H.P. Lovecraft’s Classic Horror Stories Free Online: Download Audio Books, eBooks & More

We can­not prop­er­ly speak of hor­ror fic­tion with­out men­tion­ing the name H.P. Love­craft, any more than we could do so with­out speak­ing of Edgar Allan Poe, whose com­plete works we fea­tured in a post yes­ter­day. Even now, as some of Lovecraft’s real­ly vicious atti­tudes have come in for much crit­i­cal reap­praisal, the Love­craft­ian is still a dom­i­nant form. Win­ners of the World Fan­ta­sy Award receive a bust of the author, and dark mod­ern mas­ters like Stephen King and Joyce Car­ol Oates admit that Love­craft was “the twen­ti­eth century’s great­est prac­ti­tion­er of the clas­sic hor­ror tale” and “an incal­cu­la­ble influ­ence on suc­ceed­ing gen­er­a­tions of writ­ers of hor­ror fic­tion.” His work, writes Salon, has influ­enced “every­one from the Argen­tin­ian metafic­tion­ist Jorge Luis Borges to the film direc­tor Guiller­mo del Toro, as well as untold num­ber of rock bands and game design­ers.”

The ear­ly twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry author spent almost his entire life in the New Eng­land of his birth, draw­ing on its many odd­i­ties in obscure sto­ries pub­lished in pulp magazines—notably the influ­en­tial Weird Tales. Hypochon­dri­ac, hyper-sen­si­tive, and reclu­sive in lat­er life, Love­craft sur­vived on a dwin­dling inher­i­tance and nev­er achieved much recog­ni­tion. But in death, he has spawned a for­mi­da­ble cult who immerse them­selves in a uni­verse cre­at­ed from ref­er­ences to the occult, demonolo­gy, and var­i­ous mytho­log­i­cal arche­types. How­ev­er over­wrought his prose, Lovecraft’s work can be sit­u­at­ed in a long lit­er­ary tra­di­tion of influ­ence, and a Love­craft cir­cle con­tin­ued to expand his vision of sci­en­tif­ic and super­nat­ur­al hor­ror after his death.

Cen­tral to the Love­craft cos­mos are “The Old Ones,” a col­lec­tion of pow­er­ful pri­mor­dial beings, and their cult wor­shipers, first intro­duced in “The Call of Cthul­hu” in 1926. At the top of the post, you can hear a dra­mat­ic read­ing of the sto­ry by Gar­rick Hagon. Just above hear a radio drama­ti­za­tion of “The Colour Out of Space,” which was col­lect­ed in The Best Amer­i­can Short Sto­ries in 1928, one of the few of Lovecraft’s works to receive such an hon­or in his life­time. You’ll find much more Love­craft read aloud on YouTube, includ­ing clas­sic sto­ries like “The Dun­wich Hor­ror,” “At The Moun­tains of Mad­ness,” and “The Hor­ror at Red Hook.”

Lis­ten­ing to Love­craft is an excel­lent, as well as con­ve­nient, way to expe­ri­ence his work. His florid, often archa­ic, and melo­dra­mat­ic descrip­tions lend them­selves per­fect­ly to aur­al inter­pre­ta­tions. Luck­i­ly for us, we have not one, but two audio book col­lec­tions of near­ly every­thing Love­craft ever wrote. Just above, stream his com­plete pub­lic domain works, and see the Inter­net Archive for anoth­er audio­book set of his col­lect­ed works. One of the rea­sons audio of Love­craft is so plen­ti­ful is that most of his work is in the com­mons. SFF Audio has yet anoth­er huge col­lec­tion of Love­craft sto­ries read aloud, down­load­able as MP3s. Final­ly, if you some­how can’t find what you’re look­ing for at any of those links, you’re bound to at The World’s Largest H.P. Love­craft Audio Links Gate­way.

Should lis­ten­ing to Love­craft whet your appetite for more, you may just be ready to start read­ing. Although Lovecraft’s fic­tion fea­tures what may be some of mod­ern literature’s most dread­ful mon­sters, the hor­ror in his work is most­ly exis­ten­tial, as char­ac­ters con­front a vast, malev­o­lent and thor­ough­ly alien uni­verse that has no regard for human life what­so­ev­er. But the per­sis­tent bleak­ness and doom of his vision is coun­tered by an inex­haustibly rich imag­i­na­tion. In one of the open­ing sen­tences of “The Call of Cthu­lu,” Love­craft writes, “the most mer­ci­ful thing in the world, I think, is the inabil­i­ty of the human mind to cor­re­late all its con­tents,” per­haps the truest descrip­tion of his own fic­tion­al cos­mos. Love­craft schol­ars and fans spend life­times sift­ing through his mas­sive store­house of weird­ness. Whether you’re inclined to join them in the deep end, or just dip in a toe, you can find all of Lovecraft’s pub­lished work in var­i­ous forms at the loca­tions below.

Giv­en these resources, you should have no trou­ble becom­ing a Love­craft expert by Hal­loween. Or, at the very least, pick­ing out a few of his scari­est sto­ries to lis­ten to and read aloud around a flick­er­ing jack o’ lantern or your col­lec­tion of Cthul­hu fig­urines.

Love­craft’s works per­ma­nent­ly reside in our twin col­lec­tions: 1,000 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free and 800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kin­dle & Oth­er Devices

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Love­craft: Fear of the Unknown (Free Doc­u­men­tary)

Read Hun­dreds of Free Sci-Fi Sto­ries from Asi­mov, Love­craft, Brad­bury, Dick, Clarke & More

Down­load The Com­plete Works of Edgar Allan Poe: Macabre Sto­ries as Free eBooks & Audio Books

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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Comments (22)
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  • Mormo says:

    This is won­der­ful! Big fan! Just saw there is a Love­craft pin­ball machine com­ing soon.

  • Dave says:

    Don’t know that I’d call Hor­ror at Red Hook a Love­craft clas­sic.. It’s one of his worst sto­ries, both in terms of the writ­ing and the extreme­ly racist con­tent, and I believe HPL said as much him­self.

  • fdx says:

    “Don’t know that I’d call Hor­ror at Red Hook a Love­craft clas­sic.. It’s one of his worst sto­ries, both in terms of the writ­ing and the extreme­ly racist con­tent, and I believe HPL said as much him­self.”

    OH OH OH, I must lis­ten to that one first.

  • Dennis says:

    Nice col­lec­tion :)

  • Kev says:

    It sure sounds like Jef­frey Combs is nar­rat­ing “From the Dark,” No. 2 track on the “Old Ones” playlist, which gives the whole thing a “Fight Club” aspect, because the sto­ry is told from the per­spec­tive of a char­ac­ter who is side­kick to Her­bert West.

    Also, all Love­craft sto­ries should be nar­rat­ed by Jef­frey Combs.

  • Rev. Al 'Ferguson' Sharpton says:

    Dave, if you were at all famil­iar with the author and his per­son­al his­to­ry, the alleged ‘racism’ would not be per­ceived as such. Howard was a prod­uct of his envi­ron­ment, and felt about for­eign­ers of dark colours the same way that most folk did in his region. There was no Inter­net, no mul­ti-cul­tur­al­ism aware­ness class­es in pre-school, and no one to wag a fin­ger at him when his only expe­ri­ence with the brothas was on the docks where moral com­pass­es were lack­ing, or in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions where bias would be under­stand­able.

  • Joe Torres says:

    Good stuff. Just lis­tened to Call of Cthul­hu whilst I tried to sleep. COULD NOT SLEEP! Very well read. Thank you for mak­ing this pos­si­ble.

  • Tea Tate says:

    Maybe I have some­how missed it, is there “The Dreams in the Witch House” in the col­lec­tion? Thanks.

  • Jackie says:

    it says it is all of HP’s sto­ries, but I just tried to find The Out­sider to no avail :/

  • William E. Hart says:

    I can’t help feel­ing the need to rec­om­mend The World’s Largest H. P. Love­craft Audio Links Gate­way! at:

  • Phlash says:

    I love this! I’ve been read­ing Love­craft since at least my junior high school years. I learned of him from the ads in the back pages of Creepy, Eerie, Vam­pirella, & Famous Mon­sters of Film­land for paper­back books of his sto­ries.
    Like at least one oth­er per­son who com­ment­ed on here, I was hav­ing trou­ble sleep­ing (almost always the case at night, but not so much dur­ing day­light hours), & found this won­der­ful site. I went to sleep with The Fes­ti­val play­ing. That’s one of my favorites and one of the ear­li­est H.P.L. sto­ries I ever read.
    God bless every­one respon­si­ble for this and the oth­er incar­na­tions of spread­ing the mag­nif­i­cent works of H.P.L. Mer­ry Christ­mas to you all!

  • tom osborne says:


  • William E. Hart says:

    Josh et al,

    The World of H. P. Love­craft Audio group is now open on Face­book at:

    I invite you to join and post about this page, and to also enjoy the links you’ll find there too.

    You can also pro­mote this page in the Love­craft Relat­ed Press Releas­es Face­book group too at:

    Will Hart
    aka CthulhuWho1

  • Noodles Romanoff says:

    Thanks soo much,this is incred­i­ble!!!!!

  • Chruncy G.ranola says:

    The 3 most impor­tant books in my life are…The Tibetan Book Of The Dead, Car­los Cas­tane­da” Don Juan Books, and HP Love­craft books. HP LOVECRAFT was try­ing to get his read­ers to be aware of high­er states of consciousness.After read­ing many peo­ple’s com­ments, I feel most peo­ple have missed the point HP was try­ing to get across.We have got­ten lost in our own per­son­al thoughts,and have missed out on so many beau­ti­ful things right in front of us. It’s so very sad and for almost all humans they don’t under­stand this until they are on their death bed. Have a good life and may you have a good death!

  • Charles Sands says:

    Why do you men­tion the racism in his sto­ries? He lived in the ear­ly Twen­ti­eth Cen­tu­ry that was still liv­ing much of the Nine­teenth Cen­tu­ry. You are mak­ing it sound as though he wrote it today. If I am writ­ing today of a black man, I would not use the N word, but if I were speak­ing to some­one from that peri­od (1890–1937), it would almost be expect­ed.

  • Chruncy Granola says:

    I was just watch­ing the stars at the beach, and was think­ing of Dan Col­man and team and how grate­ful I am That Dan Col­man turn me on to HP Love­craft. Soon as I thought that, a shoot­ing star went fly­ing by. I said to my self, now that’s pret­ty cool. So I looked up at the sky and said H.P., if that’s you, send anoth­er shoot­ing star, and sure enough, one goes fly­ing by!!!!! I looked up at the sky and said,ok H.P.,but I got to know if this is tru­ly cosmic,Send anoth­er shoot­ing star and I’ll believe it’s real­ly happening,sure enough right after I said that, The 3rd one went cruis­ing by!!!!!!! My thanks to Dan Col­man and Open cul­ture for bring­ing H.P. Love­craft into my life!!

  • landrew says:

    i agree 100% m9s

  • Martin A says:

    It should be point­ed out that the Cthul­hu Chick com­pi­la­tion is not actu­al­ly com­plete since it omits “Sweet Ermen­garde” (and HPL’s juve­nil­ia, but I could see why you’d omit those; “Sweet Ermen­garde”, how­ev­er, IS unques­tion­ably a sto­ry by Love­craft, and delib­er­ate­ly omit­ting it from a com­plete col­lec­tion makes the col­lec­tion incom­plete).

  • bill carson says:

    yeah… racism is racism. “every­one was doing it” is not a valid excuse. i am a fan of hp love­craft, but there is nev­er any excuse for racism and xeno­pho­bia. also love­craft’s lev­el of racism stood out even by 1920’s stan­dards. that’s like snoop telling you that you smoke too much weed.

  • Thomas Malley says:

    Kirkus Reviews thinks it has found the new Love­craft in Irish writer Stew­art Stafford and his hor­ror nov­el “The Vorb­ing”: “Stafford’s nov­el pro­ceeds in a state­ly cadence that fans of H P Love­craft and Lord Dun­sany will appre­ci­ate.”
    Link: getbook.at/TheVorbingAmazon

  • nat px says:

    well i guess we should start burn­ing books while we tear down stat­ues and burn flags…destroying his­to­ry is the fight of the weak.

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