Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Other Forms of H.P. Lovecraft

I have read a paper by my friend Nathaniel Wallace, who presented at the Dr. Henry Armitage Memorial Scholarship Symposium in Providence, Rhode Island, in August of last year. Nate's paper is about adaptations of Lovecraft's work to musical forms. That got me thinking about other adaptations of Lovecraft's stories and poems. Until someone tells me different, I'll stick with Harold S. Farnese's musical settings for two poems by Lovecraft as the first adaptations of his work to a form other than that of verse or prose. Here are the first adaptations into various forms, in chronological order beginning with Farnese's compositions. The source is the website The H.P. Lovecraft Archive, here.

First Musical Adaptations

1932 "Mirage" and "The Elder Pharos," adapted by Harold S. Farnese from sonnets by H.P. Lovecraft from The Fungi from Yuggoth (1930 and 1931 respectively)

"The White Ship" by George Edwards, Dave Michaels, and Tony Cavallari, based on the story by H.P. Lovecraft (1919)
Side 2, Track 1 (6:33)

"At the Mountains of Madness" by George Edwards, Dave Michaels, and Tony Cavallari, based on the story by H.P. Lovecraft (1936)
Side 2, Track 1 (4:57)

1969 Arzachel by Arzachel, Released June 1969 (Evolution Records)
"Azathoth" by Mont Cambell and Dave Stewart, based on the concept by H.P. Lovecraft (1919)
Side 1, Track 2 (4:21)

First Radio Adaptation

1945 Suspense, Nov. 1, 1945 (CBS Radio)
"The Dunwich Horror," based on the story by H.P. Lovecraft (1929)
Starring Ronald Colman as Henry Armitage

First Comic Book Adaptation

1950 The Vault of Horror, Dec. 1950/Jan. 1951 (Vol. 1, No. 16) (EC Comics)
"Fitting Punishment" by Graham Ingels and Al Feldstein, based on "In the Vault" by H.P. Lovecraft (1925)
7 pp. (pp. 9–15)

First Movie Adaptation

1963 The Haunted Palace, Released Aug. 28, 1963 (American International Pictures)
Based on "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" by H.P. Lovecraft (1941)
Directed by Roger Corman
Screenplay by Charles Beaumont
Starring Vincent Price, Lon Chaney, Jr., and Debra Paget
87 min.

First Television Adaptations

1971 Night Gallery (NBC-TV)
Hosted by Rod Serling

"Pickman's Model," Broadcast Dec. 1, 1971, based on the story by H.P. Lovecraft (1927)
Directed by Jack Laird
Teleplay by Alvin Sapinsley
Starring Bradford Dillman and Louise Sorel

"Cool Air," Broadcast Dec. 8, 1971, based on the story by H.P. Lovecraft (1928)
Directed by John Badham
Teleplay by Jack Laird
Starring Barbara Rush and Henry Darrow

First Stage Adaptation

(1932) Fen River or The Swamp City, a one-act operetta proposed by Harold S. Farnese to H.P. Lovecraft but never written or performed.

In other words, there has never been, as far as I know, a stage play based on a work by H.P. Lovecraft. That sounds like an opportunity for an ambitious and enterprising playwright.

Thanks to Nate for leading me to this research and the writing of this series.

The blurb says: "Edgar Allan Poe's The Haunted Palace," but that was just to hook potential viewers. The movie is actually based on "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" by H.P. Lovecraft.

Original text copyright 2018 Terence E. Hanley


  1. For contemporary HPL-inspired music, I like Aklo, especially the first two discs.

  2. The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets have been performing HPL inspired rock music since the early 1990's.

    The HPLHS has been producing high quality radio plays and movies of HPLs works for many years as well.

    There have been many songs written from HPL material for decades in the Rock/Heavy Metal genre. Metallica, for example wrote a few, there are quite a number of other bands that have used HPLs themes since at least the 1970's.