The influence of the early-20th-century writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft's forays into the stygian realms of fright and fantasy is seemingly without measure. Traces of Lovecraft's creations can be found in literature, film and music from all over the world, his fertile imagination serving as the seed for so many other artists exploring the darker realms of the universe. And every year, much of the horror wrought by Lovecraft comes to Portland to be showcased at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival.

With another impressive lineup of films and guests, festival director/founder and Lovecraft historian Andrew Migliore has a schedule of events that will keep horror fans busy all weekend. As in years past, the HPLFF includes a mix of feature films and shorts. Takashi Shimizu's Marebito is a creepy bit of Japanese horror inspired by Lovecraft's The Outsider. Fred Ward stars as private detective H. Phillip Lovecraft in Cast a Deadly Spell, a mix of film noir and horror. Director Stuart Gordon, whose adaptation of Lovecraft's Re-animator remains a cult classic, is scheduled to be on hand for the world premiere of Dreams of the Witch House, from the upcoming Showtime series Masters of Horror. And the hilarious short film Late Bloomer promises to be one of the best films ever screened at the HPLFF.

In addition to Gordon's appearance, legendary rocker-and devoted Lovecraft fan-Patti Smith is slated to be on hand to present several films, as well as give a live performance. Other guests include screenwriter Joseph Dougherty and actor Christopher Heyerdahl. For a complete list of films, events and showtimes, go to www.hplfilmfestival.com.

Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd., 281-4215. Friday-Sunday, Oct. 7-9. $10-$12.