Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Night of Horror International Film Festival Diary, Entry # 2

I went to see two events on March 29th, Sunday. The first one was “Shorts Programme # 2: H. P. Lovecraft & Other Adapted Shorts” and the second one was the horror themed party held at Club 77 in King’s Cross.

As a fan of Lovecraft and all sorts of tentacled horror, I was looking forward to seeing Sunday’s shorts programme. This session provided a fun couple of hours for lovers of strange eons and eldritch horror.

The films that were shown during the session were:

H.P Lovecraft - 5 Min Russell Fox (Music Video - USA)
Come to Us - 3 Min Edward Martin Iii (USA)
A Mere Et Marees - 19 Min Alain Fournier (Canada)
Allure - 11 Min Ian Hunter (USA)
Casting Call of Cthulhu - 9 Min Joseph Nanni (Canada)
The Book Dealers - 8 Min Andrew Jones (USA)
H.P. Lovecraft's The Book - 11 Min James Raynor (UK)
Langliena - 7 Min Emiliano Ranzani (Italy)
Morella - 10 Min Jeff Ferrell (USA)
AM 1200 - 40 Min David Prior (USA)

The first film of the programme was Ian Hunter’s Allure, which the director – present during the screening - confessed to not having been intended as a Lovecraftian film, but since all the ingredients were there – an alluring terror from the deep – the organizers decided to put his film in this session. The film is about a sailor who, instead of going into a club with his mates and three young women, decides to wait for a more mature woman who would make him happy. Of course, expectedly, he meets something that makes him regret not going to the club. During the Q&A, he informed us on the production process of the film, which cost about ten thousand dollars, at which point I was thinking about how pointless it was. His back story for the film – exorcising demons of a past relationship – made me like it a bit more.

The best pieces of the session, for me, were Alain Fournier’s A Mere Et Marees, Russel Fox’s music video for the industrial band Cockfight Club’s H.P. Lovecraft, and David Prior’s almost feature length film AM 1200.

A Mere Et Marees, which can be described as a Lovecraftian family drama, with a touch of French arthouse film sensitivity, starts with a shot of a French Canadian man walking out of the bottom of the sea, and it focuses on his transformation into a creature of the deep, and how his mother and sister deals with it. It evoked the same sentiments as another film shown in the same session titled Come To Us, in that, it associated the depths of sea as a homely and peaceful place. You can take a look at the trailer here:

Russel Fox’s H. P. Lovecraft portrays the author in a humorous way, as he works in his study surrounded by weird creatures preserved in jars, certain ancient books of magic, some back issues of Weird Tales, and a band declaring him as “a friend of mine” against the backdrop of a goth industrial music. The video finishes with a scene showing the author playing chess with everyone’s favourite tentacled Great Old One. Click here for the video if you are interested:

Probably the best film of the session, AM 1200, is about an investment analyst who is running away from his guilt due to a failed financial scam. He is drawn into a radio station when he hears what seems to be a distress call on his car radio, and comes face to face with an unnamable horror of insatiable hunger. The film encapsulates, with great success, the insanity, and helplessness against the face of ancient cosmic horror that is at the heart of the best Lovecraft stories. You can have a look at the trailer and some scenes from the film here, as well as order the dvd.

There was also a short film based on Edgar Allan Poe’s Morella in the programme., which was rather a theatrical adaptation and reminded me of Roger Corman’s Poe films with Vincent Price. The inclusion of this film to the set is a nice touch as Lovecraft considered Poe as his master.

And a Macabresque Bonus before we go:

Here’s Casting Call of Cthulhu, one of the funniest films shown at the Lovecraft session.

We’ll be back with an account of the Horror themed party. Stay tuned.

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