Happy Halloween 2020 from Balladeer’s Blog!
THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND (1908) – Written by William Hope Hodgson. This tale is a terrific but often overlooked forerunner of Lovecraftian horror blended with traditional haunted house elements. Throw in material that puts the reader in mind of Madame Blavatsky’s and Aleister Crowley’s horror fiction and it’s a magnificent story for Halloween.
Our tale is set in and around an isolated house in a desolate, eerie location in West Ireland. The main character is an elderly man who lives there with his sister. His sleep is tainted with disturbing dreams that become more like occult visions of barren but impossible landscapes. (Think “If M.C. Esher did landscaping.”)
In those visions his and his sister’s house is always in the middle of the terrifying geography. After these unsettling experiences on the astral plane the material version of those forces are unleashed in the real world by a minor earthquake near our main character’s house.
Swinish humanoids that resemble the illusory pig-faced monster in the movie Boardinghouse emerge from the new fissure and besiege the two terrified humans, Night of the Living Dead style.
From there the entire area becomes suffused with eldritch forces from beyond, like in the original Evil Dead. Every move made by our two leads is fraught with danger and not even sleep is an escape from the terror closing in.
Eventually the man encounters his long-dead love and there are indications that his gloomy, morbid preoccupation with this woman he lost may have been what opened the door for the antagonistic chthonic forces. Spirits of humanoid dead emerge from a green sun while twisted spectres of alien origin crawl from a black hole.
SPOILER: After our protagonist survives peril after peril and terror after terror there is a nihilistic finale that seems like a blueprint for countless downbeat horror finales decades after this work.
At times while reading The House on the Borderland you feel like you’re visiting the Tall Man’s dimension in Phantasm or being sucked through a vortex like Ash at the end of Evil Dead 2. Fragments of From Beyond and the Cenobites’ Hell come to mind as well.
If you’re a Twin Peaks fan think of the Qliphothic entities brought into our dimension and attacking the town in the American southwest. “This is the water and this is the well … Drink full and descend … The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within.”
Hodgson’s descriptions make you fear and dread the house and its surroundings and there’s a feeling of despair similar to what Crowley achieved in his story The Testament of Magdalen Blair. +++
FOR ISABELLA OF EGYPT, FEATURING A GOLEM, A MANDRAGORE, A LIVING DEAD MAN, A GYPSY WITCH AND A JEWISH SORCEROR CLICK HERE
FOR MORE HALLOWEEN ITEMS CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/category/halloween-season/
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