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The Gravedigger's October 2009 Cinema Wasteland Wrap-Up

It was with a bit of trepidation that I went to my first horror convention in ten years. In fact, the last one I went to was, coincidently, the very first Cinema Wasteland convention a decade earlier. Why this aversion? Well, there was a time that I went to every Chiller and Fangoria Con, which were among the best horror gatherings in the 90's. But Chiller grew way too big and crowded so that you had to defensively use elbows and kick shins just to get around. The last straw was when I had a vendor table and got kicked out after the first day because too many tables were causing a fire hazard. I had gone away for a half hour, to check out the other tables and guests, and when I came back my table was gone! This was all the Chiller organizer's fault, as he overbooked. And it took months to get back only half of what I paid for the entire weekend, which was a complete wash. And as for Fango--well, the less said about that rapidly falling organization the better.

So what drew me to Cinema Wasteland near Cleveland? I was in the midst of working on a horror related documentary and had interviews lined up with actress Caroline Munro and fx guy/artist Tom Sullivan, who were guests. I had met Caroline over a decade before, through a mutual friend, and it was good catching up. This was the first time I met Tom, and he was very congenial and a good interviewee.

After these interviews, as I saw the banners being put up in the hotel and people arriving, I had this irrational urge to flee... fortunately I ran into Don May of Synapse, who I've known way back from my days in NYC, and he convinced me to stick around. I was amongst the first in line for the 5pm opening.

I was entirely surprised by this convention. I enjoyed myself. While there were a lot of people it wasn't overcrowded, so you could walk around and not get bruised or stepped on, which was a plus. Also, the convention was set up in rooms right near the entrance of the Holiday Inn, so you didn't have to traverse a maze just to find it. There was also a wide variety of vendors, from indy filmmakers such as Happy Cloud Pictures (Mike Watt and Amy Lynn Best) to fx guy Jeff Pinkerton selling his disturbing original twisted toys (I particularly like the killer rabbits), posters, lots of horror t-shirts, DVDs, magazines and books. I was even able to find a PSYCHO shower curtain I was looking for. This was also the first time I was able to check out Sullivan's Evil Dead Museum, which was set up in a separate room. While he does have some notable cult movie credits I hadn't realized what a talented artist he is. I couldn't help but purchase that autographed "Wendigo Encounter" painting. Next time I'm going for one of those Cthulu posters...

I also walked away with a load of movies to review for this website....several movies from Wild Eye Releasing, including THE BLOODY APE, which I've been wanting to see for a while, and GOTHKILL. Other movies were THE LANDLORD, PIPEWRENCH and Synapse's bestseller, SICK GIRL.

As for guests, who were all at tables in the rear of the convention, were Lynn Lowry, William Grefe (director of DEATH CURSE OF TARTU!), Arch Hall Jr, Fred Williamson, Jamie Gillis, Cerina Vincent (CABIN FEVER), Caroline Munro (AT THE EARTH'S CORE, GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD) and Martine Beswicke (ONE MILLION YEARS BC,). Caroline & Martine's talking about their past films that evening, from the Bond Films to Hammer, was very informal and entertaining. Caroline's favorite movie remains Hammer's CAPTAIN KRONOS and Martine's worst, PREHISTORIC WOMEN. Cinema Wasteland founder Ken Kish was the moderator and you could tell he was having the most fun of anyone at the convention. After all this is run by fans for fans--and it shows.

My evening was rounded out by taping a video interview with adult star Jamie Gillis, talking about the upcoming release of the "lost" film PATTY. He was a very interesting, intelligent guy. I think the last genre movie I'd seen him in was DIE YOU ZOMBIE BASTARDS!

Unfortunately I couldn't stay for the next two days, but based on this opening night I'll be first in line again in April 2010, which features a ZOMBIE reunion. ZOMBIE!

Check out the Cinema Wasteland website at www.cinemawasteland.com

- The Gravedigger

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