Sunday, May 13, 2012

Jason goes to the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival--Day 2

Well, now that I'm back from my trip, I suppose I should write up everything I saw.

Saturday started with the feature that won the award for best adaptation, DIE FARBE, a German adaptation of "The Colour Out of Space." Superbly well made all around, and an excellent use of black and white with spot color (for, of course, the titular Colour.) Jonathon Davis goes on a journey to find either his missing father or some answers about his life. Since it's a German production, instead of travelling just outside of Arkham, MA, he follows the trail to Germany where his father served in WWII. Other than that, the story is pretty faithful--he meets a local who spins him a tale about how a generation ago a meteorite crashed into the valley, and then strange things happened. First the fruits on the trees grew giant but tasteless, then people and animals started acting strange. A good, smart adaptation for people who like their horror films atmospheric, psychological, and strange instead of just bloody.

Next up I finished up the shorts programs with Shorts 3
THE SHADOW OUT OF TIME: Another great adaptation, this time from Sweden. A professor from Miskatonic discovers proof that his vivid dreams were in fact real, and he was used by the Yith to store knowledge.
A LOT OF EVIL: Beware of online scams on books for summoning monsters. Sometimes they actually work.
RE-ANIMATE HER: A mail-order bride...some assembly required.
GAMMA: Gamma is a company that regenerates cities destroyed by radiation. Of course, nothing could go wrong with that.
SPACE BUGS: They're bugs...from space...and they're deadly. Cool!
ASLEEP IN THE DEEP: Alyce gets caught in a strange world, courtesy of the Zahn's violin.
CODA: There's a bit of magic in that piano. Or maybe just in that melody.
SHINE: A puppet barbershop quartet and something that attacks them if they ever leave the spotlight. Very funny, and in 3-D...but it didn't really make much use of the 3-D effect.

Then there was a dinner break and a VIP reception at Magnolia's corner, just across the street from the theater. Had some snacks, had a few free glasses of wine, and chatted with some fellow fans and some of the festival staff. Good times.

Then the evening show started with THE LURKING FEAR (1994), one of the festival's handful of retrospective screenings. Leffert's Corner is practically a ghost town. Or, more appropriately, an underground-monster-demons town. Not much left there other than the drinkin'est, smokin'est priest ever (Lovecraft film icon Jeffrey Combs), a well armed soldier chick, and a pregnant lady. They're holed up in the church ready to put a final end to the monsters tonight. Unfortunately John Martense shows up. No big deal, he's just looking for his father's money that was buried in one of the coffins. But the bigger deal is that hot on his trail are a crime lord and his lackeys, and they're ready to kill just about anyone they need to in order to get that money. It's all very cheesy. Combs seems to be the only person who knows what he's doing in the movie, and he's a lot of fun. The rest of the people, I couldn't wait for them to die.

And then what might be my favorite film of the festival (at least favorite feature), WHISPERER IN DARKNESS. It's made by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, who earlier had produced the excellent silent version of THE CALL OF CTHULHU (2005.) Since "The Call of Cthulhu" was written in 1928, they adapted it in the style of the time--a silent film. So for WHISPERER IN DARKNESS, they adapted it in the style when it was made--1931. So early talkies, the same year as DRACULA. That's an excellent choice of style (which they've dubbed "Mythoscope.") Professor Albert Wilmarth of Miskatonic University is a folklorist and a skeptic, spending much of his career debunking various legends. But an urgent letter brings him to the woods of Vermont, where he learns something of the truth behind the local legends, with terrifying and sometimes humorous results.

And that was day 2 of the HPLFF

Total Running Time: 363 minutes
My Total Minutes: 284,364

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