SHORT STORY REVIEW ROBERT BLOCH –THE DARK DEMON. In THE OPENER OF THE WAY 1945. Star Books.
A very grizzly little yarn. Horror writer, Edgar Gordons has died horribly. The circumstances are something of a mystery but conveniently for us, the narrator of the story is an old friend of his who knows the true shocking story behind his demise and feels the need to share the facts with us. .
Over several meetings with the increasingly disturbed author, the narrator finds out that Gordons believed that he did not make up his horror stories. He was convinced that they came to him through vivid dreams, which he could induce at any time of day or night through self-hypnotic trances. He seemed relatively unafraid of the demon infested worlds he was shown in his visions, and seemed more happy to go to them than to remain in the material world most of us are happy with. In these worlds, strange dark demonic figures revealed their secrets to him, and in effect, dictated the narrative of his horror stories. This is a traditional horror story tactic – the writer himself insinuates some connection to strange worlds and dimensions, as if having direct communication with demons and vampires. Bloch was always able to achieve such claims better than most.
As the authors Lovecraftian tales of terror become increasingly graphic, his publishers refused to print them or publish them. Gordons insists that they are visions and prophesies rather than stories and seems to go mad, but deprived of a chance to promote their message to the World, the demons attack the author, which is witnessed by the narrator who is maddened and only now revealing the truth about what he saw.
Bloch himself was a protégé of H. P. Lovecraft and wrote for Lovecraft’s publishers at Arkham House on Weird Tales), and this story is very much in the spirit of the Cthulhu mythos.
© Copyright. Arthur Chappell
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