Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wrestling With Cthulhu While Stoned: The Shadow Over Las Vegas

Story ideas come from everywhere. The world is a wealth of the curious and the chaotic. As long as we live with our eyes wide open, as well as our minds and hearts, we who create--and this means all forms of art beyond writing as well--are subject to a wide array of influences, oddments…possibilities.

I'm always game for the possibilities...

Hence, The Shadow Over Las Vegas, my H.P. Lovecraft, Hunter S. Thompson mash-up.

Christmas a few years ago, I received the DVD of Terry Gilliam’s cinematic take on Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Being at a strange place in my life, a kind of purposeful limbo, perhaps, I watched that movie every day for a month straight. A pure sense of drug-induced madcap glee permeates throughout, which my mindset really needed. I remember seeing the movie in a theater when it was released, sitting there with my friend, Fred, who knows drugs intimately (more on him in another blog). There’s a point in the movie where the carpet is crawling up a gentleman’s leg while he’s on the phone; Fred turned to me and nodded knowingly. Anyway, for reasons beyond my knowledge--which, of course, is often the way, one of the possibilities opening to me--I thought, Wouldn’t it be great to give Thompson’s tale a Lovecraftian slant?

I undertook the task, having repurchased the book as well, needing to get the vibe right, and sent Thompson’s Raoul Duke, now called John Wayne (the Duke, get it? yeah, yeah...), to report on a more modern Las Vegas anomaly, er, event, a Marilyn Monroe Weekend of Memories commemorating the 50th anniversary of her death, threw in everything Cthulhu including the big guy himself, lots of drugs, Las Vegas Rat Packers (the True Great Old Ones!), and a general sense of madcap glee like the novel and movie. It was great fun to write, the wild references crossing dimensions, and was snapped up soon thereafter for an excellent anthology called, Cthulhu Unbound, Volume 1, which focused on cross-genre takes on Cthulhu. It’s an excellent presentation, lovely cover and great company as well--I was there along with 14 other writers including Kim Paffenroth and CJ Henderson.

The Shadow Over Las Vegas is an example that anything, no matter how twisted, is possible…if you let your mind run with it; and if you have enough drugs, maaaan.
*totally kidding, c’mon, you don’t think I do drugs, do you? Shhhh… ;-)

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