Book Review: Cthulhu's Dark Cults - Anthology

Cthulhu's Dark Cults Cthulhu's Dark Cults by David Conyers
My rating: 7 of 10 stars

After reading Cthulhu's Dark Cults my interest in Lovecraftian horror changed... Before all I must say that Lovecraftian Horror is my favourite type/kind of horror. With other kinds of horror you feel fright, disgust but in the end, most of the times it ends well. And most of the time our "hero" surpasses everything with nothing but scratches and such.

In lovecraftian horror there is a sense of hopelessness and something more great than our puny little lives. It's a cosmic reality that transcends everything and we cannot thwart it.

Now for the the stories.

The Eternal Chinaman by John Sunseri 4/5
Location: San Francisco 1920
Perspective: First Person
Evil Cult/Characters: Dagon and Lang-Fu
Cthulhu's Mythos: The manuscripts of Alhazred and Sharinza; Liver of Nephren-Ka (The reason that Gomorrah and Pompeii were destroyed)
Favourite phrase: "You can die," said Lang-Fu plainly. "I cannot".

Synopsis: In this first story we follow the story of an italian that has been traveling/working around the world and now just wants some fun in his hometown. Coincidentally he meets his cousin, a magician, that needs a bodyguard for one day because he is being threatened by some Chinese that want something he have.

The story unfolds and we meet another side of San Francisco. The bar of Mama Tropos, the chase and the final show of the Magician. I would be interested in reading more of Lang-Fu and Mama Tropos. Unfortunately it failed to deliver an horror element.

Captains of Industry by John Goodrich 2/5
Location: Boston 1921
Perspective: Third Person
Evil Cult/Characters: Hermetic Order of the Silver Twilight, Carl Stanford and John Scott
Cthulhu's Mythos: Mention of some books on the stands.

Synopsis: One thing I must say. Goodrich really capture the feeling of the strikes and the trade unions. I didn't enjoy much of this story. János and Dimitri were good characters nevertheless

Perfect Skin by David Witteveen 3/5
Location: Instabul, Turkey 1922
Perspective: Third Person
Evil Cult/Characters: Brotherhood of the Skin
Cthulhu's Mythos: This tale is told in the third person view and for that it failed to achieve one of the fundamentals, in my opinion, of lovecraftian horror. The story itself could have been written outside the Lovecraft Mythos after changing one or references.

Favourite phrase: "Her eyes... her eyes were black now. Not blue. Phelps touched her face. The skin is loose, like a mask made of flesh. Then she

Synopsis: There's some cult that after skins/flay someone and uses the skin to his own machinations. The ending was the best part but it could be only a horror story. Phelps was a good character. I think this story could have been written differently from his own perspective.

Covenant of Darkness by William Jones 4/5

Location: New York 1923
Perspective: First Person
Evil Cult: Ghouls
Cthulhu's Mythos: This short story connects with a book written by the same author "The Strange Cases of Rudolph Pearson".
Favourite phrase: "Right or wrong are becoming difficult for me to distinguish of late." / "We see what we want to see," I opined.

Synopsis: This story had a noir setting in my opinion and probably one of the best even if a bit short. A policeman (Leahy) and a professor (Miss Gabriel) have an encounter from a pack of deformed beings (ghouls) that want something back. Here again we have the feeling that there is something out there but it's best not to reveal to the public.

The Whisper of Ancient Secrets by Penelope Love 2/5
Location: Buchan, Victoria, Australia 1925
Perspective: First Person
Evil Cult/Characters: Cult of the Sand Bat / Robert Huston
Cthulhu's Mythos: Some references like Haunter of the Dark and some ramblings in the language of the old gods.
Favourite phrase: "I feel rather shaken. I think I might made a mistake."

This was a confusing story about a troubled inventor who wants to go the Mad Court and the only way to reach it's through the intercession of the Haunter of the Dark. I am afraid I couldn't understand most of the story. It felt really confusing. I won't rate it for it.

Old Ghost by Peter A Worthy 2/5

Location: Shangai, 1926
Perspective: First Person (Letters)
Evil Cult/Characters: Order of the Bloated Woman / Ho Fong
Cthulhu's Mythos:
Favourite phrase: "Goodbye, my friend. You have done your kaptein proud. I'll carry the torch from here. We won't meet again this side of Heaven."

Synopsis: A nice mystery tale about a man who is going to Shangai to live after the dead of his love one (the person who he is writing letters). Interesting tale that really flow but unfortunally I didn't understood the ending.

The Nature of Faith by Oscar Rios 3/5
Location: Dunwich 1927
Perspective: First Person
Evil Cult /Characters: Not so evil Believers / Mother Bishop.
Cthulhu's Mythos:
Favourite phrase: "Faith, my dear professor Malcolm, is belief without proof." She smiled. " Ya can't prove love exists, but it does. Ya know such a thing. Ya feel it with every bit of your soul. Come to think of it, ya can't really prove there's a soul either. Et's all a matter of faith."

Synopsis: An history professor comes across a Manx (celtic) coin that appears to be coined in the New World. He traces it back to Dunwich. Interesting tale, Gerdy was a good character, the only one that I enjoy for that matter. The ending had a good revelation, worth the reading.

The Devil's Diamonds by Cody Goodfellows 2/5
Location: Galla Tribal lands Kenya 1930
Perspective: First Person
Evil Cult /Characters: Cult of the Bloody Tongue / Nyarlathotep
Favourite phrase:

I really couldn't connect with this tale. It's about a diamond mine that his being held hostage from a cult who plans to summon their god. When you think that's over thing again. Okay tale.

Requiem for the Burning God by Shane Jiraiya Cummings 1/5
Location: Calhao, Peru 1932
Perspective: First Person
Evil Cult/Characters: New World Industries
Favourite phrase: "... waiting with the patience of aeons to be picked up and played once again."

Like the previous one but with a couple of differences. It is a bigger tale but not so much interesting. I really skip parts. At times I really think that this story went nowhere. The ending was the best part... because it ended.

Sister of the Sands by David Conyers 5/5
Location: White Desert, Egypt 1933
Perspective: First Person
Evil Cult / Characters: Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh / Omar Shakti.
Cthulhu's Mythos: Masked Messenger. Black Pharaoh is know by many names. The eternal Chinaman calls him Nephren-Ka, Turkey he is the Skinless one, Kenya is Bloated Tongue, Morroco is Masked Messenger or in Congo is Spiraling Worm and Australia is Sand Bat or aka Nyarlathotep (page229)
Favourite phrase: (Explaining love to woman, the child of the Masked Messenger) "At these words the black cat leapt from my arms, disappearing off my balcony into a tree, and was gone. "Why did it do that?" - I shrugged. "He'll be back. Part of loving someone, is allowing them to be themselves."

The best tale no doubt. Interconnected with almost every tale but mostly with Perfect Skin. The beginning, the quest, the mystery and mainly the pseudo-history lesson about the mythos was great.

Overall, besides a couple of stories I learn didn't enjoy. First of all, the lovecraftian tales of horror must be told in the first person perspective (in my opinion of course) and second some of them didn't had neither horror or that eerie feeling Lovecraft had. Inevitable doom was not upon me.

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