H. P. Lovecraft's "The Hound" is the tale of two dark-minded men whose hobby is robbing crypts and graves, collecting "souvenirs" such as headstones and skulls from the decayed corpses for private exhibition in the house they share. Stealing a cursed jade amulet from the skeletal remains of a Dutchman who was himself a legendary graverobbing ghoul, they find themselves pursued back to their "museum" by an unseen hound, whose distant baying comes from the distance. At this point, the story takes ever darker directions....
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Broadly speaking there are worse ways to spend 20 minutes. The Hound is an atmospheric story and one of the more accessible of Lovecraft's. The unnanmed narrator is very much a repentant sinner and does evoke some sympathy despite havung largely brought his fate down upon his own head.
The title seems to cause people to believe that it is related to the Hounds of Tindalos, in Lovecraft's writings, and quotes from this keep turning up in game material for the Chaosium RPG and such when describing them. The creature in this is a very different animal and equally nasty in its own way. It's really a chilling little effort.
I would compare The Hound less to other books, although it does follow Lovecraft's patented "storyteller doomed from the first line; here's why" format. Instead I would suggest that this reminded me of a treatment for a horror film. In keeping with its length much is referred to rather than directly described and I can't help thinking that there is scope there for a rather good, if gory, film.
In a world where the Evil Dead films exist one thing you might expect a professional reader to get right is the pronunciation of the Necronomicon. It's a fairly important part of much of Lovecraft and I have never before heard the word mangled so badly. He's also clearly unfamiliar with the name St John (pronounced "Sinjin") as he uses "Saint John" throughout.
The narrator gives the distinct impression he is cold reading the story. He tends to. Leave pauses. Every three words. Or so. Irrespective of sentence structure. i know the story well and he made it tough to follow. There's also the inexplicable decision to read it in an older voice than his natural one, judging by the intro, which is deeply odd as the implication is the story is about a pair of young men. Given the stilted performance, though, this is the least of my worries.
I have a freebie audio of this story from a volunteer reader at Librivox and while that is read with an unnecessarily sepulchral tone it's a less painful listen than this.
His diction is good, hence the 2 stars.
Never go recreationally graverobbing?
- The Dreaded Drutt