What Other Literary Influences Can Be Found in “True Detective”?


Many popular elements and themes from the supernatural horror genre can be seen in True Detective, and one can trace these back to specific sources in the direct references made to such works as Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow (a collection of stories connected by a fictional, forbidden play that drives those who read it to insanity) and cult horror author Thomas Ligotti. Many critics have also compared certain elements of the show to H.P. Lovecraft’s stories, though it should be noted that Chambers was very influential on Lovecraft and Lovecraft himself was fairly influential on Ligotti’s work.

Pizzolatto also cites horror authors Karl Edward Wagner, Laird Barron, John Langan, Simon Strantzas and the recent anthology A Season in Carcosa as being influential on his work. Outside of modern horror books, Pizzolatto also mentions Confessions of an Antinatalist by Jim Crawford, Nihil Unbound by Ray Brassier, In The Dust of This Planet by Eugene Thacker and Better Never to Have Been by David Benatar as being very influential on the philosophical overtones of the series.