A Children’s Cartoon About H.P. Lovecraft Was Somehow a Thing
This weekend sees the premiere of Lovecraft Country, the new HBO show about monsters, both racist and otherworldly. The story seemingly works as an homage to the horror stories of H.P. Lovecraft, while simultaneously interrogating the famed author's notorious history with being a giant piece of bigoted shit.
One recent Lovecraft adaptation that's just a tad less thoughtful and nuanced: the Howard Lovecraft series, a trilogy of animated movies for children starring an adorable, pint-sized version of H.P. Lovecraft himself. Kind of like Muppet Babies if one of them was an outspoken white supremacist.
The first film was titled Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom, presumably confusing loads of kids who watched it expecting Anna, Elsa, and Olaf not the pasty, gaunt author of At the Mountains of Madness. Based on the graphic novel of the same name, the story opens with Howard visiting his father in a sanitarium, likely inspired by the fact that Lovecraft's real-life dad was committed due to a "mental disorder caused by untreated syphilis" which eventually killed him. But, sure, turn it into the starting point for a goddamn cartoon.
Howard's father's journal eventually opens the gateway to a magical realm (because apparently, his syphilis-ridden delusions are secretly magic) where Howard befriends wacky tentacle monsters and goes on fun adventures. This was followed by two sequels inexplicably featuring the vocal talents of Mark Hamill and Christopher Plummer.
It's one thing to take inspiration from an author's literary works like Lovecraft, as the TV show has, it's another to try and "rewrite history" by turning a real-life racist into friggin' Jimmy Neutron. Like, if The Boss Baby included a scene where we learned that the titular baby grew up to be David Duke, people probably would have hated that movie even more than the degree with which they already hated it.
Top Image: Arcana Studio