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The Undertaker's Horror Convention Wrap-Up

They say the 3rd times the charm or three strikes and you’re out. Neither of those old clichés apply to this event. It started out great in 2000 and has continued to be enjoyable ever since. Last year’s event, due to the crisis of the times, was a bit more somber than this year’s show. In 2002, all guests showed up, dealers filled the room with their goodies, and fans turned out from all over. The Cryptkeeper brought his ass this year. The Gravedigger and The Mortician were unable to attend; the lives of adult film stars are hell. The same format worked just as well as the past two year’s; if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Here’s a brief summary of what we saw this go around. Look at the photos, they will tell ya more than my shitty paraphrase. Glad the ‘Keeper showed up with a real camera this year. Enjoy!

» Friday October 04, 2002
Cinema Wasteland took place in the tenth month this year for a slight change. Once we got all arrived and situated, it was time to take a stroll through the dealer’s room. Pretty much the same shit as the previous two years, not a bad thing. First thing we sat down for was Mr. Unknown from From Parts Unknown magazine and his Lucha Libre road show. Enjoyable stuff and he did a good job learning us about some Maxicon wrastlin. Couldn’t stay to see the whole entire presentation though ‘cause it was Reggie time.

Reggie took center stage in the film room around 7:00 to share some Phantasm knowledge. This was very cool to me since Phantasm’s a favorite. He shared some cool stories, talked about the very good possibility of Phantasm’s End (with perhaps Bruce Campbell), and fleshed out his on career from music to movies. Reggie’s an interesting fella as most of you know. There ain’t many movie people I can personally say I’ve been super hyped up to meet, but I was looking forward to seeing this dude. Glad he could make it this year.

Michael Berryman showed up next and if you haven’t ever heard him give a talk, well you’ve missed an experience that’s for sure. He can go from one subject to the next totally unrelated subject smoother than a velvet Elvis painting. Mikey tells it like it is, no doubt about that. You need to hear this man at least once. Ya gotta love it, whether you agree with his opinions or not; watching him go from point A to Venus will keep you on your toes.

Break time followed then it was time to see what the Brains on Film guys were gonna do at the Friday night “Smoker”. The B.O.F. presented Blood Feast then followed with Sugar Hill. Firstly, the fellas showed their own Blood Feast homage and some trailers to warm things up, complete with beers and Bloody Marys. It was funny and a great way to finish off the day. Free booze is good, even if its Budweiser I guess (luckily I had my own) and everyone got a dose of B.O.F. culture. Is that a good thing? Well, hell, sure it is. Blood Feast is dated, but still has a special charm of it’s own (perhaps Mal Arnold). We didn’t make Sugar Hill. The ‘Keeper’s ass hurt from all the sittin’ and my sleep card was about to get full. Stroh’s might be fire brewed, but it sure put my ass out cold.

» Saturday October 05, 2002
After a greasy Simmering Pot breakfast, we headed off to the dealer/guest room to take pics (see pics section) and get some of my junk signed. Everyone was cool to meet. Gotta love Bill Moseley's Choptop's Bar-BQ shirts. He spit out plenty of our favorite lines from Chainsaw 2. David Hess seemed impressed by my old Last House on the Left original tape, urging me to hold on to it. Tom Savini was less impressed by what I had for him to sign. It really was all just a blatant ploy to get these people photoed by The 'Keeper for the site… suckers! Both Connie Mason and Herschell Gordon Lewis were wonderful and have held up well over time so it seems. Connie now reigns as the oldest chick I'd wanna take a shower with. We were both very impressed to say the least. H.G. Lewis, I mean what the fuck can you not say about this man. A real pioneer for us horror and gore aficionados, he started it all as far as gore films in the U.S. goes. Awesome man who signed for free and wasn't there just to make a buck. He was actually urging folks to get a photo taken with him. The man still is sharp as a razor and really made it a special weekend.

After the signing crap session was over, it was time to stroll over to the guest speaker room to listen to Bill Moseley and Tom Savini talk chainsaws and maniacs past. Fun stuff. Bill's wild sense of humor kept coming through and both guys shared cool stories and memories of horrors past, present, and future. Good news people, House of a 1,000 Corpses has been picked up and slated for a release early next year. This is probably old news, but I wouldn't believe anything about this film except after hearing it from the horses or Choptop's mouth. Also, a 4th "Dead" film was hinted at. Next 5 years might be real interesting for us horror fans.

David Hess gave us a lil' chat action next. Sounded like Mr. Hess has led a pretty exciting life thus far. Fortunately, he bears no shared habits with his more popular characters (I think). He has been in plays, in music, and of course movies, and is still going strong and feelin' happy.

At 3:00, Cinema Wasteland kicked off probably the highpoint of the weekend as H.G. Lewis, accompanied by Connie Mason, talked about his career in the movies. The things he talked about and the way he looked back on those early years was a once in a lifetime type of experience for all of us present. An amazing fellow this one, and he had some nice eye -candy beside him. You can tell H.G.'s as savvy as they come and knows his way around the "business". Then, he presented and did a blow-by-blow commentary over 2000 Maniacs (his best film to most) which was shown on 16mm. Are you getting a picture of how rare this little slice of heaven was? That was definitely the largest screen I ever saw that movie on. It was just too damn cool to have this stuff happening and to be there for it. We could all sense Mr. Lewis felt as happy to be there as we were and enjoyed the whole weekend maybe more than his fans. It's just a shame in a way that he isn't getting anything off those movies now. But, fate is strange and soon H.G.'s name might be grossing out a whole new generation of fans, hint dropped and explained soon.

The end of that event also marked the end of The 'Keeper's weekend at C.W due to a prior engagement. They left me all alone. After dinner, time to see what A. Ghastlee Ghoul and his many horror host friends from the horror host underground had in store. It looked liked (and sounded like) organized chaos at it's finest. Hell, whatever it was, it was fun. Luckily, we witnessed another cool moment to remember as H.G. Lewis took his place as guest of honor among the hosts to sing the theme from 2000 Maniacs. Now that was something, see the photos. Food, free gifts, and happiness ensued. The hosts did good (should I say that about a bunch of ghouls, mad doctors, zombies, and temptresses).

The 1st and only movie I saw that night was a site to behold in the form of Blood Freak. Once you see it, you'll never forget "The Freak". A cinematic turkey (literally) defying any and all description unfolded before my eyes. WOW! How have I missed getting my hands on it thus far? I'm tired and nothing else interests me so off to bed I go. Or do I?

» Sunday October 06, 2002
The short day is upon us. Besides getting ready for that 9 hour fuckin' drive home, there were some great things still left in this weekend's show. At 12, Reggie B did commentary over Phantasm on a rare 16mm print that even director Don Coscarelli didn't know existed. I dug it man. It was like being nine again and having my very own Reggie to guide me through the surreal world of Phantasm. This was the shit as far as I'm concerned.

Later in the day, I got one last chance to listen to H.G. Lewis and Connie Mason talk shop. He did a great job explaining a few things about movies as the business worked back then and today. Doesn't seem as if the film industry has changed for the better really to me.

After wards, we got a big surprise as Blood Feast 2 was screened for us by Lewis. WOW! This was a working print, running 96 minutes. It hadn't undergone a final editing yet, so I don't know what the finished version will be, but this one rocked. Cool shit here boys and girls; we'll never see it in a theatre because it's as over the top as the 1st was then. Nothing in it was taken too seriously or left sacred. Imagine John Waters cameoing as a priest and you'll get the picture of what I'm saying (?). I can't see this disappointing anyone in anyway. Keep your eyes open for it. Let's hope it gets some kind of good distribution deal at least. Still, it was super cool of H.G. to let us have a peek; it still had the time code for Pete's sake and got a good crowd response.

Blood Feast 2 ran until the end of the show and then I was gone. Did make one more stop to talk with R.B. for a second before hitting the road for a long drive home. Each year this show improves and gets more fun (how I don't know). The 4th installment has been scheduled, so get your ass out there next year. Thanks to Ken and all the crew, staff, volunteers, guests, fans for making it run smooth.

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