Few modern writers get the kind of sheer fun following that H.P. Lovecraft boasts – there’s Bloomsday, after all, but James Joyce never did tentacles, nor had so many special brews named after him. This year, by sheer good fortune, I was in the U.S. at the right time for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival & CthulhuCon in Providence, a biennial fest that commemorates Lovecraft’s birthday, held in various venues but now in Providence for the first time, and alternating with the better-known NecronomiCon. And the events are still ongoing at the time of writing.

Although it concerns an author and has plenty of content dedicated to Lovecraft’s life and work, including readings from major living weird/dark fiction authors, the Film Festival is unabashedly just that, and has been in “the vanguard of Weird independent cinema” for over 20 years. This year’s program, supported in Providence by the efforts of the Lovecraft Arts and Sciences Council, included a score of unsettling short films and four full-length features, by my count, and the audience numbered at least 160 for the Saturday screenings alone. All this and the beauty of Lovecraft’s native Providence too.

I can testify that Lovecraft works quite some inspiration on filmmakers, especially for short film. There were quite a number of shorts that could easily provide the germ of a classic three-reel shocker, in the best tradition of Tobe Hooper or John Carpenter, and most of the directors are young and just getting started, so there may be plenty of hope for just that.

To finish off Lovecraft’s birthday in style, local brewmeisters the Narragansett Brewery Co. threw a Lovecraft Beer Release Party for the … ahem … launch of their latest Lovecraftian brew, the White Ship White IPA. About which the less said the better, probably. Except that it was massive fun, like the whole fest. And my white ship has sailed …