LOVECRAFT, H.P – THE SHADOW OVER INNSMOUTH 1931 In H P. Lovecraft Omnibus. Volume Three – The Haunter Of The Dark. Grafton Books.
One of the darkest and truly terrifying horror stories of all time. A young tourist decides to visit the dilapidated and run down seaside town of Innsmouth in America. The people of nearby Arkham warn against it as there are strange tales told of the people of Innsmouth. The traveller decides to go anyway but even he plans to get away before nightfall, as some of the warnings have made an impression on him. He gets bus to Innsmouth, and he is the only one to get off the bus there. He finds a decaying, crumbling fishing town, where strange figures watch him from the shadows. He is nervous as he walks around, and no one will give answer to any questions he asks. There is the smell of rot and decay everywhere. Eventually, he tries to leave, but his bus has gone, and he knows he must stay for the night. He books into a hotel where he is disturbed when someone or something tries to get into his room. He escapes and sees strange looking people who have webbed fingers and fish like features. He is chased at every turn until he meets an old drunken figure. The man tells him that the town of Innsmouth gave up on Christian worship to take up pagan worship of the Gods of the sea, and that the state the town has been brought to is a result of that pact with ancient deities from the stars. This is a hint of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos of course. The traveller knows that he will either be devoured or turned into such a creature, so he escapes from Innsmouth down a disused railway track with creatures chasing him every step of the way. He escapes, half maddened and tells his story, which no one seems to believe, but there are indications that the army have gone to Innsmouth to destroy the town and its strange man-fish creatures. Atmospheric absurd and immensely influential work of extra-ordinary power.
© Copyright. Arthur Chappell
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