Cop: “What, so you worship the Devil, then?”
Man covered in blood, laughing: “I don’t believe in the Devil. But I believe in this.”
-from The Void
The Void is a 2016 Canadian horror film written and directed by Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie, and produced by Jonathan Bronfman and Casey Walker. It stars Aaron Poole as deputy Daniel Carter, Kenneth Welsh as Dr. Powell, Daniel Fathers as Vincent, Kathleen Munroe as Allison, and Ellen Wong as Kim. The plot follows a group of people who have been trapped in a hospital by a gathering of hooded cultists. The group soon discovers that the hospital has been inhabited by grotesque creatures. [More here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Void_(2016_film)]
I don’t know about you, but THIS is the stuff of which my nightmares are made. But, let’s clarify one thing up front that the “UK Teaser Trailer” below gets wrong:
THE VOID IS NOT an homage to John Carpenter. First of all, Carpenter’s 1982 film, The Thing, is based on John W. Campbell’s 1938 novelette Who Goes There?* All three of the “Thing” films, in fact (1951, 1982, 2011**) owe a debt to Campbell’s story.
Carpenter’s film is an homage to Howard Phillips Lovecraft.*** I can’t say for sure whether Campbell had Lovecraft in mind when he wrote Who Goes There?—but it’s possible, since the story was published a year after Lovecraft’s death.
**The novelette inspired the 1951 film The Thing from Another World, which historically, is pretty nifty, but it’s not Carpenter’s 1982 masterpiece:
THE VOID IS an homage to H. P. Lovecraft.
vii • Preface (Out of the Dark, Volume One: Origins) • (1998) • essay by Anonymous
ix • Introduction (Out of the Dark, Volume One: Origins) • (1998) • essay by Hugh Lamb
1 • The Yellow Sign • [King in Yellow (Chambers)] • (1895) • novelette by Robert W. Chambers
17 • A Pleasant Evening • (1896) • novelette by Robert W. Chambers
38 • Passeur • (1897) • short story by Robert W. Chambers
42 • In the Court of the Dragon • [King in Yellow (Chambers)] • (1895) • short story by Robert W. Chambers
50 • The Maker of Moons • (1896) • novella by Robert W. Chambers
90 • The Mask • [King in Yellow (Chambers)] • (1895) • short story by Robert W. Chambers
105 • The Demoiselle d’Ys • (1895) • short story by Robert W. Chambers
118 • The Key to Grief • (1897) • short story by Robert W. Chambers
231 • The Messenger • (1897) • novelette by Robert W. Chambers
ix • Introduction (Out of the Dark, Volume Two: Diversions) • essay by Hugh Lamb
3 • Out of the Depths • (1904) • short story by Robert W. Chambers
12 • Un Peu d’Amour • (1915) • novelette by Robert W. Chambers
31 • Grey Magic • (1920) • short story by Robert W. Chambers
37 • Samaris • (1906) • short story by Robert W. Chambers
62 • In Search of the Great Auk • (1904) • short story by Robert W. Chambers
82 • The Death of Yarghouz Khan • (1920) • short story by Robert W. Chambers
91 • The Sign of Venus • (1903) • short story by Robert W. Chambers
101 • The Third Eye • (1915) • short story by Robert W. Chambers
123 • The Seal of Solomon • (1906) • short story by Robert W. Chambers
148 • The Bridal Pair • (1902) • short story by Robert W. Chambers
160 • In Search of the Mammoth • (1904) • short story by Robert W. Chambers
184 • Death Trail • (1920) • short story by Robert W. Chambers
190 • The Case of Mr. Helmer • (1904) • short story by Robert W. Chambers
E. LE GRAND BEERS
My dear Le Grand,—You and I were early drawn together by a common love of nature. Your researches into the natural history of the tree-toad, your observations upon the mud-turtles of Providence Township, your experiments with the fresh-water lobster, all stimulated my enthusiasm in a scientific direction, which has crystallized in this helpful little book, dedicated to you.
Pray accept it as an insignificant payment on account for all I owe to you.
It appears to the writer that there is urgent need of more “nature books”—books that are scraped clear of fiction and which display only the carefully articulated skeleton of fact. Hence this little volume, presented with some hesitation and more modesty. Various chapters have, at intervals, appeared in the pages of various publications. The continued narrative is now published for the first time; and the writer trusts that it may inspire enthusiasm for natural and scientific research, and inculcate a passion for accurate observation among the young.
April 1, 1904.
Where the slanting forest eaves,
Shingled tight with greenest leaves,
Sweep the scented meadow-sedge,
Let us snoop along the edge;
Let us pry in hidden nooks,
Laden with our nature books,
Scaring birds with happy cries,
Rooting up each woodland plant,
Pinning beetle, fly, and ant,
So we may identify
What we’ve ruined, by-and-by.
Because it all seems so improbable—so horribly impossible to me now, sitting here safe and sane in my own library—I hesitate to record an episode which already appears to me less horrible than grotesque. Yet, unless this story is written now, I know I shall never have the courage to tell the truth about the matter—not from fear of ridicule, but because I myself shall soon cease to credit what I now know to be true. Yet scarcely a month has elapsed since I heard the stealthy purring of what I believed to be the shoaling undertow—scarcely a month ago, with my own eyes, I saw that which, even now, I am beginning to believe never existed. As for the harbor-master—and the blow I am now striking at the old order of things—But of that I shall not speak now, or later; I shall try to tell the story simply and truthfully, and let my friends testify as to my probity and the publishers of this book corroborate them.
On the 29th of February I resigned my position under the government and left Washington to accept an offer from Professor Farrago—whose name he kindly permits me to use—and on the first day of April I entered upon my new and congenial duties as general superintendent of the water-fowl department connected with the Zoological Gardens then in course of erection at Bronx Park, New York.
For a week I followed the routine, examining the new foundations, studying the architect’s plans, following the surveyors through the Bronx thickets, suggesting arrangements for water-courses and pools destined to be included in the enclosures for swans, geese, pelicans, herons, and such of the waders and swimmers as we might expect to acclimate in Bronx Park.
It was at that time the policy of the trustees and officers of the Zoological Gardens neither to employ collectors nor to send out expeditions in search of specimens. The society decided to depend upon voluntary contributions, and I was always busy, part of the day, in dictating answers to correspondents who wrote offering their services as hunters of big game, collectors of all sorts of fauna, trappers, snarers, and also to those who offered specimens for sale, usually at exorbitant rates.
To the proprietors of five-legged kittens, mangy lynxes, moth-eaten coyotes, and dancing bears I returned courteous but uncompromising refusals—of course, first submitting all such letters, together with my replies, to Professor Farrago.