The Lovecraft series continues with another primary revision.
Raw Feed (2005): “The Horror in the Museum”, Hazel Heald [and H. P. Lovecraft], 1932.
In paging through his biography of Lovecraft, I see that S. T. Joshi regards this story as so bad that it has to be a parody of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos.
I’m not sure I agree it’s a parody.
It certainly does have an overwrought flavor in parts, mostly because the artist and Shub-Niggurath worshiper (the actual form of the god is retrieved from Alaska) is just plain vicious and insane sounding. Most Lovecraft “villains”, like Herbert West are after power or immortality or knowledge. Rogers just gets mad when Stephen Jones doubts his stories or that the odd, macabre figures in the “adult” section of his wax museum are preserved bodies and not sculptures.
Because of his less than convincing lack of motivation, I found him a weak villain. Mostly this story reminded me of other Lovecraft works and other authors and other types of stories.
Orabona, Rogers assistant, is reminiscent of Surama in the Lovecraft-de Castro collaboration of “The Last Test”. The whole setup of Jones spending a night in the museum and becoming unhinged even before he sees gods walking about reminded me of “Monsieur Redoux’s Phantasms” by Villiers de l’Isle-Adam (though, given Villiers’ spotty history of English translations, I’m not sure Lovecraft read this particular story though he mentions Villiers in his 1927 Supernatural Horror in Literature) with its protagonist finding horror after hours (albeit psychological horror) in a wax museum.
Then, of course, there’s the whole idea of wax statutes being preserved bodies and not creations from scratch. I don’t know how far that idea goes back in horror fiction.
This is the first place I’ve heard of the glass plant models of Blatschka (as Lovecraft spells it) aka Leopold Blaschka. I looked them up online. They look quite remarkable.
More reviews of Lovecraft related titles are indexed on the Lovecraft page.