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The Undertaker's 2001 Convention Wrap-Up

I was extremely excited about the 2nd annual Cinema Wasteland Show last weekend. If last year's were any indication, number 2 would be even better. All that excitement ended on Tuesday, September 11 2001. The events of that day; the worst day in American history's modern age, scarred and changed our country and it's view of the outside world forever. No other country does as much to help others as the United States of America. No other country has as many enemies. One week later, we've learned an important lesson. All of us need to band together tighter and take care of each other. Black, white, Asian, Hispanic, native American, Arabic, Jewish, Islamic, atheist, Christian American U.S. citizens need to stand together as one now and in the future. Be strong and ready for what may come. Who else is going to look out for our country but us? The tragedies that occurred last week will only be worsened if we don't work together through this. Those people killed and still missing will never be forgotten. New York and Washington have all our help and support. Our America will arise from this, stronger and better than before. Time heals all wounds, but the scars will remain. Scars that will keep us ever ready so that this disaster never repeats itself.

The show did go on as they say. I went with a very special female friend named Brenda (who to her credit was able to stand 4 days with me) and had a great time. Sounds strange after Tuesday's nightmare, but the convention helped all those involved and attending take a break from reality for a few hours each day. No one ever forgot about what happened. I don't want people to think horror film fans are a bunch of morbid unfeeling assholes that could care less about what happened. The mood was fun, but somber. We all knew what was really important last weekend. If someone out there thinks otherwise, fuck you!

» Friday September 14, 2001
It's a long drive to Cleveland from Virginia. After getting hotel room and tickets for the show straight, it was time to view a few trailers and stroll through the dealer & guest room. Everything was subject to change all weekend for obvious reasons, but only 3 of the guests were unable to attend and even they tried there damnedest to make it. The layout and format was the same as last year, which was fine with me. Just minutes into the show I met an interesting, very friendly, and cool fellow named Virgil, former WWF superstar. Super nice guy and fun to talk to. Definitely one of the coolest people I met all weekend. This guy was so nice I even saw him helping other people pack up there tables at the end of the show. Good Luck man.

First thing we watched all weekend was Piranha 2. Nice seeing this on a larger screen for the 1st time. Great fun. Dinner break and a beer run (luckily Cleveland had Pabst Blue Ribbon), and then it was time to watch probably my favorite film ever, Phantasm. To bad Reggie couldn't make it for that guest commentary, maybe next year. Still, this was the 1st time I'd seen this on anything bigger than a TV screen in many, many years. Guess what? It still rules!

After that it was time to laugh and howl through Bigfoot. This movie was so much fun it got a repeat performance later in the weekend. Next, the ultra-rare Demons of Ludlow played. Never heard of it before and this may have been the 1st time it was seen by just about anyone. A wasteland exclusive perhaps? It was pretty good from what I can recall. A few beers and a long drive kept me from being at my most alert while watching. I need to see this again. Time for bed finally, so at 2:00 am I get back to the room and announce that I'm drunk and go to sleep. It's always nice to wake up someone and let them know you're drunk, even if you're not really, hehe.

» Saturday September 15, 2001
Breakfast, a swim, and time to go back to the Wasteland. I watched Carl Taliaferro turn actor Bill Blair into a zombie in the video room's live make-up demo. Pretty cool stuff. Nice to see how some of the tricks of the trade are done.

Next I went and listened to Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni speak. Very cool guest. Loved hearing her talk about Argento, Demons 2, and many more topics. Born in America, raised in Italy, now once again living here, She summed up everyone's' feelings this weekend with tears when speaking of Tuesday's horrors.

Checked out the "sneak premier" of Vixen Highway. Director John Ervin wasn't there, but did send a letter to sum up the film's debut. A supposed homage to Russ Meyer's films, it works at times. Other times it didn't. Decent movie, maybe worth a rental.

Guess who was back at the show? Tom Sullivan and his Evil Dead museum. Tom showed his clips Friday night in the video room & did commentary over Evil Dead this year. This was the largest crowd I saw in one room all weekend for a film. Cool stuff Tom and thanks for signing my old HBO copy of E.D.

Later on as darkness fell, it was hard to not watch Dracula's Dog in the film room, but I'm glad I went to "A Ghastlee Night at the Movies" instead. Dayton, Ohio horror host extraordinaire A. Ghastlee Ghoul put on an extremely funny assed show with clips from his own crazy show and other twisted hi-jinks. What can I say? I loved it! Definitely a high spot for me at this years show. I talked with Ghastlee a bit on Sunday and he proved to be friendly, interesting, and informative. Probably not good things to say about a Ghoul, but he was quite a character. His T-shirts say Life Sucks ... just like the Ghastlee Show or something to that affect. Hate to say it, but you might be wrong on both counts. Good job man.

I had a problem with both the film and video rooms Saturday night. Too much good stuff to watch! Knowing I wouldn't make the late show, I decided to track down Track of the Moon Beast. Man, this thing was as funny and goofy as Bigfoot. Everybody in there had a great time. Made me instantly have Slithis flashbacks. Is that a good thing? Bedtime.

» Sunday September 16, 2001
Sadly, the last day arrived. Time to spend every single dime I brought. All the vendors were great just like last year. Didn't do much movie watching that day. Did check out Kevin VanHentenryck, you know, Duane from the Basket Case films. Cool guy. Signed my Basket Case laser. His talk before showing Basket Case 2 was interesting and fun. The guy's a sculptor now, a damn good one. That's about it for Sunday besides the long ride back.

All said, it was a great weekend of a horrible week. Thanks to Ken Kish and all his staff & Volunteers, the Guests, and the fans. This year's attendance was down for obvious reasons, but it was still a good show enjoyed by all. But, now it's back to reality, unfortunately. I think Coralina summed it up best when she said, " We'll get through this. We're Americans. We kick ass."

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