Written by: Matt Molgaard
H.P. Lovecraft doesn’t seem to get enough love around these parts. That’s strange given the fact that I (and a few other HNR contributors) recognize Lovecraft as one of the finest minds to ever put pen to paper. But, today we’ll throw a curveball out there and take one small step at righting a wrong. Let’s get into a little Lovecraft coverage.
I recently picked up the cinematic adaptation of Cool Air. It’s an indie flick, shot on a nonexistent budget with a handful of unrecognizable faces. But the flick has heart, and the heart comes directly from Lovecraft himself. See screenwriter Cynthia Curnan was bright enough to incorporate a great deal of word-for-word quotation, and since the film survives on the strength of narrative, it’s rather effortless to find yourself tangled up in Lovecraft’s tale itself more than the celluloid transfer as a whole. In short, the story sells the film through and through. In fact, the story is so gripping that screening the flick inspired me to hunt down the short.
Cool Air can be found in more than a single Lovecraft collection (countless have now seen release… obviously), but you can also read the story online free of charge. It’s a thought provoking yarn about a struggling writer who moves into a boarding house where some unique characters rest their heads. Among these unorthodox individuals is a reclusive doctor who insists on keeping his room a biting 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Why the constant cool? Our lead is about to find out, as he’s suddenly rescued by the mysterious doctor after collapsing, hands clutched to chest, the heart being attacked.
But the question for our narrator becomes this: Does he truly wish to know the good doctor’s secrets? There’s a cryptic air about the man, and despite the fact that he’s a life saver, he’s also a bit disquieting to be around. There’s good reason for that, and although Lovecraft delivers this tale with a measure of anonymity, its direction and core idea is clearly illuminated for the reader, and we’re never truly fooled by any evasive passages. I won’t be putting the details into words here, but just reading this brief review has likely left you with a solid idea as to what this short is about.
It’s remarkably well written, completely engrossing and rewarding on all fronts. I’m not out to label it one of Lovecraft’s absolute best, but it’s a brilliant story just the same. Follow that link up there and check this one out. You will not be disappointed.