The Scariest Things Podcast Episode CV: Cosmic Horror

Fangoria! Woo!
Inexplicable, unfathomable, abominable, and utterly incomprehensible: Cosmic Horror is designed to blow your mind. The concepts are vast and often come with a metric ton of tentacles. Behold and beware, it’s Episode 105! The Stars are Right and your fates have been sealed. You MUST listen to this podcast!

Make a sanity check! Cosmic Horror exists to challenge your mind. Malevolent forces beyond comprehension have been maliciously scheming for the end of the world, the corruption of humanity, and the complete undoing of reality as we know it. Sounds like a party! There are no petty Earthly sins at work here. No simple explanations. A zombie plague? Please. Vampires? Feh. Small potatoes. We’re talking and impending doom here.

Plushy Cthulhu loves you! Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! Ph’nglui mglw’nfah Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!

Cosmic Horror owes a great debt to the scholarly, wordy, and dense writings of early 20th Century author H.P. Lovecraft. A problematic iconic figure to be sure… the man was a blatant racist… but his influence in the genre continues to inspire creative thinkers to this day.

Consider the fabulous new show Lovecraft Country, which is showing now on HBO. Or, the incredibly popular show that bears a strikingly similar title to ours, Stranger Things. (Total coincidence, I assure you! Ahem…) Both of these programs explore different periods (the ’80s and ’50s respectively), but the thoughts are completely contemporary. Cosmic horror has a way of putting society through the wringer and making us examine that state of culture as we know it. Needless to say, right now is prime real estate for Cosmic Horror metaphors.

Characters in stories in this genre are faced with mind-boggling mysteries and are curious enough to poke their noses in and investigate the bizarre. It is that pursuit of the horrifying unknown that is the anchor to Cosmic Horror. It starts out with something innocuous at first. Somebody went missing. Or there has been some strange chanting in the hill over yonder. But as the stories unfold, the epic consequences are revealed.

Ominous realms beyond our comprehension. Places of dreams and madness. Otherwise intelligent scientists pushing the boundaries of science just a bit too far to perceive that which is just out of reach. And monsters that are so inhuman as to give you seizures just by looking at them. This is the realm of the Cosmic, and these are all fantastic story hooks that bring us to the boundary where science fiction and horror meet modern mythology.

This sub-genre taps into some of the most imaginative minds in the business. Notable filmmakers who have explored Cosmic Horror include Guillermo Del Toro, John Carpenter, Stuart Gordon, David Cronenberg, Don Coscarelli, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead, and Panos Cosmatos. And we would remiss not to share our love of Portland’s own H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, which taps in deeply to all things Cosmic Horror.

As an added bonus, here is a YouTube primer on how to correctly perform the Cthulhu summoning chant, including a guest appearance by “Christopher Walken”. You know. Just in case you want to have a chat with a malevolent squid God. (Do it! You know you want to!)

So dust off those musty tomes and put on that lucky elder sign necklace that has been hanging in your kitchen. Get ready to peer into the great beyond that is Cosmic Horror with The Scariest Things Podcast. The stars are right!

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