Monday, July 9, 2012
Pickman's Model from Man Powered Films on Vimeo.
"But by God, Eliot, it was a photograph from life!"
"Pickman's Model" is probably my favourite of all of Lovecraft's stories. It's likely because it was the first story of his I ever read, but even upon re-reading, it holds tight to the A-Numba-One-Stunna spot. It's just so dang simple, ain't it? It's a clean story. No unnecessary words or passages or excess 'IA Cthulhu Phtagn!'-type phrases clogging up the paragraphs. Just a story about an artist and a photograph.
"Pickman's Model", for me, is 'An Idiot's Guide to Lovecraftian Philosophy'. There are better stories in the canon, like, say "The Colour Out of Space", but few of them so explicitly spell out the whole 'everything you know is a lie' thing that Lovecraft had going on.
Too, as frightening as Cthulhu and the rest of polysyllabic crowd are, Pickman's ghouls don't go away when the stars return to normal. No, they're still there, under our streets and in our subway tunnels and behind the walls of our basements. They eat our dead, wear our hand-me-downs, tell jokes and occasionally pose for portraits. There's a culture there, a sense of identity that runs parallel to our own and that makes them infinitely more horrifying than some eldritch and utterly alien intelligence.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I think there's something scratching at my basement door. It's probably the cat.