If it’s a common presumption that Edgar Allen Poe is the father of modern horror, then H.P. Lovecraft can be considered his first offspring. The Rhode Island native wrote countless “weird fiction” stories, as they were called, between 1917 and 1935 that were to influence modern masters of the genre, like Stephen King, F. Paul Wilson and Neil Gaiman.
But one place that hasn’t seen much of Lovecraft’s macabre horror influence is in the theater, where recreating horrific scenes can get a bit too complicated —that is, unless you’re doing radio theater.
And fortunately Dan Bianchi is in that business, as a part of Radiotheatre, which had tremendous success in staging several works by Edgar Allen Poe, set to an intricate sound design and score. With H.P. Lovecraft’s works finally considered public domain, now was the time for a homage for the under-sung but influential master of frightening short stories about ancient gods and alien life forms.
“It’s because of our unique presentation that we’re able to do the kinds of work that ordinary theater can’t,” Bianchi explains. “What he was writing about, none of the other writers of his time ever came close to. Sometimes it’s hard to get through his fiction style, but after adapting about 50 of his short stories, I was hooked forever.”
Prepare for plenty of chills as the H.P. Lovecraft festival wraps up with weekend, with performances of “The Dunwich Horror” and “The Beast In the Cave” to name a few.
Bianchi hopes to spread an awareness of Lovecraft’s work, especially because it’s rumored that a Hollywood titan will soon be doing the same. Bianchi says that James Cameron will be adapting “At the Mountains of Madness” to film.
“So when that breaks in 3-D, everyone’s going to be writing about him and going crazy,” says Bianchi. “He’s already big amongst the role-playing game stuff. Many of the young kids know H.P. Lovecraft from that and yet in the theater world, we’ve been ignorant of it.”
Follow Heidi Patalano on Twitter at @HeidiatMetro.