Friday, March 27, 2009

Late Bloomer casts Lovecraft in sex ed class

The H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival's Best of Fest Seattle brought forth a variety of animated, silent, black and white, and even subtitled madness. Macabre humor, mostly, filled the night.

Eel Girl, the tale of a scientist lured by a woman's charms (but, wait, don't forget she's a mons...ah!), and Between the Stars, an everyman man lured by the mystery of the cosmos (it's so beautiful, fascinating, I must touch...oh!), both did a particularly good job of storytelling in a short timeframe. Casting also set these apart, and Eel Girl gets a nod for special effects (Those teeth! That ooze!).

Late Bloomer, written by Clay McLeod Chapman and directed by Craig Macneill,
was a stand out among the films, setting the Lovecraft mythos in a seventh grade sex education classroom — somehow a perfect fit. Excellent casting also distinguished this film with the very H.P. looking boy (Sam Borenzweig) mesmerized by charming and creepy classmates and menaced by a wide-eyed Mrs. Lovecraft (Lauren Bond) and a shady-eyed principal (Godfrey Pflager). The voiceover, also by McLeod Chapman, exquisitely captured the waver of madness. This film nailed elements of the mythos (rituals, cults, fear of the alien, fear of insanity), and managed some real surprise and horror — not the jump out of your seat kind, but the wrenching, "Oh, dear god, yes I can imagine that (but I'm so glad it's not me in that chair)!" kind. Hilarious and disturbing.

The film was the winner of the Lovecraft fest in 2005 and some other film folks liked it too. It's yours for a $1.50 here. See the trailer too.

Even midweek the Lovecraft films drew a fun crowd. There were a couple of Cthultu inspired headdresses, a few people reading Lovecraft while waiting for the doors to open, and discussions all around about the Hugo award nominees (Will Charles Stross' Saturn's Children win best novel?), Norwescon, LARP-ing, Sakura-Con, and Neil Gaiman (
read “Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar” in the anthology Smoke and Mirrors or "I, Cthulu" online).

All in all, good times draped in the red velvet at The Grand Illusion Cinema.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lovecraft films set to scare Seattle

The H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival, celebrating the literary gothic horror of H.P. Lovecraft through cinematic adaptation, brings its Best of Fest to Seattle March 20-26 at The Grand Illusion Cinema, 1403 NE 50th St., Seattle in the U District.

Best of Fest Seattle presents a collection of shorts from the past 13 years of the festival with showings at 7 and 9 p.m. daily and, also, 3 and 5 p.m., Sun., March 22.

An opening night gala will be Sat., March 21 (doors open at 6 p.m., films at 7 p.m.) with
film festival founder, director Andrew Migliore, and David Prior, the director of AM1200, on hand to answer questions.

The films, promising murder, madness, monsters, and dark supernatural evil, will be:

7 p.m. - Casting Call of Cthulhu, Late Bloomer, The Book Dealers, Eel Girl, Legend of the Seven Bloody Torturers, The Canal, Maxwell's Mind, Experiment 18, Between the Stars and Call of Cthulhu

9 p.m. - The Outsider, Cool Air and AM1200

The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and Cthulhu Con will be October 2-4 at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Ore.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Root for local authors at the Nebula Awards

The finalists for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America's 2008 Nebula Awards have been announced. Local authors in the running include Kelley Eskridge, in the novella category for her collection of short stories, Dangerous Space (2007, Seattle's Aqueduct Press), and Kij Johnson's short story, "26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss," (Asimov's, July 2008). Eskridge's collection includes the stories "Alien Jane," "Strings," and "The Eye of the Storm" with an introduction by WisCon 33 Guest of Honor, Geoff Ryman. The blog AskNicola points to a good review of Dangerous Space at The Word Horder. Read Johnson's story, which also made Locus Magazine's 2008 recommended reading list, on her site. The Nebulas will be awarded April 24-26 in Los Angeles. More local authors who are finalists for the award include...? Let us know. Which stories are you rooting for?

Also at the event: Harry Harrison, author of 62 novels including Make Room! Make Room! (1963), the one that inspired the movie Soylent Green (1973), will be honored as the next Damon Knight Grand Master; M.J. Engh, author of Arslan (1976) and Wheel of the Winds (1988) will be honored as Author Emerita; and Joss Whedon (Buffy, Firefly, Dollhouse as well as "Fray" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" season eight for Dark Horse Comics) will receive the Ray Bradbury Award.

Woot! Woot! for Penny Arcade along with the Washington State Senate

Slashdot points to a March 5 Senate Resolution (8640) in the Washington State Legislature recognizing the accomplishments of Penny Arcade creators Jerry Holkins, comic writer, and Mike Krahulik, cartoonist and artist. In honoring the creators of the online comic about video games, the Senate Resolution noted: Penny Arcade's 10 year anniversary (it started fall 1998); the 2004 establishment of the annual Penny Arcade Expo gaming festival in Bellevue, Wash. (coming up Sept. 4-6, 2009); and the founding of Child's Play Charity in 2003, to collect donations of toys, games, books, and cash for children's hospitals. With the generosity of 100,000 gamers, the charity has raised more than 4.5 million dollars for 60 different hospitals including Seattle Children's Hospital and Sacred Heart Children's Hospitals in Spokane.

Only you can prevent Muppet-napping

The next exhibit at EMP|SFM will be Jim Henson's Fantastic World May 23-August 16, featuring the imagination of artist puppeteer, film director and producer, Jim Henson (1936-1990), creator of Kermit and Big Bird.

The science fiction museum could use a bit of help with the Muppets. Why not add
Muppet Volunteer to the resume? It could do wonders. Volunteers will work in a Jim Henson inspired puppet theater/TV studio where children and adults have the opportunity to perform with four commissioned Muppets inspired by famous Northwest musicians. Help make sure everybody has a good time and the Muppets don't get manhandled or Muppet-napped (!). Training for Muppet volunteers starts mid-May.

In the meantime, the Robots exhibit shows through
May 3. See designer Tom Geismar's collection of toy robots along with EMP|SFM's life-sized robots, androids and cyborgs from the world of science-fiction film and television.

Or, if you are now stuck on Muppets, head over to
The Muppet Newsflash, a Jim Henson News Blog, where you'll find news about Tokyopop's "Return to Labyrinth: Volume 3," a graphic novel written by Jake Forbes with art by Chris Lie
set to release May 1, and Power of the Dark Crystal, the movie sequel moving out of pre-production and slated for release in 2011.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Science or fiction: What's a fan to do?

Since when did Monday nights become so popular?

On March 16, you can either go find out about extraterrestrials, when astronomer Alan Boss presents
The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall Seattle, or go get your Godzilla, Frankenstein, Mummy fix, early. At 7 p.m., James Morrow, author of Shambling Towards Hiroshima (2009, Tachyon), hosts “From Hollywood to Hiroshima." He provides commentary on Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) and The Mummy’s Curse (1944) starring Lon Chaney Jr. at NW Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., Seattle. NW Media Arts, Tachyon Publications, and the University Book Store co-sponsor.

What's a fan to do? Are you headed for science or fiction or staying in?