Editor's note: Weird Tales is back. Three more uncanny stories inspired by the master of otherworldly horror H.P. Lovecraft. Stephen King called Lovecraft "the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale." Tonight's first programme, by Melissa Murray, is called Connected. Read more about it on the Radio 4 web site. Here Stephen Hogan, who plays Lovecraft in the series, talks about the experience:
I loved playing Lovecraft; dark, damaged, brilliant, reclusive. When I discovered that he'd spent almost two years of self imposed exile in his bedroom as a youth, the only human contact being with his mother who supplied his basic needs, it seemed to provide the perfect context for his introductions to the tales. A sensitive, tortured soul who seemed dislocated from everyday life and society, was it his childhood or natural disposition?
His dark, paranoid almost psychotic take on life, destiny, fate and the supernatural was all reflected in his tales and in so doing created a new genre, which more so than ever seem to chime with the times we live in. Old certainties, values and beliefs seemingly no longer pertain in so much of the world - a world HP knew intimately.
When playing him, I imagined him, filthy, unwashed, surrounded by the detritus of months of living alone, delusional, almost schizophrenic in his hearing of sounds and voices from a malign higher power, randomly deciding an unlucky individual's fate - hopefully setting the tone for these strange, dark, wonderful 'weird' tales. I hope you enjoy them.
Stephen Hogan is an actor
- We'll publish blog posts to coincide with episodes two and three of this short series too. Next week's will be by Emma Stansfield, actor and the week after's by Richard Vincent, writer.
- Listen to episode one of Weird Tales tonight at 2300 (and on the Radio 4 web site for seven days after that).
- Follow programme makers audiotheque on Twitter and look out for Lovecraft references during transmission. Use the hashtag #weirdtales if you're listening.
- There are production pictures by Michelle Turner from Weird Tales 2: Split the Atom, on Flickr.
- H.P. Lovecraft has a Wikipedia entry.
- The picture shows a 1936 edition of Weird Tales, featuring stories by Lovecraft and other horror pioneers. It's by Jeremy Cusker and it's used under licence.