The Last Wave
This was one of the features and even though S.T. Joshi pointed out how Lovecraftian it was, I found it to be only tenuously linked to HPL’s style/philosophy/Cthulhu Mythos. It was quite good. This white fellow becomes the lawyer for some urban tribal aboriginies who execute one of their members for touching forbidden objects. The lawyer has prophetic dreams about these objects, etc and it tears him and his family apart. There were some cool bits. 7/10
I have a copy of this film on VHS so I didn’t bother watching it at the fest. It’s a very good adaptation of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, one of my favourite HPL tales. Plus it was filmed locally, and has Chris Sarandon (Prince Humperdink from Princess Bride) as Ward. High 7/10 – it would be higher if some of the actors were better.
Quatermass 2 (1957 black and white)
We missed the beginning of this but I loved it. Meteors from space infect the townsfolk and they harbor space blobs in a mysterious factory. Very campy but the acting was great and the style was typically cool. I love the esthetics and social dynamics of the 20’s through the 50’s, and I need to see more classic films in general. 6/10
Enter the Dagon
A pretty silly mockumentary short about some guys who are trying to make a Lovecraftian martial arts film. Some of the jokes were expected, some of them just bad, but others were pretty funny. The idea for the film is great, but it’s really just a one-joke concept and it can’t hold up for more than a few minutes. I had heard that it was edited down and I think that was the right decision. It worked and was enjoyed by all. 6/10
Why Vote for the Lesser Evil
A very silly short about two guys who are trying unsuccessfully to fill out their Cthulhu cult and get Cthulhu voted for president until they realize that George Bush is more evil than Cthulhu. I was amused but not as much as everyone else in the theater as I have heard all these jokes before. 5/10
I found out after I saw this that it was adapted from a Gogol story. I’ve read a few Gogol stories and have really enjoyed them, I think I may still have a book kicking around. Anyway, this would have been good had they cast someone different from the lead actor, Derek Thompson. Thompson played Clifford the down-on-his luck young man who is recruited to watch over the body of a dead spiritualist for three days. This guy had -5 charisma and his acting was painful to watch. Seriously, it drove me nuts–I can’t get past it. I could not enjoy this otherwise good short film that had legitimately tense, creepy moments. One cool part was when Clifford was hiding under an afghan blanket and you saw his P.O.V. of the room through the tiny holes in the stitching. I have to give this a 4 (out of 10). If they had cast a better actor, it would easily have been twice that.
If you saw it you can rate the movie here http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0386852/combined
The Case of H.P. Lovecraft (documentary)
I have seen this French, artsy documentary on H.P. Lovecraft’s life before and it’s amazing, if long. 8/10
Another silly little short (I have nothing against silly, mind you) about a guy who is given a book and finds a glowing circle in his basement so naturally he goes into the circle and starts reading aloud from a book. Surprise surprise, tentacles appear and eat him! Simple, on-topic, and well done. 6/10
Rate it yourself here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0426591/combined
The Tell-Tale Heart
I love Andrew to death, but this is where he and I differ on judging what goes into a HPL film fest. Poe is fantastic, I’m sure you’ll agree. But why is The Tell-Tale Heart in a Lovecraft festival? Argh! Okay okay – Lovecraft was Poe’s number one fan. Fine. Anyway – I had never actually read the story, so it was good that this film was basically the narrator reading the story throughout the short. It was quite good – but there were some things that bothered me greatly. The narrator said things like “It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening” of the door, and “I undid the lantern cautiously — oh, so cautiously — cautiously (for the hinges creaked), I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye” but all the while you were watching the fellow on film put thrust his head into the doorway in 2-3 seconds, and the room was lit at all times so you could see not just the eye, but the entire body of the sleeping man and the narrator. How would I get around these things if I were making the film? I don’t know. Suffice it to say, these discrepancies bugged me. Also the policemen weren’t acting like the narrator was telling me they were acting – that definitely could have been fixed with better direction. Otherwise the film was really quite outstanding. The narrator did a really good job. 8/10
This was an old adaptation of the HPL story of the same name. It was a really old, low-quality print of the film but it was not without its charm. If you’ve read the story, you know that it’s about an artist who paints ghoulish things – from life!! This short followed an art critic who was writing a book on art for some kind of art gallery/society but they cut his funding when he insisted that Pickman’s work be included in the book. Pickman’s paintings cause him to have bouts of prophetic fancy. The acting was fine, the story was not bad. Generally I thought it was pretty good compared to a lot of Lovecraftian film. I wish the paintings had been more exactingly executed, and I wish we got to see, if not a ghoul itself, at least the photos that Pickman was working from. 5/10
I wished I had been able to see the other block of shorts with Edward’s “Innsmouth Legacy” and “Strange Aeons” but it didn’t happen. I wasn’t going to mention any trailers or bumpers but I will say that I sure am looking forward to seeing “The Call of Cthulhu” next year!