Some envy Portland's efficient public transportation system; I envy its annual H. P. Lovecraft Festival. The freakish cult that's grown around Lovecraft is the best kind of literary fandom: It creates new work—from the gravely serious to the hilariously campy—and imbues it with Lovecraft's nerdy, horrific mythology. This week, the festival finally comes to Seattle, and the Grand Illusion Cinema is showing two programs of short films based on the Cthulhu mythos. Most full-length Lovecraft movies collapse under their own ridiculous weight, but the shorter work—about ancient monster-gods buried below the sea and skittering rat-beasts—is almost always marvelous. (The Grand Illusion Cinema, 1403 NE 50th St, 523-3935. 7 and 9 pm, $8.)

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