Movie Fan Man: Cinema Connoisseur

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HorrorBabble Theater Presents: H.P. Lovecraft’s Dagon

by Tony Nash

(Halloween Potpourri 1)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(Mild Spoilers)

Original Artwork (from HorrorBabble/Bandcamp)

Dagon (1917/2018) ***** PG-13

The Narrator/Turner, a Guard/Phipps, an Inmate/A Deep One: Ian Gordon

Music, Sound Effects, and Produced by: Ian Gordon

Adapted for the Airwaves by Ian Gordon from the short story by H.P. Lovecraft

Synopsis: While awaiting a decision on his mental capacity to stand trial for assault on a sailor, a man recounts to a doctor the strange, bizarre, and mind shattering events that led to an addiction to morphine.

Dagon | The H.P. Lovecraft Wiki | Fandom
Mind Shattering Eldritch Horror (from the HP Lovecraft-Wiki Fandom)

Ian Gordon and Jennifer Gill, co-founders of the website and YouTube channel HorrorBabble, bring public domain Horror Classics back to life for new audiences to appreciate, and offer old fans unique renderings of the tales. Two years ago, Ian began the process of turning some of the stories into dramatic adaptations, like the old radio plays of the 20th century, and the first two were of the author who inspired HorrorBabble: H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft, who most people know and are aware, was most famous for his grim and nihilistic Supernatural and Cosmic Horror, but his earliest efforts were quite different, as was the case with Dagon. Dagon is, by all accounts, about a man who’s world view has shattered beyond repair upon discovering something that is much older than humanity, but because Lovecraft had yet to give the basics for what would become the Cthulhu Mythos or The Lovecraftian Cycle and Yogsothoth -ary , this story can be interpreted in many different ways.

H.P. Lovecraft - Dagon | Lovecraft art, Lovecraft, Lovecraftian horror
Artist Depiction of What is on the Dagon Monolith (from Pinterest)

Ian took Lovecraft’s initial concept of a man recounting his horrific mental collapse through a diary in his home before taking his own life, and transferred it into a prison where the unnamed narrator recounts his tale to a visiting psychiatrist who may doubt the man, with a fellow inmate interjecting at interludes. Doing the adaptation as an audio drama, the mind comes into play, viewers encouraged to picture the murky dingy cell, the storm rattling outside, grungy looking prisoners, and a fancy looking guard & doctor. Ian’s use of music and sound effects are perfectly in tune with the atmosphere Lovecraft intended for the piece to invoke, recreating it through performance in fine harmony with the author’s words. The tempo slowly reaches the necessary crescendo as the audience and narrator go deeper and deeper into the vast unknown island, the terror, uncertainty, and awe bubbling to the surface. When the original Deep One first appears, the sound of wet scaley flesh smacking the ground and a gurgle like voice signify its horridness and menace.

Exploring Lovecraft: 1. Dagon – Setting the foundations - GeekChocolate
Artist Representation of Dagon the God (from GeekChocolate)

Ian is an excellent voice artist as well as author and adapter, giving enough distinction with each voice to make him the quintessential one man cast. He uses his own voice for the protagonist narrator, a deep Cockney style accent for the guard, a hoarse raspy voice for the protagonist’s cell mate, and sound effects to make up the noises of a Deep One. The Narrator in Ian’s adaptation is quite rebellious and seems to be very welcoming of death even by his own hands, his reason for wanting to tell his story is so he won’t be written off as just another kook who succumbed to drug abuse, and to let others know what’s out there waiting to rise up again. His cell mate seems very simple, but believes his story, encouraging the doctor to not dismiss the man’s story as a form of hallucination. While Ian’s voice is distinctive enough to know it is him doing all the voices, he is so good at giving each character a different feel that once audiences become acquainted with them, it no longer feels like the same person doing all the talking.  

(The COVID Pandemic, and mine not working my normal summer job has left me unable to get new titles to look into for my blog, so I decided to try something different that feels like Old Time Radio. This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this is purely experimental and something I always wanted to see of I could do justice to for reviews. I’m not the hugest fan of H.P. Lovecraft, but this story and The Nameless City are very good tales that, while are a part of the Cthulhu Mythos, were done early enough in Lovecraft’s lifetime and career that they can be taken as stand alone tales that aren’t too bleak or nihilistic. I’m a huge fan of Ian Gordon and feel he’s a highly talented individual who should certainly be famous worldwide, but still does very well with a large league of followers on the HorrorBabble YouTube channel. If anyone hasn’t already, please check out the channel, and I’ll be leaving links to both the video and the website.

all images courtesy of Images and their respective owners

for more information

to read the actual story

to listen to the recording

please check out the website

Filed under: Film & TV: Potpourri

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