THE SHUTTERED ROOM

That many were skeptical of the degree to which these stories –- one of which was The Shuttered Room –- could actually be considered Lovecraft’s work is understandable. Not only had Lovecraft been dead for over twenty years at the time of their writing, but those examples of his notes included in the same volume clearly demonstrate that many of his story ideas consisted of little more than single sentences that had a lot more to do with suggestions of tone than any kind of specific plot details. As a result, these particular efforts on Derleth’s part came to be seen by many as nothing more than a distasteful bit of coattail-riding.

Now I have to confess to not having actually read The Shuttered Room, but if the 1967 movie adaptation of the story is any indication (which, admittedly, it very well may not be), it’s thematic relationship to Lovecraft’s work is –- on a superficial level, at least –- pretty explicit. Or, at least, I should say, it’s relationship to one specific piece of Lovecraft’s work, because the movie seems to rely pretty heavily upon The Dunwich Horror for many of it key elements. The setting is an island off the New England coast (which is actually parts of Norfolk, in the old England, standing in for New England) called Dunwich, which, to the scant extent that it is inhabited at all, is populated mostly by descendents of the Whateley family, that clan who figured so prominently in the action of the original Dunwich. There is talk of a “Whateley Curse” and, most importantly, some kind of unspeakable horror locked away in an attic room in an old house belonging to the family.



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