Review of At the Mountains Of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft

SFFaudio Review

At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. LovecraftDark Adventure Radio Theater: At the Mountains of Madness
Adapted by Sean Branney and Andrew Leman from H.P. Lovecraft’s original novel
1 CD – 75 minutes
Publisher: The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society
Published: 2006
Themes: / Science Fiction / Horror / Elder Things / Antarctica / Cthulhu Mythos /

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society brought us a film last time, the 47 minute long The Call of Cthulhu. That film gained acclaim for adapting a renowned H.P. Lovecraft story into a silent-film, black and white style that was the type of films that Lovecraft watched in the 1920s. This time they have given us another classic in the form of a radio broadcast of At the Mountains of Madness in the style of the 1930s. This is brilliant work and every Lovecraft fan should buy the CD and enjoy it.

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) is one of the premiere horror writers of the Twentieth Century. His dense prose, written in a style a century out of date, told stories of cosmic horror in which people often lost their sanity. At the Mountains of Madness is Lovecraft’s longest work, just topping 40,000 words, which makes it a novel, just barely. It is his favorite of mine because of the sense of wonder it evokes. Written in 1931, his normal publisher, Weird Tales, rejected it, and five years passed before Astounding Stories published the novel. The tale describes an expedition from Miskatonic University to the Antarctica which finds the ruins of an ancient civilization and flees awful horrors that should remain undisturbed.

This radio adaptation is eerily true to the original, even though the story had to be truncated to fit the radio form. The main plot points are all included, the flavor of Lovecraft’s writing is included with direct quotes from the original, and the overall effect of reading the original is maintained. They even used the word “cyclopean” twice, always my favorite Lovecraft adjective, along with “singular.” The faux radio broadcast is authentic in even including advertisements by the sponsor, a cigarette manufacturer, Fleurs-de-Lys. Three extra items are included with the CD: a newspaper clipping about the expedition, two reproductions of photographs taken by the expedition, and a reproduction from an expedition sketchbook.

Rumors from Hollywood whisper that Guillermo del Toro (director of Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, and the upcoming The Hobbit) is also making a movie of our story. Sean Branney and Andrew Leman have set the standard, albeit in a different medium, that del Toro must live up to.

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society has also just released another radio drama, Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The Dunwich Horror.

Posted by Eric Swedin