The Strange High House In The Mist: TCL#51

And so its back to fair old Kingsport, an odd little town on the New England coast the old tentacle hugger first brought to our attention in The Terrible Old Man, who, coincidently turns up at the beginning of this tale. Indeed he points out the strange house that resides on the northern cliff overlooking the town, an ancient old house that the residents of Kingsport tell many a strange tale. Yet tales that contradict themselves. certainly, no resident of Kingsport would ever consider working their way up to the old house that overlooks the Miskatonic bay where the river that flows through Arkham empties out into the sea. So it should come as no surprise that this story narrates the tale of a philosopher who visits Kingsport and despite the wisdom of the locals decides he should try to find a path that leads up to this strange imposing place.

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Let’s face it, who hasn’t thought to themselves, oh look an odd looking house in the middle of nowhere and even that terrible old man I met told me I should avoid the place like everyone who lives in this who town does. I think I shall go there…  After all, what could go wrong…

As tropes go, it’s right up there with going to stay at that rundown little cabin in the backwoods. That one the strange old guy in the last gas station twenty miles back said we should avoid. Oh, look my cell has lost all its signal… Is that a hillbilly over there, the one with the beard you could lose a badger in, yes that’s him the one sharpening his axe…

Okay, let me be fair a moment, Lovecraft was writing long before The Evil Dead, and a hundred other movies sunk that little trope into our collective zeitgeist. All the same, sympathy is a devil to find for this philosopher and his stranger desire to visit this imposing place on nothing more than a whim. But there is more to this tale than a slasher in the woods which it might bring to mind as you first read it. It far spookier than any predictable slasher movie. The occupant of the strange house is more mystic than murder. He tells his visitor of many strange things, of old gods and of speaking to the mists and the sea. His strange talk of impossible things is strange, but then we start slipping into Beyond the walls of sleep territory. Then there comes a knocking at the door, the door that hangs out over the cliff edge, over the abyss, and the odd bearded man who lives in this even odder house is not entirely pleased with the one who knocks…

And then it all gets so much more interesting and downright weird…

Well, its a tale that should be read, after a lot of far too dry, if not arid to Gobi desert standards stuff of late Lovecraft hits some form once more, because let’s face it, with the exception of Call of Cthulhu its been mediocre fair at best since way back around the time of Red Hook. This story, however, has that missing something, that edge of the earlier tales, it even manages to do something akin to his normally tedious dreamlands stuff without sending me to sleep. And given the tales yet to come are some of the best the High House left me somewhat more positive about the rest of this now 3-year trek of mine through Lovecraft’s back catalogue.

It gets a hearty five slithering tentacles coming out of the mists beyond the ominous portal…  Because finally after what seems like a bit of an age this is a tale I can recommend you read…

5out 6

AS ever Further Lovecraftian witterings as ever can be found here

 

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