Crouch End (short story)
|Genre(s)||Horror, Science fiction short story|
|Published in||New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (1st release),
Nightmares & Dreamscapes
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
Crouch End is a horror story by Stephen King, originally published in New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (1980), and republished in a slightly different version in King's Nightmares & Dreamscapes collection (1993). It contains distinct references to the horror fiction of H. P. Lovecraft.
A television adaptation aired July 12, 2006 on TNT, as part of Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King. A song by British black metal/dark ambient band The Axis of Perdition uses excerpts from the story as lyrics.
On August 19, 1974, two police officers, alcoholic veteran Ted Vetter and newcomer Robert Farnham, are working the night shift in the London neighborhood of Crouch End. They are discussing the case of Doris Freeman, a young American woman who came in to report the disappearance of her husband, lawyer Leonard Freeman. Nearly hysterical, Doris talks of monsters and supernatural incidents.
She relates how she and her husband were looking for a potential employer's house in Crouch End, but as they did so, they became lost. As they continued searching, their surroundings started to change subtly and become infested by what appeared to be monsters and demons. Doris escapes with her life, but her husband is not so lucky, being consumed by some kind of hideous creature. (Implied to be the Lovecraftian creature Shub-Niggurath due to a reference to 'the Black Goat with a Thousand Young' made shortly before the creature's appearance)
Farnham dismisses the story as rubbish, but Vetter, who has worked in Crouch End for years, is not so sure, remembering a time previously when similar events happened. He speaks of different dimensions and Crouch End being a place where the veil between our world and another more demonic world is at its weakest. The story ends with Farnham going out into the night, only to find that something is different about the area for him too. He is never seen again, and Vetter dies a few years later. The story ends by saying that people continued to disappear in Crouch End and sometimes are never seen again.
The short story was adapted into an episode of Turner Network Television's Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King, starring Eion Bailey and Claire Forlani.
Virginia Heffernan of The New York Times said that it "has a simpler charm" than previous episodes and that the couple's terror at being lost makes "a grand subject for horror." Bryan Pope of DVD Verdict rated the episode D+ and stated that the story doesn't work on television. Christopher Noseck of DVD Talk panned the episode in part because of the special effects, which he called "laughable".
- Heffernan, Virginia (2006-07-12). "Exploring Darkness and Anxiety in Stephen King’s 'Nightmares and Dreamscapes'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
- Pope, Bryan (2006-11-14). "Nightmares And Dreamscapes". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
- Noseck, Christopher (2006-10-24). "Nightmares & Dreamscapes - From the Stories of Stephen King". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2013-11-27.