The Rats in the Walls
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The Rats in the Walls

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  1,561 ratings  ·  71 reviews
"The Rats in the Walls" is a short story by H.P. Lovecraft. Written in August–September 1923, it was first published in Weird Tales, March 1924.

The story is narrated by the scion of the Delapore family, who has moved from Massachusetts to his ancestral estate in England, known as Exham Priory. On several occasions, the protagonist and his cats hear the sounds of rats scurr...more
Paperback, 95 pages
Published (first published 1986)
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Gary
I was trying to remember if I had read any H. P. Lovecraft in college...I most likely did....but I can't remember one thing I read in college. I remember Poe, most certainly, but Lovecraft doesn't stand out. I was looking at a list of great stories about haunted houses,and out of the 7 I had already read 5. This one, which on the list, I had not,and I am certain I'd not read this particular one before. I loved being a virgin on this one....I found myself wide eyed through out, because Lovecraft...more
Lou
The skill of Lovecraft's writing is monumental he writes with shear skill and atmosphere. This story is one of a terror of rats be sure to buy a cat when you occupy and new property as it may be a priceless weapon. The rats are a viscous, gelatinous, ravenous army that feast on the dead and the living.

"the walls were alive with nauseous sound the veminous slithering of ravenous, gigantic rats."

"My searchlight expired, but still I ran. I heard voices, and yowls, and echoes, but above all there
...more
Lisa Dee
One of Lovecraft's finest short stories. Poor Delapore should have stayed in America and not returned to his ancestral home in Britain. He came from an "accursed line" and when he discovers exactly how cursed, it is too late. This is a very dark tale and Lovecraft weaves a terrifying story with ornate but beautiful language and imagery.
Kat
This is one of Lovecraft's masterpieces of terror that doesn't directly mention his well-known elder gods directly, but hints at elder evil nonetheless. It's one of my favorite stories, truly a creepfest.

Plot: The last man in his family line decides to go back to his family's ancestral home to renovate and preserve his legacy, only to find there's more history to the house than he really wants to know.
Fiona Moyler
For a guy who is often described as a writer of "atheist" horror, Lovecraft seems to have a very visceral horror of paganism. Or perhaps he just assumes his (civilized, christian) readers will have. You do have to put yourself back in the time and place these stories were written in quite a bit for various reasons. Lovecraft thinks it obvious that everything "primitive" is negative and horrific, whereas I, writing in the early 21st century have a more typical-for-my-time respectful (or possibly...more
Heather
The short story "The Rats in the Walls" was recommended on the Horror podcast of Writing Excuses a while back. Not a big fan. The first five pages were boring and mostly pointless to the rest of the story. The ending felt inevitable rather than surprising and horrifying. Maybe I'm just the wrong audience.
Dudu Serra
It was an interesting story.
The pacing was very good and the plot development was built with mastery.

This is my second story by H.P. Lovecraft (actually the third, but i'm kind of rereading) and i'm already used to his style of writing and his love for the word "sanity".

Jules Verne would be proud and a little jealous.*

The end was definitely the best part.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

* I was referring to the moment that they go underground. Something like Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Sean Kottke
My second encounter with the writings of Lovecraft, and as transcendent as the first. The roots in Poe are clearly visible, but Lovecraft takes the horror of The Tell-Tale Heart from the merely psychological to the cosmic. It doesn't help that having once discovered field mice and river rats in the walls of homes in which I've lived in the past, rodents figure more prominently in my nightmares than any other beast. This takes that fear to another plane entirely. Thanks, Mr. Lovecraft!
Mateo Rinland
Una vez un fan de Lovecraft me dijo que era una exageración eso que se suele decir del representante más conocido del género del horror cósmico: que era extremadamente racista. Bueno, estoy leyendo todos sus cuentos (ya llevo unos 50 de 100), y, lamentablemente, hasta ahora no hay nada de exagerado en esas afirmaciones. Eso no quita que algunas de sus historias sean muy buenas... por ahí se tomó al pie de la letra eso del "miedo a lo desconocido" jaja
Liam
A bit of a spoiler, but this story reminds me mostly of "the Yellow Wallpaper," especially in their respective endings. The biggest difference is that while I found the Yellow Wallpaper unpleasant to even read, this story came across as unsettling in its content alone. Of course, as I haven't read the Yellow Wallpaper since highschool, I may have just matured as a reader and be less easily disturbed.
Jeffrey LeBlanc
Lovecraft paved the way for several horror masters and his use of imagery was tremendous. This is amazing for a writer who I found weak on dialogue in some of his tales. But his ability to un-nerve a reader or create incredible and outrageous landscapes of horrifying images cannot be denied. "The Rats in the Walls" is H.P. Lovecraft at his terrifying best.
Laila (AKA LunaBelle)
Lovecraft never gives me the satisfaction of expressing any feeling of distress or fear. Unlike Poe's short stories, I find Lovecraft's craft kind of dull. It is true that this short story has substance, but it lacks several traits that would make me stop yawning while reading it.
Sarah
I am inexplicably drawn to this horrific story. I really don't know if it revolts me or intrigues me. My instincts on this story are centered right on the apex of the love-hate slopes, and I don't know which way to go - all things equal, I suppose such deep fascination should count for a 5 star rating, but really, I can't say to my pals "you gotta read this on." When I finished it for the first time, I felt like my hands had been groping the floor of a very busy movie theatre at the end of a hig...more
Mary Narkiewicz
My first time reading Lovecraft.. an eerie tale reminding me of Poe and Hawthorne.. Feeling connected due to the Polish characters who say their rosary beads when faced with the frightening events in the house.
Kernos
I read this in an Omnibus many years ago, in jr. high school. I still remember the feelings it engendered if not the details of the story. I'm often reminded of the story, especially at night with the lights off in bed as I hear mice scurrying within the walls of my country home in the woods.
Nick Anderson
I am just speechless after reading this.
Carson
reminiscent of Poe's Fall of The House of Usher
Barbara Szemerei
Whaaaaaat. Perfect. *clapping*
Jonathan
Fantastic short story. Definitely one of the scarier pieces of short horror I've read in awhile, only thing that compares in recent memory is Lovecraft's "Dunwich Horror." The story's pacing builds suspense and tension very well with a rewarding, climactic end.
It's very easy to see the influence Poe had on Lovecraft in this story in particular. "The Rats in the Walls" reminds me greatly of both, "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "Black Cat."

If you are a fan of the horror genre, you will lik...more
Robert
Super good.
James Cohen
The Rats in The Walls is an interesting read. I really enjoy the first person style in which Lovecraft wrote it. He does an excellent job at building suspense. The conclusion of the story was something I did not expect at all. I honestly did not entirely understand the ending, as it is something that is somewhat left to interpretation I feel. In a way, the strange, unexpected ending actually made me like the story that much more.
Chris
Okay first off I bought this book at B&N It is a collection of his stories, then I came across some Youtube videos that talked about H.P. As I did I saw that one of my favortie movie dierectors John Carptener loved this story. So I I then found the Tales Of Horror and was happy to see that The Rats In The Walls was in there. And the record this story really did FREAK ME OUT.. That is why I am giving it 5 stars wow, it was creepy.
Godzilla
Another masterpiece of suspense from Lovecraft.

The backstory gives some warning of the looming terror: the last of his line returns to his ancient ancestral home, where his predecessors fled from, and discovers a local superstition around his name and his renovation project.

From there the tension builds, with mysterious noises leading to further investigation and a denouement of terror and fear.
Nick
This was one of the very first Lovecraft stories I read, and I'm glad. If I had started on some of his more sci-fi oriented tales that border on abstract, I might not have stayed with him. This story builds upon the ancient nature of the house by Lovecraft unfolding a brief history of its occupants through the centuries. I was creeped out before anything happened. A good one!
Debra
Stephen King recommended author and story. King said Lovecraft is the "twentieth-century horror story's dark and baroque prince" in Chapter 2 of Berkley's 1983 paperback edition of Danse Macabre. He first mentions The Rats in the Walls as one of Lovecraft's best in Chapter 3.
Jesse
I really enjoyed all the history in this book. I understand that none of it is real, but the backstory that Lovecraft creates really adds something to the erie tone of the story.

The concept of the story is also very orignal. I think that Lovecraft has an amazing way of blending horror and scifi to create something all together more terrible.

A great read.
Anahí Parrilla
It is a real book since the begging. One of my favorites writers. I couldn't stop reading. one more night of nightmares!!
Jackie
My first H.P. Lovecraft story. Lovecraft's ability to paint an entire scene and capture all it's emotion within one sentence is the sign of a man who has mastered his craft. It's a short story/thriller where the protagonist slowly discovers the true horrors of his ignominious family tree thanks to a wrecked estate, a cat and a few hungry rats.
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Classic Horror Lo...: Rats in the Wall by HP Lovecraft *Spoilers* 24 38 Oct 10, 2011 02:37PM  
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Howard Phillips Lovecraft, of Providence, Rhode Island, was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction.

Lovecraft's major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror: life is incomprehensible to human minds and the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. Lovecraft has developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a...more
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The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories At the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror At the Mountains of Madness The Transition of H. P. Lovecraft: The Road to Madness

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“Ultimate horror often paralyses memory in a merciful way.” 80 likes
“Through all this horror my cat stalked unperturbed. Once I saw him monstrously perched atop a mountain of bones, and wondered at the secrets that might lie behind his yellow eyes.” 59 likes
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