“That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons, even death may die.”
This famous couplet appeared in the Necronomicon, the unholy grail of occult books written by the Mad Arab, Abd Al-Azrad around 730 A.D. in Damascus, approximately eight years before he died—devoured in broad daylight by an invisible demon.
Truthfully, that passage and the history of the Necronomicon were created by the fecund imagination of one of the greatest horror authors of all time, Howard Phillips (H.P.) Lovecraft. Published in cheap pulp magazines such as Weird Tales and Astounding Stories in the classic cocktail era of the 1920’s and 30’s, Lovecraft’s tales of cosmic horror achieved minor success during his life, but in the last decade or so, have resurged with an immense following of devotees eager to explore the mythology behind alien gods with names like Cthulhu, Azathoth, and Yog-Sothoth.
In 1996, Portland Oregon resident and lifelong Lovecraft fan Andrew Migliore decided to start a film festival dedicated to the cinematic adaptations of his favorite author. The first year, located in a dingy two-screen theater, he screened Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator starring Jeffrey Combs; a short adaptation of The Music of Erich Zann directed by screenwriter John Strysik, and a film school adaptation of The Outsider by yours truly.
Since ’96, I have attended all but two of the annual HP Lovecraft Film Festivals (absent in ’97 and ’07), always occurring on the first weekend of October and now held in the urbane Hollywood Theater.
The festival has grown immensely in 14 years and now fills three days and nights with creepy, comedic, frightening and intelligent features and shorts from around the world. My biggest regret is that since about 2003, it is impossible to see and do everything.
One of joys of the HP Lovecraft Film Festival is the after party each night. Since 2007, nearby 40’s-style supperclub and lounge Tony Starlight’s has opened their doors to “the weirdoes” and presented acts on stage such as the Lovecraft-inspired punk rock band The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets. A few years ago, singer Patti Smith read her favorite Lovecraft poems (she is also a longtime fan) and did an acoustic set in the Hollywood Theater.
This year Tony Starlight’s introduced a special “Lovecraft Themed Menu” with a bevy of cocktails titled after Lovecraft stories, authors, and elements. Thus I bequeath this not-really forbidden knowledge to you to make for a very special Samhain or All Hallows’ Eve. Text is verbatim from the menu I pinched.
Twelve Lovecraftian Cocktails
by Tony Starlight’s and Andrew Migliore
for the 14th Annual H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, Oregon
Starry Wisdom Blood Orange Cosmo
A favorite of crazy cultists everywhere; Indio Blood Orange Vodka raises this cosmopolitan above the standard.
Mother Hydra’s Lemonade
As refreshing as a mythos tome! Indio Marionberry Vodka, citrus and 7-Up
The Huckleberry Lemonade of Randolph Carter
Dreaminess in a glass. 44 Degrees North Huckleberry Vodka, citrus and 7-Up
Pamakazi of Ibn-Ghazi
May allow one to see the invisible for the space of ten heartbeats. Van Gogh Pomegranate Vodka and liquor with a splash of citrus
A delightful frolic! Van Gogh Pomegranate Vodka & PAMA Liqueur set the stage for the Grand Marnier’s entrance
A true nectar of the Elder Gods. Yazi Ginger Vodka with lime and raspberry flavors and ginger ale
From Kadath With Madness
How better to keep warm on those cold Antarctic nights? Stoli Vodka, black currant liqueur and orange juice
The Twisted Tentacle
Three parts Gordons Vodka, one part gin, vermouth, olive juice and a lemon tentacle twist
Psychosis never seemed so good. Lemonade with tea infused vodka “So good, so good, so good!”
Slowly the ice water drips upon the sugar cube falling bit by bit into the absinthe below until the anticipation drives you insane.
De Vermis Mysteriis
All of the mystery, none of the worm!
Absinthe, sugar, lemon juice with a twist
This is not your father’s outer god! Absinthe and orange with a hint of lime
I delved into more than half of these over three nights, possibly causing severe sanity desecration. Maybe they will defile your mind, too.
The slideshow contains photos from the 2006, 2008, and 2009 festivals, and the short film below is my own.
Correction: Former text described the first Lovecraft Film Festival theater as a former porn theater, which is untrue. The history of the 5th Ave. Cinema is located here.
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