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THE LURKING FEAR

The Lurking Fear was written in November 1922, and it was first published in the January through April 1923 issues of Home Brew.


Like Herbert West–Reanimator, earlier published in Home Brew, "The Lurking Fear" was solicited by editor George Julian Houtain expressly to be published as a serial. Unlike with "Herbert West", however, Houtain ran recaps of the story so far with each installment after the first, relieving Lovecraft of the need for objectionable repetition.


The story is set in 1921 and follows an unnamed reporter and local monster-hunter who travels to Tempest Mountain, in the Catskills range, after reports of various attacks by a group of unidentified creatures against the local inhabitants reaches the media. A month before, a massive thunderstorm, even larger than the ones which usually plague the region, had drifted across the mountains, and brought with it destruction.


The unnamed narrator describes himself as "a connoisseur in horrors", one whose "love of the grotesque and the terrible... has made my career a series of quests for strange horrors in literature and in life." He also reports that following his encounter with the creatures, "I cannot see a well or a subway entrance without shuddering" — an example of the phobias that often afflict Lovecraft's protagonists as a result of their experiences, and a possible description of himself perhaps?


Three film adaptations have been made over the years, these include Dark Heritage (1989), The Lurking Fear, (1994) and Bleeders (1997).

 

CATSKILL MOUNTAINS

DATE(S) VISITED: JUL 24, 2021
LOCATION: HUDSON VALLEY, NY
MAP

Fear had lurked on Tempest Mountain for more than a century. This I learned at once from newspaper accounts of the catastrophe which first brought the region to the world’s notice. The place is a remote, lonely elevation in that part of the Catskills where Dutch civilisation once feebly and transiently penetrated, leaving behind as it receded only a few ruined mansions and a degenerate squatter population inhabiting pitiful hamlets on isolated slopes. - HPL ~ The Lurking Fear



In a small motor-car we covered the miles of primeval forest and hill until the wooded ascent checked it. The country bore an aspect more than usually sinister as we viewed it by night and without the accustomed crowds of investigators, so that we were often tempted to use the acetylene headlight despite the attention it might attract. It was not a wholesome landscape after dark, and I believe I would have noticed its morbidity even had I been ignorant of the terror that stalked there. - HPL ~ The Lurking Fear

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