On August 20th, 1890, H.P. Lovecraft was born in Providence, Rhode Island… and the world immediately got a whole lot weirder. While he was young, he began writing what was then known as “weird fiction;” we’d think of it as a mix of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. He’s easily most famous for his work on a combination of works collectively known as the Cthulhu Mythos.
These works are based on the idea that there are enormous, god-like entities who existed before humanity known as “The Great Old Ones.” Cthulhu is the most famous of them, so much so that when the teaser trailer for Cloverfield was first released, nerds all over the Internet were convinced they were finally going to see a Cthulhu-inspired movie; they were, of course, disappointed when reality set in.
Of course, our film doesn’t have the budget to realize Lovecraft’s monster, but it still taps into one of his most popular themes: the idea that the universe is fundamentally alien and attempts to explore and correlate the unknown only end up driving the person mad; if someone were to see “ultimate reality,” whatever humanity and sanity he or she had would vanish in a sort of “reverse gnosis.” It’s basically taking the idea of “curiosity killed the cat” to an intergalactic extreme. Cheerful, I know.
I won’t give away exactly how The Music of Erich Zann ties into this idea (if you’re curious or into spoilers, just check out a book at your local library), but suffice to say it does so in an unexpected and rather shocking manner.