Tuesday, October 2, 2012

H.P.Lovecraft Film Festival Report 2012

This past weekend was our second time at the San Pedro gathering of Lovecraft enthusiasts. Once again we stayed at the affordable and convenient Vagabond Inn, just a short walk from the Warner Grand Theater on Pacific. This theater, you will recall from my report last on the LCL blog, is a classic movie palace with amazing inlaid wood work in the ceiling. I highly recommend you take in an event or film there some time.

The gang included my son, filmmaker Austin Bosley of Bury Shelly fame; my nephew, actor Bobby Harkins Jr, who appears in my films; his dad, Bob, who is a major patron of No Budget Cinema events; and Shawn Kelley, director of Kill Your Television and other films. There was much great discussion and raunchy humor, some beer and sodas, plenty of carbs. But we were there for the Lovecraftian entertainment.

Shawn Kelley
Bob, Bobby Jr, and Austin
The first night was a decent intro, featuring the three Cthulhu episodes of South Park, a feature film version of The Thing On The Doorstep submitted to the festival for competition, and (my favorite part of Friday night's offerings) a live vintage radio show performance of The Statement of Randolph Carter, complete with sound effects a la Foley. The South Park stuff I had seen, of course, but it's always fun. The Doorstep film wasn't my favorite. Wasn't crazy about it, lost my interest quick. But we still had Saturday to look forward to and journeyed back to the hotel for hanging out, beer and soda and snacks and making fun of Bobby Harkins Jr (as usual).

We stayed up late that night, slept in Saturday morning, grabbed sandwiches for lunch then lounged around the room until it was time to head to the theater. First up was a Lovecraftian Real Ghostbusters episode, most of which I spent perusing the bazaar. But I must admit the 'Hatecraft' episode of Scooby Doo (which I've always detested) was pretty funny and fit the theme of the event. Some stuff turned me off for a variety of reasons: annoying overuse of filters or ACTORS not simply acting but ACTING, and my favorite bugaboo: gore or anything similar to people getting sick. Thus did I walk out on more films than I expected to. That's just me, though.

Macabre Fantasy Radio Theater
There were about 17 submitted shorts, five of them I really enjoyed. My favorites were Bedtime For Timmy, George Jones and the Giant Squid (which won the judges' award), Doctor Glamour (which was fun and offered some unexpected hilarity), The Captured Bird and The Shunned House which was quite effectively creepy and made me want to see more of it. These films, except for Captured Bird, had direct Lovecraft thematic elements, Bird simply being rather a cool teaser for a bigger film more than a pure Lovecraft short.
Image from the colorful Doctor Glamour
What I think is really cool is that the film which won the audience favorite award is The Music of Jo Hyeja by Korean filmmaker Jihyun Park -- who was on her first ever trip to the USA to attend this festival! That has to be very exciting for her that she won. Her film is a very spooky version of Lovecraft's The Music Of Erich Zann. All this was followed by a rare screening of The Evil Clergyman starring Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton, which was a nice treat.

Clearly amused at something
We all bought some cool tee shirts, chatted with the folks involved with the Portland home version of the festival, and enjoyed a couple of days and nights of nerd heaven for a second year in a row. After Saturday night's screenings, we had ice cream at the after-party and then made our journey back through hundreds of big nasty roaches that infest Gaffey Street after dark -- quite fitting of a Lovecraft weekend, actually.

I will be submitting Hell's Bells to the Portland Lovecraft festival very soon, so stay tuned. I'll announce here whether it is selected for screening. All in all, it was another fun year at an amazing event that filmmaker Aaron Vanek works his butt off to make happen. I highly recommend all Lovecraft fans attend next year. We already can't wait!


  1. You can listen to the full episode of Macabre Fantasy's "The Statement of Randolph Carter" through the following link for free - http://wp.me/p1ROyS-14 - Glad you enjoyed the show!