GenCon, Or, Slouching Toward Indianapolis

I may actually have run out of decent titles for these posts! We'll see next year, I guess. Anyhow, as I suspect you've already guessed, I'll be at GenCon again next weekend (Jul 31-Aug 4)! Actually, I'll be there next week, straight up, plus the next Monday for flinchin', but thank goodness you don't have to stalk my doings for more than four of those days. And what doings are those, you might ask? These doings here! And yes, I believe they will almost ALL be recorded by someone, probably Robin. Or Shane. Or the ENnies People.

If none of these doings pique your palate, know that I shall be decorating the Pelgrane Press stand, #1417 in the exhibit hall, during show hours, and decorating Indianapolis' finest drinking establishments during best-of-show hours.


9:00pm - ???: Diana Jones Awards Party
In which gaming luminaries seem, by some witchery, very much like ordinary drunks! [Undisclosed location]


4:00pm-5:00pm: Gaming With the King in Yellow

Robin D. Laws, Sarah Saltiel, & John Harness bring the reality-bending horror of Robert W Chambers to your table. Our mavens of terror are here to tear off their pallid masks and reveal the shattering secrets of the Hyades! (I'm not technically on the panel, but I might show up as a ringer while I still know more about Robert W. Chambers than anyone else.) [Stadium : Meeting Room 8]


1:00pm-2:00pm: Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff LIVE

Robin D. Laws & Kenneth Hite talk roleplaying, history, conspiracy, occultism, writing, food, movies & whatever you ask them about in this live edition of their award-winning podcast. (This event is technically sold out, but hey maybe there are scalpers or standing room only or people who oversleep.) [Stadium : Meeting Room 8]

5:00pm-6:00pm: Investigative Roleplaying Master Class
Mystery scenario masters Kenneth Hite and Robin D. Laws train their magnifying glasses on clue-gathering adventures to reveal the unlikely suspects behind your tabletop woes. [Westin : Grand Ballroom IV]

6:00pm-8:00pm: ENie Awards Cocktail Reception
In which gaming luminaries seem, by some witchery, very much like ordinary drunks! (I'll likely get there later than 6, but go ahead and start without me. I'll catch up.) [Union Station : Grand Hall]

8:00pm-11:00?pm: ENnie Awards!
"You know, Monte really deserved it this year. What a product. What a guy." [Union Station : Grand Hall]


2:00pm-3:00pm: Swords, Spies, & Shoggoths: The Pelgrane Press Panel

Join Simon Rogers, Cat Tobin & others from the Pelgrane team for a behind-the-scenes look at what the award-winning UK publisher’s been up to this year, & what they’ve planned for the coming year. [Crowne Plaza : Pennsylvania Station A]

8:00pm-9:00pm: Delta Green: Operations & A-Cell
The authors of Delta Green: The RPG talk upcoming projects, design decisions, gameplay tips, tradecraft, & war stories. Bring your DG questions. [Crowne Plaza : Pennsylvania Station A]

In Memoriam

Robert Munroe (Ensign, Lexington militia, KIA 19 April 1775, Lexington Green)
Christopher A. Slutman (SSGT, 25th Regt, 4th Div, USMC Reserve, KIA 8 Apr 2019, Bagram, Afghanistan)

And all 559,234 in between.

ChupacabraCon Carne

Once more I return to Austin just as the weather turns not-quite-ridiculous in Texas for the summery joy that is ChupacabraCon, and once more I must chatter for my chimichangas. Behold my panel schedule and be amazed! Good seats still available, guacamole is extra, no I don't know if anyone will ever ever stream any of this assembled wisdom or if it shall be lost like tears in the queso. Come on down and find out!


7:00-7:50 p.m.: Terror at the Table: techniques for evoking horror
Ed Wetterman, Jared Twing, Kenneth Hite, Mark Carroll, Shane Ivey

Join the creators of Delta Green, The Unspeakable Oath, and decades of award-winning Call of Cthulhu scenarios and sourcebooks to talk techniques for evoking horror in an RPG and ways to maintain the mood. [Guadalupe]


9:00-9:50 a.m.: Saturday Morning Cthulhu and Donuts
Darren Watts, Jared Twing, Kenneth Hite, Mark Carroll, Shane Ivey

Have a donut with Ken Hite and other Saturday morning cartoon personalities, and discuss Cthulhu and the creamy richness of donuts and coffee. A recurring nightmare, er... event. [Guadalupe]

3:00-3:50 p.m.: Alternate History in Gaming
Darren Watts, Ed Wetterman, Jess Nevins, Kenneth Hite, Russell Zimmerman

Game writers Kenneth Hite, Jess Nevins and Darren Watts get together for what will most certainly be a free-wheeling and wide-ranging discussion of the hows and whys of building alternative histories into your game setting. [Guadalupe]

I may also crash the Project ARC DREAM seminar with the Arc Dream gang on it at 8 p.m. on Saturday just because I love them so very much.

The Real Top Ten List is Classified

Apropos of nothing, here is former CIA Director William Colby's 1981 list of the Ten Greatest Spies of All Time (meaning "Ten Greatest Intelligence Professionals and Also Some Spies of the Twentieth Century"):

William Donovan (founder of the OSS)
Reginald V. Jones (British Air Ministry Intelligence, father of scientific-technical intelligence)
William F Friedman (US SIS and NSA, broke the PURPLE code)*
Richard Sorge (GRU spymaster in Tokyo)
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (NKVD spies)**
Kim Philby (NKVD/KGB mole in MI-5)
Oleg Penkovsky (MI-5 source in GRU)
Kelly Johnson (Lockheed aeronautical engineer, designed the U-2 and SR-71 spy planes)
Arthur Lundahl (CIA IMINT expert, found missiles in Cuba)
Edward G. Lansdale (CIA psywar specialist)

Of the four actual spies on that list, all were detected and three were executed, which argues that Colby's idea of great spying does not include, you know, staying hidden, which explains so much about the CIA now that I write it out like that.

* It seems to be an open question how much Friedman worked with his wife Elizabeth, but it's fairly certain that her role has been under-represented in most histories
** See above footnote, except that Ethel's role has likely been over-represented, not least by the FBI

If Twere Dundracon Twere Well Twere Dundracon Quickly

You can tell I've been going to DunDraCon a lot from the increasingly strained headlines on these posts. And why not? This legendary festival of tabletop RPGs and adequate sunlight in the President's Daily embrace of San Ramon, California provides me ample platform for my manias, expressed as always in the form of three panels, to wit:

Saturday, February 16

01:30-3:00 PM: City Building
Michael Blum, Kenneth Hite, Doc Cross
The long-running seminar about the nuts and bolts of creating and using cities in RPGs. This year we'll discuss how uninhabited cities change and decay.

6:00-7:30 PM: Alternate Histories
Kenneth Hite, Dana Lombardy
The very popular War College panel discussion continues! Authors and game designers Dana Lombardy and Ken Hite examine possible alternate histories and what their impact might have been. Audience participation is encouraged. FREE HAND OUT: an updated guide to sources for alternate histories will be provided to attendees.

Sunday, February 17

10:00-11:00 AM: What's Cool
Bruce Harlick, Kenneth Hite
Two icons of the gaming industry present their unique viewpoints on the best in current game products, straight from the dealer room.

This year, even the War College panels are in the Tri-Valley 2 Room, so BE THERRRRRRE

I Never Metatopia I Didn't Like

Next weekend I once more manifest at the finest game-design convention, RPG protospiel, and empanada tourism base-camp in the world, Metatopia in lovely Morristown, New Jersey. If you have any interest in game design, and especially if you have an RPG in process that you'd like knowledgeable people to bang on diagnostically, I urge you to manifest likewise. In between playtests and focus groups and empanada runs, I also have been known to seminarulate, thusly.

Contrary to my usual assertion at this point in a convention schedule post, at Metatopia seminars are usually recorded and eventually wind up on the Web; follow me assiduously across all social media and I shall share those links with you when I know them.


11:00AM - 12 NOON: "Honing Your Game Pitch" presented by Jim McClure, Kenneth Hite, Cat Tobin. This panel is designed to help you establish the best way to present your game to consumers. From Elevator pitches, to focus points, to mechanical highlights, we will cover what is most important in getting people to buy into your game. Attendees should be prepared to discuss their game project as part of a group, and have an elevator pitch pre-prepared. The panelists will then help each individual attendee to hone their presentation.

2:00PM - 3:00PM: "Horror Mechanics (For More Than Just Horror)" presented by Anne Ratchat, Kenneth Hite, Elsa Henry, Julia Ellingboe, Jabari Weathers. In the genre of horror, game designers and writers have developed an arsenal of tools specifically to disempower the characters in their worlds. These mechanics are assumed one-trick ponies but can also serve as useful mechanics for empowering play as well when understood. The goal of this panel is to break down why specific horror mechanics work and how to use them effectively, regardless of genre.


6:00PM - 7:00PM: "The Transitive Property of Myth" presented by Kenneth Hite. In this year's installment of "Ken Thinks About Stuff Out Loud", I look at the structural patterns of mythology. Are there actually structures of myth, and if there aren't, can we pretend there are? How can we take real-world myths and make them game material? How can we translate one myth system (that of the "standard fantasy world" for example) into another (e.g., Greek mythology)? And how can we translate any of it into dice, numbers, and heroic player character stories?

CIFF Me As Though It Was The Last Time

Well, another CIFF has come and gone, this one three days shorter than the last batch of them. Whether that, along with what felt like a much weaker year this time around, portends trouble behind the screen we shall all learn together. For right now, what we've learned is that Hungary can indeed bring it, that Brazil is on notice, and that it's a good thing the Festival spotlighted Italian films this year. his_regard and I saw 21 movies -- slightly less than usual -- but with the exception of the highly recommended Japanese film Shoplifters (sold out), the Hungarian animated heist flick Ruben Brandt, Collector (only available opposite our Welles fest) and the lone South Korean film I don't think we missed too much. And so, to the rankings ...

The Pinnacle

The Other Side of the Wind (US, Orson Welles, 1976 & 2018) Imperious director J.J. Hannaford (John Huston) returns from European exile to make one last masterpiece but the system (and his own legend) gets in his way. Scripted and shot as a combination of found footage and film-within-a-film, this prodigiously innovative, elliptical movie has finally achieved final cut (Bob Murawski completing the remaining 70% of the editing from Welles’ notes) thanks to Netflix money and hard-working producers Frank Marshall and Filip Jan Rymsza.


Dogman (Italy, Matteo Garrone, 2018) Dog groomer Marcello (Marcello Fonte) plays sidekick and lackey to brutish thug Simone (Edoardo Pesce) until … Garrone’s strong, pure study of a man under pressure depends almost entirely on Fonte‘s acting for its compelling drive. The story is far less complex than Garrone’s amazing Gomorrah, but this is almost its equal as a film.

Border (Sweden, Ali Abbasi, 2018) Tina (Eva Melander) looks Neanderthal, but she can sniff out shame and fear (among other things) making her a valued customs officer — until she meets Vore (Eero Milonoff) who looks like she does. From a story by Jon Ajvide Lindqvist (Let the Right One In) who also co-wrote the script, the film plays effortlessly with many different genres from policier to horror to magical realism.

The Trouble With You (France, Pierre Salvadori, 2018) Upon discovering that her dead super-cop husband corruptly framed Antoine (Pio Marmai) for a jewel heist, Marseille police woman Yvonne (a wonderful Adele Haenel) tries to protect him from the consequences when he gets out of prison. Screwball comedy mashes up romance, crime, and philosophy as unconsidered moral choices lead to ever more ridiculous consequences, all to a fab go-go score by Camille Bazbaz.

They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (US, Morgan Neville, 2018) Tells the story of Orson Welles’ last great fiasco, the making of The Other Side of the Wind (q.v.). Particularly well cut together explainer weirdly omits the final chapter in which Netflix pays to fix the seemingly intractable problems and finish the film (and create this documentary).

Liverleaf (Japan, Eisuke Naitô, 2018) Bullied transfer student Haruka (Anna Yamada) finally unbottles her rage in ultraviolent revenge, revealing secrets and burying bodies in a blizzard. Based on a manga, some of the scenes are achingly beautiful — and often gory as hell. Maybe some of the story beats could have used some signals or supports, but this is ukiyo-e after all, so maybe not.

The Mercy of the Jungle (Belgium/France/Rwanda, Joel Karekezi, 2018) Career Rwandan Army Sergeant Xavier (Marc Zinga) and peasant private Faustin (Stéphane Bak), left behind during an offensive in the Second Congo War must survive the jungle, a band of rebels, and their own psyches in this effective war movie that occasionally becomes genuinely gripping. The two leads’ strong, lived-in performances give Karekezi a solid core to return to, keeping the picaresque nature of the material reined in.

Overlord (US, Julius Avery, 2018) Just before D-Day the remnants of an American paratrooper squad (Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, John Magaro, et al) must destroy a key Nazi radio jammer in a church, but find the Nazi forces conducting supernatural experiments in the crypt. Remarkably competent war action joins with top-notch zombie action for a thoroughly satisfying, controlled horror-adventure B-movie on an A-budget.

X — the eXploited (Hungary, Karoly Ujj Mészáros, 2018) Brilliant detective Eva (Monika Balsai) can’t function thanks to crippling panic attacks, but still manages to link a series of seeming accidents and suicides as murders with political implications. A solid political thriller, a strong policier, and for an act or two just a very creative variation on the Nero Wolfe model, all filmed with style.

Friedkin Uncut (Italy, Francesco Zippel, 2018) Perhaps with a lesser subject than Chicago’s own William Friedkin, this fairly conventional documentary-about-a-director (direcumentary?) would just be Good, but Friedkin remains a live wire at 83 and the galaxy of talents from Ellen Burstyn to Walter Hill to Quentin Tarantino who pay him homage do so joyfully. (The Willem Dafoe segment also reminded me why and how much To Live and Die in L.A. blew me away when I saw it in the theater.) Friedkin eschews the term “art,” about his own films at least, but like a true artist he stubbornly shoots what he sees.


Animal (Argentina/Spain, Armando Bo, 2018) A civilized man (Guillermo Francella) disintegrates when his kidney fails. Notable for the slow-motion home invasion-demonic possession story featuring the scumbag drifter with a matching blood type who extorts him, but in the end the film feels like a writer with too many directions becoming a director without a clear vision.

Duelles (Belgium/France, Olivier Masset-Depasse, 2018) Story by Hitchcock, shots by Douglas Sirk: In idyllic 1960s Brussels, neighboring housewives Alice (Veerle Baetens) and Celine (Anne Coesens) succumb to paranoia and madness following a fatal accident to Celine’s son. The story moves well, and Baetens plays increasing mania wonderfully. But Masset-Depasse’s relatively conventional treatment and extremely safe and conventional choices raise the question: what is this movie doing, exactly, besides marking time for the inevitable Reese Witherspoon remake?

The Stolen Caravaggio (Italy, Roberto Ando, 2018) Film company secretary Valeria (Micaela Ramazotti), who ghostwrites screenplays for blocked writer Alessandro Pes (Alessandro Gassmann), gets a lead on a story about the titular Caravaggio and to nobody’s surprise winds up inside the action. More propulsive than Ando’s Confessions, this meta-film wants to be Charade or a similarly dizzying romcom thriller, but doesn’t quite reach it. However, the ride is fun, and Maurizio Calvesi’s cinematography makes everything gorgeous.

Boys Cry (Italy, Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo, 2018) Vacuous losers Manolo (Andrea Carpanzano) and Mirko (Matteo Olivetti) accidentally run over a snitch, gaining them entry to a minor mafia clan and setting off a slow fuse of moral awakening. With no glamor, an overexposed palette, and lots of close-ups of the thugs, this is not a pretty mob film; your value likely depends on whether you care to identify with these accidental goombahs.


Ash is Purest White (China/France, Jia Zhangke, 2018) In 2001 in the remote city of Datong, Qiao (Zhao Tao) is the girlfriend of petty mob boss Bin (Liao Fan); in 2006 she gets out of jail to find he has deserted her and she pursues him to Fangjie; in 2017 she’s back in Datong running mah-jongg waiting for him to show up. Too long to let any of the three acts work, and too invested in an unappealing Bin to be enjoyable at any length. The middle act, where Qiao rebuilds her life one grift at a time, could have been great.

Happy as Lazzaro (Italy/Switzerland/France/Germany, Alice Rohrwacher, 2018) The peasants of isolated Inviolata remain serfs in the 1980s, with the good (saintly?) worker Lazzaro (Adriano Tardiolo) bearing his fellows’ burdens in turn. Halfway through the movie, everything changes, and the neo-medieval mise-en-scene becomes today’s urban fringe. Rohrwacher tells a timeless story of exploitation with moments of stark beauty and emotion, but her choice of “golden legend” crosses up her ideological priors to eventually strangling effect.

Sibel (EU/Turkey, Çagla Zencirci and Guillaume Giovanetti, 2018) In rural Turkey, the mute daughter (Damla Sönmez) of the mayor (Emin Gürsoy) communicates using an ancestral whistling language, but most of her day is spent alone hunting a wolf. Zenciri and Giovanetti want to wrap their exoticized-society girl-power movie in fairy tale clothing, but do nothing to reconcile (or play up) the conflict between the two modes. The two leads also play differently, Sönmez bordering on histrionics while Gürsoy dives deep internally; the result is four halves of two movies.

Naples in Veils (Italy, Ferzan Ozpetek, 2017) After a super-hot one-night stand with diver Andrea (Alessandro Borghi) medical examiner Adriana (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) finds herself investigating, and suspected of, his murder the next day. Then she starts seeing his ghost, or his twin, or … ? Lush and beautiful, set in Naples’ avant-garde art scene and ignoring the Camorra or any aspect of reality whatsoever, the film eventually disappears into its own sexy, gorgeously shot ass. Two thirds of a movie — even two thirds of Vertigo — is still not a movie.

Transit (Germany/France, Christian Petzold, 2018) To escape a France fallen to fascist invasion, Georg (Franz Rogowski) assumes the identity of a dead writer; while waiting in Marseille for his papers to clear, he becomes embroiled in both his lives’ complications. Moody, slightly surreal film becomes a case study in why voiceover narration is a terrible idea.

Not Recommended

Ex-Shaman (Brazil, Luiz Bolognesi, 2018) Docudrama leisurely follows Perera, the former shaman of the Paiter Surui tribe in the Brazilian interior. Bolognesi’s general melancholy tone doesn’t provide emotional insight, and the Anthro 101 subject matter doesn’t hold great interest by itself. Strong suspicion that Bolognesi staged some shots and the throughline, and certainly tinkered with the sound, leaches the film of what value it had left.

Jumpman (Russia/Lithuania/Ireland/France, Ivan I. Tverdovsky, 2018) After dumping him in the baby hatch of an orphanage at birth, Oksana (Anna Slyu) comes back for Denis (Denis Vlasenko) to use his congenital analgesia — inability to feel pain — for fraud. Denis becomes a jumpman, someone who jumps in front of rich people’s cars to extort them for bribes or (thanks to a deep-benched conspiracy) legal judgements. The scam is interesting, unlike the acting or camera work, but (along with a weird Jocasta-complex vibe from Oksana) never pays off because in Russia, movie ends you. Kirill Richter’s score is the only real standout, by turns brooding and atonal.

Greg Stafford, R.I.P.

Greg Stafford touched so many lives with such magic that it is literally impossible to describe the feeling of his departure. I'm not even sure I can describe what it means to me -- I found out about three hours ago and I'm still trying to form words.

But I can say that he was everything I ever dreamed and hoped he was when I met him over 25 years ago. He was an unfailingly kind and thoughtful friend, a boon companion, and a magnificent and path-breaking game designer whose 33-year-old masterpiece King Arthur Pendragon remains well in advance of the state of the art. He defined the Charisma stat in person, and the Intelligence and Power stats in conversation and creation.

I have so many fond memories of him, from first cracking open Call of Cthulhu, to getting an email from GREG STAFFORD HIS OWN SELF asking what book I wanted to write for his company, to having him run Pendragon for me one night, to getting my author's copy of the Prince Valiant RPG Episode Book two days ago -- and those are just the gaming-direct memories.

There's also the late-night riffing on the movie Anaconda when we shared a room at some con or other, the walking tour of the Haight peppered with hilariously cruel jokes about the Grateful Dead, the long-form talks about myth and gods and monsters, and the unique delight of introducing Greg to a new drug called Stilton cheese. Dozens of kindnesses, personal and professional; they seemed to grow from him naturally, like leaves off the Green Knight.

Greg was a personal hero of mine, as well as a culture-hero to my people. He showed me his rune, and I've been trying to master it for decades.

Yep, I was right, I can't describe what Greg's departure means to me. This will have to do. Ave atque vale, Greg, rex quondam et rex futurus ludorum.


CIFF Meets the Phantom of the Park

Once more it's time for the Chicago International Film Festival, so once more it must be time for me to lay out my schedule as I know it. As usual, all films show at the AMC River East 21. Sadly, the sole South Korean film on offer (tch-tch) plays only against my Orson Welles mini-Fest, so I shall have to check out Clean Up on some other screen somewhere.


6:00: Transit (Germany/France, Christian Petzold) A man fleeing occupied France meets a woman searching for her dead husband -- whose identity he has assumed. Surreal thriller described as "Kafka's Casablanca."

8:15: Animal (Argentina/Spain, Armando Bo) A man in need of a kidney transplant falls under the power of a conniving couple. Dark comic thriller directed by the screenwriter of Birdman.


8:15: The Mercy of the Jungle (Belgium/France/Rwanda, Joël Karakezi) Two soldiers have to make it home across inhospitable jungle during the Second Congo War.

10:30: Liverleaf (Japan, Eisuke Naitô) Schoolgirl meets bullies, schoolgirl gets supernatural powers, carnage ensues.


12:30: Sibel (EU/Turkey, Çağla Zencirci and Guillaume Giovanetti) Modern folktale pits a whistling girl against a wolf.

2:15: Boys Cry (Italy, Damiano and Fabio D'Innocenzo) Two street kids accidentally kill a pedestrian in a hit-and-run, earning them a place in the Mafia. Crime film and coming-of-age movie duke it out in a battle of genres.

4:30: Border (Sweden, Ali Abbasi) Customs officer whose ability to smell fear and shame makes her a standout at her job feels a powerful attraction for a traveler whose Neanderthal-like features resemble her own. Received a coveted robin_d_laws Recommendation!

8:15: Ash is Purest White (China, Jia Zhangke) Released from prison, a gun moll in the Jianghu underworld discovers her boss/lover and gang have moved on in the five years she was away. Gunplay ensues!


12:00: Friedkin Uncut (Italy, Francesco Zippel) A documentary on the films of Chicago's own William Friedkin from The French Connection to Killer Joe.

2:30: Jumpman (Russia/Ireland/Lithuania/France, Ivan I. Tverdovsky) A boy born without the ability to feel pain becomes -- an insurance fraud, because Russia. Russian films always sound so cool and then very not always are, but we always come back. Lithuania tho.

5:45: Happy as Lazzaro (Italy/Switzerland/France/Germany, Alice Rohrwacher) An outcast man who can time travel can hopefully also travel out of realism and into magic realism.


6:00: Duelles (Belgium/France, Olivier Masset-Depasse) Two identical bourgeois neighbor housewives succumb to paranoia. Belgians love making Hitchcock movies, so let's hope this one is one of the good ones.

8:30: The Stolen Caravaggio (Italy, Roberto Andó) Screenwriter receives a screenplay plot full of intrigue and, one suspects, finds herself living it. Andó directed The Confessions, which we liked in 2016.


6:15: The Belly of the Whale (Ireland, Morgan Bushe) Two teenage hooligans decide to rob a casino and you had me at "rob a casino."


12:30: Ex-Shaman (Brazil, Luiz Bolognesi) Former shaman of a now-Christian village must take up the rattle once more to fight evil spirits.

3:00: Naples in Veils (Italy, Ferzan Ozpetek) A medical examiner wakes up to find that her one-night-stand is dead, and she must explore the darkness of Naples to clear her name. I admit it, I'm just a sucker for movies set in Naples, but you know that sounds pretty good.

5:30: Dogman (Italy/France, Matteo Garrone) Dog groomer pulled into criminality bites back! From the director of the excellent Gomorrah.

8:15: X--The eXploited (Hungary, Károly Ujj Mészáros) Detective battles anxiety and the Communist past to unravel a murder mystery. Hungary usually punches way above its weight, but it has stubbed its toe a couple of times recently.


2:30: They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (US, Morgan Neville) Documentary about the last 15 years of Orson Welles' life from the maker of 20 Feet From Stardom.

5:45: The Trouble with You (France, Pierre Salvadori) Policewoman learns that her husband was actually a crooked cop; she tries to right his wrongs in this "screwball caper comedy" set in the Riviera which I mean really icing on top of icing here.

11:00: Overlord (US, Julius Avery) Heroic US soldiers killing some Nazi werewolves or zombies or werezombies or wolfensteins or something.


2:30: The Other Side of the Wind (US, Orson Welles, 1976 & 2018) John Huston plays an aging, legendary director blocked at every turn in his attempt to make his final masterpiece. Not so much art imitating life as art diarizing life, this famously unfinished film finally got finished (by Peter Bogdanovich and Frank Marshall, I think) thanks to the deep pockets of Netflix, where you can all see it two weeks after I do. This should definitively break our long-running pattern of the last film of the Fest not always being very good.

HPL + PDX + FF = F U N

What ho! Once more I shriekingly adorn the tentacular spectacular that is the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in scenic (and so far sunny) Portland, Oregon. And once more, my schedule has materialized from out of the ultraviolet in this hideous Form:

THURSDAY October 4

7:00pm-10:00pm: VIP Reception for Kickstarter backers [Tony Starlight's Showroom]

SATURDAY October 6

10:00am - Noon: Carb-load for Cthulhu
Just you, dozens of Voodoo donuts, bagels, and coffee, and some of this Cosmos's most renowned Weird fiction authors signing books and taking names. Provisions are limited, so get there early and enjoy your blasphemous treats while rediscovering the ancient art form of tree pulp inscribed with the ink of sea creatures! [EOD Center]

9:00pm - 10:00pm: Of Vampires and Space Rocks
A look at films with Cosmic Horror themes, from early Universal to more modern, that audiences might have missed. Chris McMilan (moderator), Derek M. Koch, Dominique Lamssies, Ken Hite, Ray Garton [EOD Center]

10:00pm - 11:00pm: Lovecraft Squares!
A trivia Game-show style event! Guests answer trivia questions and the Audience guesses if they’re right or wrong. Test your knowledge of HPL Trivia and see if you can catch the truths and spot the fibs! Sean Branney, Adam Scott Glancy, Lee Moyer, Richard Stanley, Cody Goodfellow, Kenneth Hite, John Skipp, Andrew Leman, Andrew Migliore [EOD Center]

SUNDAY October 7

3:00pm - 4:00pm: Carcosa Before Chambers: Non-Lovecraftian Forays Into the Weird
Who were Lovecraft and Chambers reading when they were coming up as authors themselves? Edward Morris (moderator), Nathan Carson, Mike Griffin, Ken Hite, Dominique Lamssies, Joe Pulver by Skype! [EOD Center]

4:00pm - 5:00pm: H.P. Lovecraft's Rod Serling's Night Gallery
Rod Serling's Night Gallery anthology series was known for its stories of the macabre and supernatural. It was a perfect fit for adapting some of H. P. Lovecraft's stories to the small screen. Here, we present "Cool Air" and "Pickman's Model" in all their 1971, 4:3 picture ratio glory! Introduction by Kenneth Hite [Upper Left Theater]