My piece on Kirk's horror is live online at Modern Age:
"The disgust the Lovecraft school of horror feels for the world is self-deceptive. Materialist and psychological horror has convinced itself that the world is all there is, but its strength derives from its desire to be wrong about the nature of reality. It wants a coherent transcendent order to illuminate reality with meaning, and this brand of horror is really a plaintive longing for something like Kirk’s vision of eternity. In the horror of artists like Lovecraft and John Carpenter, the disgust we experience is akin to Augustine’s restless heart, longing for God. They tremble at a world denuded of meaning but fail to read their fear as a sign suggesting the possibility of transcendence.
The secret to the strength of Kirk’s horror can be found etched into his own tombstone in the back of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Remus, Michigan. A quote from T. S. Eliot reads, “The communication of the dead / is tongued with fire / Beyond the language of the living.” Kirk’s horror, expressed in perfections of form and craft, is suffused with this spirit. It frightens by bringing us out of ourselves and humbling us with revelation. It challenges us by piercing our day-to-day sense of the temporal with bright flashes of eternal order. And it lays upon us the heavy but joyous responsibility of harmonizing ourselves with that order"