Every year since I was 13, I’ve read something by H.P. Lovecraft around Halloween. My parents had several collections of his stories, and by the time I reached high school, I was hooked. Lovecraft was a horror/science fiction writer, whose work appeared in magazines like Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, and other pulp magazines in the 1910s, 20s, and 30s. Today, he is cited by Stephen King, Guillermo Del Toro, H.R. Giger, Joyce Carol Oates, Metallica, and countless others as an influence on their work, though he was largely unknown in his lifetime. As Claude noted a few months ago, he lived, for a time, in Brooklyn Heights, before returning to his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, where he lived until his death in 1937.
Last year, I recorded a podcast-reading of Lovecraft’s story “The Colour Out of Space”, set in my old stomping ground of Western Massachusetts “where the hills rise wild”, as the story says. This year, at the suggestion of my friend and Brooklyn Heights resident Dan Patterson , I decided to read “The Horror at Red Hook”, written while Lovecraft was living at 169 Clinton Street, and with the entitled neighborhood as a setting. It’s not one of Lovecraft’s more famous stories, and Lovecraft’s oft-noted racist distrust and disdain for immigrants is palpable in the text, but in the midst of a pretty thrilling action-adventure yarn, it has some evocative descriptions of early 20th century Brooklyn, alongside some wonderfully spooky and sinister imagery, I appreciate the folks at the Brooklyn Heights Blog’s willingness to let me post a link to the readings here. I really enjoy reading and listening to H.P. Lovecraft, and I hope you will too. Finally, I hope you all enjoy taking this creepy little fictional tour through your neighborhood with me, this Halloween.