After many months of excited anticipation, I've just gotten back from my first ever H.P.Lovecraft Film Festival
in Portland, OR! It truly was everything I'd hoped it would be, and founder Andrew Migliore and his staff were by far some of the most gracious hosts I've ever met. To see how beloved this festival is by the sold-out crowds that attended (many of whom travel from all over the country, year after year) and the celebrity guests he manages to attract, well...Andrew and his crew seem to be doing just about everything
An added bonus to this festival was actually getting to meet some folks that I've become huge fans of over the last few months, including artist/animator/filmmaker Sven Bonnichsen
! I've been a fan of Sven's ever since I saw the teaser trailer for his film-in-progress, LET SLEEPING GODS LIE
, which still makes my hair stand up after untold number of viewings. He and creative partner, Gretchin Lair, run Scarlet Star Studios,
a place for all-things creative in Portland. In addition to his filmmaking skills, Sven has become my new hero for building metal ball-and-socket armatures for animation. I look forward to the day that I can follow in his footsteps and move away from the simple wire armatures I currently use.
I also got to meet Craig Mullins
which is THE place on the internet to learn about all things connected to Lovecraftian cinema. Craig gave me invaluable feedback when I first finished FROM BEYOND
and needed a hardcore Lovecraft fan to tell me that I was either on the mark, or off (he assured me that I was on). For such an afficionado of horror films, I have to say that Craig seems like one of the most down-to-earth, genuine guys and if you saw him on the street you'd never suspect what horrors lurk on his dvd shelf!
Speaking of lurking horrors, if you plan on attending the Lovecraft Film Festival I recommend renting your hotel room waaay in advance. Otherwise you might wind up at the notorious PALMS MOTOR HOTEL
. This was the tenth place I called for a room a MONTH before the festival and it was the first one to have a room available. I called them based on the suspiciously high rating of 9.1 listed on some Portland Hotel-Finder Guide. Having seen it firsthand, I'm pretty sure those numbers were reversed..or maybe I stumbled upon a Hotel-Finder for crystal meth addicts and prostitutes. Boyfriend Gary had the worst time of it, since the wireless internet access we were told was available (which he needs for his job) did NOT work unless he was sitting out by the office manager's door, shivering in the cold. I will say this for the Palms, tho--they got one bitch-ass cool sign:
Later that night it was on to the screening of Shorts Block 3, in which I got to see DREDD MANOR
and FROM BEYOND
on the big screen at last! It was so exciting to see DREDD MANOR
in a packed house...it got LOADS of laughs! There's a lot of humor in DM
, but I think horror film fans know it's cool to laugh and non-horror fans are just, well, horrified. The crowd on Saturday got all
the jokes, and it was so much fun to hear all that laughter.
A few films later, FROM BEYOND
hit the screen, and I got really nervous. FB
is one of Lovecraft's best-loved stories, and here it was playing for the first time in a room full of die-hard fans...INCLUDING my favorite actress/scream-queen of all time, the impossibly gorgeous BARBARA CRAMPTON
, who starred in horror maestro Stuart Gordon's Lovecraft-based films RE-ANIMATOR
, CASTLE FREAK
, and, of course, FROM BEYOND
After the Shorts Block we reconvened for an awards ceremony, hosted by Festival Director Andrew Migliore, along with special-guest presenter, Barbara Crampton!
The awards, sculpted by Bryan Moore of Arkham Studios, are really something. The "Howie" awards, representing Lovecraft himself, are given to those whose work has furthered the understanding and appreciation for Lovecraft in some way, either thru writing, film, or similar scholarship. The "Brownie" awards, representing the character of Brown Jenkin, the evil human-faced rat character from Lovecraft's story, "Dreams in the Witch House" are awarded to filmmakers:
WAAHOO!! FROM BEYOND
takes home a Brownie!! I didn't actually make out with Barbara Crampton as this picture might suggest, but I couldn't get that near one of my favorite stars without getting a hug. "I LOVED your film!" Barbara gushed to me. "I love YOUR films!" I gushed back, having such an extreme case of fan-overload I almost forgot to say something at the podium. Andrew made the observation: "Isn't it ironic that the star of Stuart Gordon's FROM BEYOND
is giving an award to another version of FROM BEYOND
?" Ironic, yes, and sooo sweet!
To all the folks at the H.P.Lovecraft Film Festival, I have to say congratulations on doing such an amazing job of making everyone feel welcome and creating an atmosphere where we can treasure our excitement about genre films. Thanks to Andrew Migliore for being such a great host...I look forward to attending future festivals when I can spend more time enjoying the full experience. But the guy who made this weekend the best ever was, as always, my beautiful man, Gary.
It was no easy thing for him to jet out of town with so much work on his plate, but he did it, and if he hadn't been there I'd have totally fallen apart since I came down with a FREAKIN' PERITONSILLAR ABSCESS and by Sunday couldn't even speak! I thought I was getting strep throat, but this was way worse, tho I've been to the doctor and am on the road to recovery. Gary took care of everything, and gave us both another adventure we can look back on fondly and laugh about. I LOVE YOU, GARY!!!!!