Clark Ashton Smith

By far one of my favorite authors of weird tales and fiction in general is Clark Ashton Smith, close associate of H.P. Lovecraft. This passage makes clear why:

“Of course, as in all mediaeval towns, there had been occasional instances of alleged sorcery or demoniacal possession; and, once or twice, the perilous temptations of succubi had made their inroads on the pious virtue of Vyones. But this was nothing more than might be expected, in a world where the Devil and his works were always more or less rampant. No one could possibly have anticipated the reign of infernal horrors that was to make hideous the latter months of autumn…. The terror that soon prevailed, beneath the widening scope of these Satanical incursions and depredations, was beyond all belief — a clotted, seething, devil-ridden gloom of superstitious obsession, not to be hinted at in modern language. Even by daylight, the Gothic wings of nightmare seemed to brood in underparting oppression above the city; and fear was everywhere, like the foul contagion of some epidemic plague. The inhabitants went their way in prayer and trembling; and the archbishop himself, as well as the subordinate clergy, confessed an inability to cope with the ever-growing horror.” — Clark Ashton Smith, The Maker of Gargoyles.

In the annotations of the 5 volumes of Clark Ashton Smith’s Collected Fantasies, I read Clark Ashton Smith was approached to develop screenplays for his stories “The Dark Eidolon,” and “The Colossus of Ylourgne” but Carl Laemmle Jr. was removed as head of production for Universal Studios so the project was dropped in the ripple effect. It is fun to speculate what the result of a collaboration between Clark Ashston Smith and the film production forces behind Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Old Dark House, and Bride of Frankenstein could have been. “The Colossus of Ylourgne” would have been the first large scale Zombie film, either would have been masterpieces if directed by James Whale or Tod Browning, maybe with Ray Harryhausen special effects.

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