October 11, 2007
2007 HPLFF review
by sven at 9:00 am
So, the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival happened this past weekend. Had a really good time!
It was great getting to see my teaser in a real theater. But, I've also got notes to remember for next year: When it was shown on the main screen, the aspect ratio seemed off and the text seemed overly jaggy. When I saw it again on one of the smaller screens, those problems didn't seem so bad -- but I really do need to look into how gamma works, because it was definitely a bit too dark. There was no pause afterwards, so people didn't have an opportunity to clap. (Christian was very kind, though, and leapt in with applause the second time around.)
The shorts blocks are always my priority. My top picks:
- A Short Film About John Bolton - Neil Gaiman's directorial debut, retelling "Pickman's Model"
- Frolick - Peter Pan as a cosmic serial killer (really well-acted!)
Also worthy of note:
- Calls for Cthulhu - a call-in show with a plush Cthulhu
- Of Darkness - pre-teen boys read the Necronomicon, and all the lights in the house go out (decent film -- excellent ending)
- The Pit and the Pendulum - high quality stopmo using a silicone puppet -- part of the "Ray Harryhausen Presents" series
- The Statement - "The Statement of Randolph Carter" done with period clothes and pretty decent acting
- Experiment 18 - sequel to "Experiment 17", which fellow HPLFF lifer Christian Matzke showed last year... Nazis re-animating the dead
As for the feature films, John Carpenter's The Thing and In The Mouth Of Madness were satisfying romps. I didn't get to see either Cthulhu or 9 Lives of Mara -- but Wish Baby and Nobody were exceptionally good.
I'm particularly enthusiastic about Nobody. This and Primer are the two best time travel stories I've ever seen. It was gorgeously shot, had a brilliant script, and mesmerizing actors. I really want to see this film win some awards and get broad distribution! ...Even more amazingly, this is the director's very first film -- and it was shot using a regular DV camera. He simply knew how to work with the machine; e.g. avoiding the color red, shooting with high-contrast lighting -- and other tricks I don't really understand. Watch out for director Shawn Linden -- if all goes well, he's going places!
This was the second year there's been a Lovecraftian live comedy performance. "Chuck and Dexter," those lovable cultists, had me belly-laughing. You wouldn't think it -- but Lovecraftian stand-up is really one of the best parts of the weekend!
Thanks to MPH for coming out to the show. It was also good to see Michael B. and Philip F. there. Gretchin: you may have been in England, but even so, you were always with me.