A silly story about silly people. Perhaps only someone as sexless as Lovecraft could describe the self-proclaimed decadence of these two aesthetes so hilariously, although Wilde could possibly have taken a run at it, if he'd been in the mood for a little self-parody. (Joshi claims "The Hound" is self-parody, and it certainly has something of that Kim Newman mashup feel, between the shout-outs to Beckford, Doyle, Poe, Bierce, and Huysmans.) If one ever filmed it, it would almost have to be with two hyper-serious adolescents, to keep the feel correct. Down to the brand names and set design -- the endless Lovecraftian "Gother than thou" catalogue never seems more endless than in these introductory paragraphs, which borrow cred from the Symbolists, the pre-Raphaelites, the Decadents, Baudelaire, Huysmans, and Goya, while one can only double up in helpless laughter at the notion of "nauseous musical instruments" for the production of "dissonances of exquisite morbidity and cacodaemoniacal ghastliness."
Plus, the only attempt ever put to paper to wring italicized horror from the words "in the Dutch language."
But I like "The Hound" far above its merits. Not only does it introduce the Necronomicon, and give that lovely shout-out to the "corpse-eating cult of inaccessible Leng, in Central Asia," when I read it as a 13-year-old, it actually worked for me. The titular hound is also just a really cool-ass monster, the astral projection (literally, "the ghastly soul-symbol") of the Dutch ghoul-lich who somehow learned the secrets of Leng way back in the 15th century. Indeed, the lich may have stolen the hound-amulet, and yet somehow escaped its judgement.
Judgement, need I remind you, that arrives "astride a Bacchanale of bats from night-black ruins of buried temples of Belial." Astride ... a Bacchanale ... of bats ... chittering in the Dutch language!