Friday, October 29, 2010
In another signal of H.P. Lovecraft's surge into mainstream culture, the latest Scooby-Doo incarnation recently aired a Lovecraftian episode. "The Shrieking Madness" appeared on Cartoon Network as part of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, and centers around a villain named H.P. Hatecraft. Besides the hilariously named Hatecraft, we're shown a cartoon Harlan Ellison, Mythos names, Cthulhu symbolism galore, and scenery extracted right from Lovecraft's fiction.
The makers of this episode have certainly done their homework. Unlike the usual Lovecraftian adaptation that throws in a few garbled, multi-syllabic names and tentacled monsters, there are inside jokes that dig into HPL's legacy. Perhaps the funniest moment is when the cartoon Harlan Ellison berates Lovecraft as "a literary fraud," echoing the weird writer's vicious assessment at the hands of critics like Edmund Wilson.
Several clips from the episode are embedded below, and it can be watched in full as well. Altogether, this is a strong indicator of Lovecraft's rising visibility. It may also turn on a new generation of readers in another decade or so, when children seeing this today pick up a Lovecraft book as adolescents and experience that "A-ha!" moment, connecting a parody seen in childhood to a severe literary presence.