and Woman" the other day, and was struck by its sheer power; but also its post-modern touches, worthy of Faulkner and Joyce. I could see a story like that alone spurring intense interest, discussion, a love of reading, etc., in school kids... but no, but no....
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.237.21
Posted on Sunday, December 05, 2010 - 09:51 pm:   

My teachers were mostly understanding. I recall they let me do books like 2001: a Space Odyssey, Fahrenheit 451, Fantastic Voyage and a few short stories by Sheckley and possibly Russell. These titles are well-known classics now, but I assure you back in the late 60ies and early 70ies they were not, certainly not in Belgium.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.129.154
Posted on Monday, December 06, 2010 - 12:16 am:   

I had an English teacher who read 'The Tell-Tale Heart' to us. And then invited us to write a horror story as homework. No, I'm not lying.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 220.138.160.238
Posted on Monday, December 06, 2010 - 12:55 am:   

Joel, when I was eleven, my English teacher played an audio reading of 'The Tell Tale Heart'! It gave me nightmares for quite some time, but also made me want to investigate Poe further, so I owe him thanks for that!
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.211.40
Posted on Monday, December 06, 2010 - 08:59 am:   

Huw, that coincidence is worth a story! Watch this space...
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Des (Des)
Username: Des

Registered: 09-2010
Posted From: 86.169.221.108
Posted on Monday, December 06, 2010 - 09:38 am:   

I inspired myself as a child (pre-interest in the Horror genre as such) by fortuitously reading aloud 'The Tell-Tale Heart' to myself and on to a reel-to-reel tape-recorder I got for Christmas (1960?)
I think I chose the story at random although I must hhave heard of Poe at the time. Found a dog-eared paperback of selected stories, I think, in junk shop. This preceded my discovery of HPL in 1965.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.237.21
Posted on Monday, December 06, 2010 - 11:52 am:   

"The Tell-Tale Heart" was one of the first 'horror' stories I read! The others were equally by Poe: "Valdemar" and "The Cask of Amontillado". But it was Landon's "Thurnley Abbey" which gave me nightmares.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Monday, December 06, 2010 - 01:23 pm:   

I read 'Berenice' at the age of eleven... the Poe collection was in the children's library. Let's hope the legislators don't cotton on to the corruption of young minds by images of borderline incest, fetishistic sexuality and grave-robbing... on the page. Still can't get over that story. The idea of someone waking up to learn they did something terrible the night before still obsesses me. But that's probably the effect of too many conventions.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.237.21
Posted on Monday, December 06, 2010 - 03:26 pm:   

Poe's work was readily available in a number of languages, certainly by the early 20th century. Plus his stories were considered 'literature', 'high brow', 'arty' etc. I can't think of a 'weird fiction' pioneer who was more influential.

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