Composer and filmmaker Reber Clark has finally released the official soundtrack to his recent movie Lovecraft Paragraphs, which debuted to critical acclaim at the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival in October. S.T. Joshi called it a "scintillating and breathtakingly original visual experience."
Mr. Clark stopped by to tell us a little about the release and his experience at the festival.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Lovecraft Paragraphs the Original Soundtrack
Lovecraft Paragraphs is a movie I made - the sole goal of which was to be accepted by the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival (HPLFF) in Portland, Oregon and to be shown there. It actually premiered there in October 2009.
In the movie (not a “film” – no film involved! “Video” sounds cold, hence “movie”) most of the references - visuals, audio etc, will be familiar to Lovecraft readers but not so much to non-aficionados. I hope people enjoy it and that it helps these paragraphs stick in the mind.
What the movie is about is how Lovecraft’s paragraphs stick with you even after the plot details have become hazy. I utilized four different electronic voices to state Lovecraft’s words in an effort to de-personalize the presentation. The reason for this is from two quotes of Lovecraft:
“I like a tale to be told as directly and impersonally as possible, from an angle of utter and absolute detachment.”
– Howard Phillips Lovecraft, In a letter to Frank Belknap Long, August 2 1925
“. . .for in its cryptical arabesques there may stand symbolised all the aims and mysteries of a blindly impersonal cosmos.”
– Howard Phillips Lovecraft, The Silver Key
The soundtrack release, available now as an MP3 download from Amazon.com, contains twenty music cues from the movie with their narrations and these same cues without the narrations. There are forty tracks for under ten bucks. A pretty good deal.
Hopefully it means a little income and greater exposure to film makers who might want music for their productions. I have met a few people interested in Lovecraft through this project and we have several ideas on the table. Because of my experience the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival I can now see a way to have these ideas come to fruition. I have ignored my monsters for far too long and it’s time for them to be fully accepted into my life.
LNN: Tell us about your experience with the HPLFF, if you wouldn't mind.”
Clark: Please keep in mind I am a relative newcomer to film festivals and film making. The 2009 H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, Oregon was the first film festival I’d ever been to, and my movie Lovecraft Paragraphs was the first movie I’d ever released – in fact it premiered at the festival.
Upon arriving in Portland one is struck with the cleanliness and efficiency of its rail system the TriMax. I had no trouble getting from the airport to my hotel, Hotel Fifty, in downtown Portland. I tried to book a hotel nearer to the festival but they were booked up by the time I received word that my movie had been accepted. C’est la vie; the trains made it an extremely easy commute every day.
The Hollywood Theatre (opened in 1926), where the festival takes place, and surrounding shops and eateries sit on North East Sandy Boulevard – a through street much like any other in older sections of towns built in the 1890s thru the 1930s. There were local burger joints that had been there since the invention of the cow as well as current chains such as Quiznos. The surrounding shops varied from dry cleaners to knick-knack shops to the amazing Things from Another World store. Down the street is Tony Starlight’s where the most visible after-hours gatherings take place after the festival theatre closes for the night.
I entered the theatre and was greeted by the fabulous Mrs. Linda Migliore – Andrew’s wife. Andrew Migliore runs the festival (I believe he is secretly insane – but in a good way!). Linda set me up with a badge/festival pass and a poster and T-Shirt – apparently film makers get ‘em free! Bonus! I wandered the theatre – an old one from the thirties - kept in decent repair by those that love movies.
There were two screening rooms upstairs – a converted balcony - and the vendors had their stuff set up in the upstairs lobby. You could buy anything from Liv Rainey Smith’s fantastic hand made prints to T-shirts, jewelry, skulls (!) and books galore. It was amazing. I bought a Yellow Sign hat from Dagon Industries. The main screen was downstairs and is a spacious auditorium with those great red upholstered seats.
The popcorn smelled right in this place so I figured I was among those who loved movies as well as Lovecraft. I felt weirdly at home and relaxed around all of these people. We all seemed like some members of some scattered, dysfunctional yet happy family. I knew I would be back.
The schedule of movies combined several feature length films with 3 blocks of shorts – each run twice. Alongside the film presentations was a schedule of writers’ panels, discussions, and events called the “CthulhuCon.” I had to pick and choose which to attend because the writers’ blocks (no pun intended) competed with the film blocks for time. This was a shame because my interests lie in both worlds.
I wanted to go to both showings of Shorts Block One because that’s when Lovecraft Paragraphs was being shown and I had never seen it with an audience.
They loved it and they hated it! It was fantastic! I love it when people have a reaction then talk about it. What is the worst is the “meh” reaction. If at least they feel something about the project I know I’m doing my job.
Some quotes and comments from the festival include:
"Lovecraft Paragraphs is a scintillating and breathtakingly original visual experience. The 'paragraphs' from Lovecraft's work have been chosen with exceptional care to highlight some of Lovecraft's most powerful and provocative utterances; and the images chosen to accompany them emphasise exactly those elements of weirdness, cosmicism, terror, and otherworldly beauty that distinguish Lovecraft's stories. Every reader of Lovecraft will come away with an enhanced appreciation for the Master's writing and imagination from seeing this splendid film." - eminent Lovecraft scholar S. T. Joshi, author of H. P. Lovecraft: A Life
"A wonderful, wonderful movie."
- Wilum H. Pugmire, author of The Fungal Stain and Sesqua Valley & Other Haunts
"Lovecraft Paragraphs was an extraordinary presentation of his [Lovecraft's] prose in voicesynth vocals, with visuals. Like Carl Sagan on PCP." - Alex Russell, on Twitter
"I thought Lovecraft Paragraphs was a visual delight, and an enjoyable Lovecraftian journey." - Robert Cappelletto, Director of Pickman's Muse (H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival Audience Pick (Best Adaptation) winner 2009)
"Lovecraft Paragraphs was easily the most controversial film at the festival this year." - Andrew Migliore, Director, The H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival
I was blown away with S. T. Joshi’s generous comments as well as all of the authors and film makers who had these reactions, but believe me there were plenty of folks who audibly groaned at the movie. Admittedly it is a bit overlong and not full of snappy lines. Perhaps I will re-edit it if it is ever released on DVD.
LNN: What's next for you and Lovecraft Paragraphs?
Clark: I would love to release the movie on DVD and get it distributed. That may be in the works – we will see. If nothing else I may put it up on Amazon.com as a video download.
As for me – I am finishing up this year’s music commissions – one for a high school in Indiana entitled Christmas Heralds and another for a school in Renton, Washington entitled Africa Ascendant. There are also four pieces for wind ensemble at my publishers but I haven’t heard if they are in the pipeline or not.
Depending on how well Lovecraft Paragraphs - the Original Soundtrack does on Amazon.com I may begin work on a Lovecraft Suite which I have always wanted to do. It would be a straight musical work for orchestra or wind ensemble. I have had it planned out for a long time and now may have a reason to commit to it. I also have plans for three or four Lovecraft-related movie projects; one based on some Lord Dunsany tales, an idea for a funny Cthulhu short and Robert Cappelletto and I have talked about several projects. He won the Audience Pick for Best Adaptation this year at HPLFF for his beautifully shot film Pickman’s Muse.
Things continue. I am very happy that my work has had so much acceptance in the Lovecraft community, particularly among the authors and scholars and I look forward to many more darkly happy years working on Lovecraftian projects. LNN is a great resource for Lovecraftian info and you provide an excellent service. Thanks for allowing me to talk about my latest release.
LNN: As always, it was our pleasure. Thank you.
Order Reber Clark's Lovecraft Paragraphs Soundtrack at the following link:
It includes all cues from the movie with narration, as well as those cues without the narration. A total of forty tracks for under ten bucks!
Learn more about Mr. Clark and his other projects: