Saturday, September 16, 2017

Adaptation Review: H.P. Lovecraft’s The Picture In The House (Cadabra Records) by Dave Wolff

H.P. Lovecraft’s The Picture In The House
Read by Andrew Leman
Score by Fabio Frizzi
To be released October 13, 2017
I have been meaning to read more of H.P. Lovecraft for some time, and after hearing about this release from Cadabra Records now would be a fitting time to start. Likewise I have been raving about this independent label for the contributions it has made to classic horror literature in recent years. My latest review on Cadabra Records’ behalf was for their adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound Of The Baskervilles last July. Andrew Leman’s reading of The Picture In The House will fuel the interest I’ve taken in Lovecraft after The Shadow Over Innsmouth. Lovecraft wrote The Picture In The House on December 12 of 1920; its first publication was the July 1919 edition of The National Amateur, which came out in the summer of 1921. In my research I found the short story adapted at several Youtube channels including Free Ebooks, Ghastly Tales and Chilling Tales For Dark Nights. Some film versions of the piece were even made; one by Gary Lobstein Day 304 Productions was the official selection of the 2009 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. Cadabra’s adaptation is particularly special since stage/screen/audio actor Andrew Leman is the founder of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society and was involved in film versions of Lovecraft’s writings: The Call Of Cthulhu, The Whsperer In Darkness and The Testimony Of Randolph Carter to name a few. Here he is joined by Fabio Frizzi, a renowned Italian composer who has written the soundtracks for the indie milestones Zombi 2, City Of The Living Dead, The Beyond, Manhattan Baby and most recently House Of Forbidden Secrets. This historical meeting of these two horror industry icons feels like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to catch, like a solar eclipse or the appearance of a comet. Leman and Frizzi collaborate on a reworking of a classic about cannibalism in an isolated New England backwood home that predates Tobe Hooper’s original Texas Chainsaw Massacre by half a century. The tale depicts a trip through Lovecraft’s Miskatonic Valley in New England, seeking shelter from a coming storm the protagonist meets an old, ragged man speaking in a very old Yankee dialect. There he finds a rare book that was in the old man’s possession for many years, more than he would have expected to live. If you haven’t read this story, you should acquire this release to see what happens. My infatuation with cannibal fiction has remained through the years from when I watched the indie films of Umberto Lenzi and Ruggero Deodato to when I started reading Lovecraft and Shirley Jackson (The Summer People). As I’ve said the efforts of Cadabra Records are exemplary for fans of splatter flicks and extreme metal fans. The grim foretoken at the beginning (“The haunted wood and the desolate mountain are their shrines, and they linger around the sinister monoliths on uninhabited islands”) is given funereal ebullience on this release. It is available in a deluxe LP edition with art by Jeremy Hush, an eight page booklet, liner notes by S.T. Joshi, notes by Fabio Frizzi and much more. A limited “blood”-filled edition will also be made available from Cadabra. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. The Picture in the House read by Andrew Leman
2. The Score by Fabio Frizzi

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