2010 was the fifteenth year that the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival was held in Portland. This was its last year, as the current festival director Andrew Migliore is stepping down. One of the highlights of this years gathering was director Stuart Gordon presenting his film Dagon.
The Hollywood Theater was built in 1926, during Lovecraft’s lifetime It’s an imposing, dramatic building that calls to mind 19th century Paris or Edinburgh.
Lovecraft products abounded in every variety including dolls, t-shirts, shot glasses, Cthulhu underwear, and the soundtrack to Shoggoth on the Roof. For the big spenders, there was a limited addition “Casino R’lyeh Poker Set” for 250 dollars and some compilations of art books that sold for 400 dollars. In addition to the basic games (Call of Cthulhu, Munchkin Cthulhu, Arkham Asylum, Cthulhu dice, etc) on Saturday there was a version of a Lovecraft-inspired Monopoly called The Doom That Came To Atlantic City available for play-testing.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Cultist had a few insanities And if you ever saw him he’ll be chanting with great glee.
This Horror-Western hybrid was well-told and tightly plotted movie. Clancy Brown (of Kurgan fame) stands out amongst a bevy of good acting. Like a lot of good horror movies, it is just as much about the interaction of the survivors and their intra-conflict as much as their inter-conflict with the antagonists.
This Ozzy horror flick does nothing particularly original but really does the horror movie tropes well. It is an almost perfectly constructed and executed movie, and the acting is surprisingly top notch. It also boasts the best ever cinematic use of the wallaby.
Stuart Gordon flew in and both introduced the film and took questions after. He praised the Portland Lovecraft Festival and said that “every time I come here, I learn something about Lovecraft.” Dagon is creepy and much more somber in tone than his earlier work. The Spanish setting is inspired, as wandering through small Mediterranean alleyways is eery and the movie drips with wetness.
Frank DanCoolo: Paranormal Drug Dealer:
This short was a highly stylized, loose adaptation of “Hounds of Tindalos,” done in the style of Neil Stephenson. Director Andrew Jones spoke to the audience after the films about this crowd favorite.
This French film was genuinely creepy and actually spine-tingling…maybe the closest to Lovecraft I’ve ever seen on the screen.
A festival favorite; it is as slick and polished as a mainstream Hollywood flick. It’s a top notch production, although the story is a little underwhelming. Director David Prior was available for questions after the film.
The Panels & Readings
- “Awards are the best marketing,” Victoria Blake
- “Break out. Use cyclopean as a verb,” Cody Goodfellow
- “Maybe someone like Raymond Carver could write an interesting story about a man coming home and having dinner with his wife, for everyone else it would be more interesting to write a story about a man who came home, stabbed his wife and ate dinner over her dead body,” Bill Nolan.
Most people were here because they were fans of Lovecraft, but not many people were dressed up. (There were some who were here with minimal knowledge of Lovecraft. Two people behind me wondered which Lovecraft story Hellboy was from).
A few notable exceptions:
I learned from some long-term attendees that Paper/Rock/Scissors is played as “Tentacle/Necronomicon/Shoggoth.” It’s a pity that this is the last year of it, but there will be in one in Los Angeles next year. While it’s not as weird a location as Portland, LA has a unique eldritch horror all its own.