Jun 11, 2012

Herbert West-Reanimator IV. The Scream of the Dead

"It was disturbing to think that one, perhaps two, of our monsters still lived—that thought haunted us shadowingly, till finally West disappeared under frightful circumstances. But at the time of the scream in the cellar laboratory of the isolated Bolton cottage, our fears were subordinate to our anxiety for extremely fresh specimens. West was more avid than I, so that it almost seemed to me that he looked half-covetously at any very healthy living physique."

In which Dr. Herbert West opts to take a more aggressive approach in the procurement of fresh specimens. Fortune favours the bold.

"Herbert West-Reanimator" was written between October 1921 and June 1922. It was serialized and published in six parts in the amateur publication Home Brew between February and July of 1922. This story provides one of the earliest examples of the walking dead behaving as murderous cannibals. Lovecraft understood then what is now common knowledge. Being brought back from the dead most often makes one crave human flesh. Mindless zombies don't know much, but they do know that nothing satisfies the taste buds like the other, other white meat.

This installment marks a turning point in the relationship between Herbert West and the narrator. His attitude towards West becomes more hostile in the final two installments.

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