Week 2 – Horror – Question 1: Reyes (2014), describes Body Horror as being a “fictional representation of the body exceeding itself or falling apart, either opening up or being altered past the point where it would be recognised by normative understandings of human corporeality.” How do The Void and Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth make use of this definition to explore themes of the unknown?

The Shadow Over Innsmouth

 “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

– H.P. Lovecraft

What is Cosmicism?

Lovecraft’s stories held a belief in hopelessness; that humanity is insignificant and powerless in the huge unknown universe, you can beat the evil entity only temporarily, it will eventually return and humanity will be extinguished (how depressing lol); his philosophy stated that there is no god or divine entity, however there are creatures of unknowable power who can pass as gods out there in intergalactic existence.

Cosmic horror is meant to feed on humanities natural fear of the unknown, especially the dread and loneliness some people feel about what could be out in the far reaches of the cosmos.

Though I do not feel any fear of the galaxy, only awe, and perhaps loneliness; but I love space, I often wonder what it would be like to live amongst the stars. And so cosmic horror does not so much scare me, but it does disturb me.

My impressions of Shadow over Innsmouth were that of disinterest due to Lovecraft’s tendency to go in to too much detail and long winded explanations which take him far too  long to get to the point. I found myself getting bored before I even got to the “actual Story”. I was saying to myself “just get to the point already” and “what does this thing he is writing such a long paragraph about have to do with the story”. My point being he just rambles a lot in his writing it seems. This does not deter from my enjoying his mythos and ideas of cosmic horror and the fear of the unknown which is prevalent in all humanity.


As the quotation by Reyes (2014) states; the description of body horror was prevalent in The Void film which we watched in class last week; the doctor in the film has found this unknown entity that he has created some sort of cult to worship and conduct harrowing experiments on poor human victims, in his mission of sorts to cheat death and bring his daughter back from the dead; only to turn them and himself in to inhuman creatures; their body’s being morphed and torn to shreds by the ‘entity’ tentacles petruding from their mouthes for example. The film challenged humanity’s ideas of mortality; I left the film thinking their must have been, though we never saw the true form of the evil behind the doctor’s actions. It must be some ancient far superior alien civilisation coming to attack the lesser species of humanity. The message should be that Humans should never play with the natural order of things; never bring the dead back to life because you have no idea what you could be bringing back.

The shadow over Innsmouth centres around the “fish People” and so Lovecraft describes human bodies that have obvious fish like features which goes against what people see as how a human should look. he describes how these suposed humans have no hair, are grey in color, have flat noses, and wrinkled apearing skin on their neck which came across as an obvious indicator of ‘gills’.

these stories show the idea of the human body being pushed past its limits, ending in something that cant be recognised as human by other fellow humans anymore.


Lovecraft H.P. (1936). Shadow Over Innsmouth.

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Ashleigh Carter

I am Currently studying towards Bachelor of Arts. I Major in Creative Writing and Japanese Studies

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