PCR past banners Now in our fifth calendar year
PCR #200  (Vol. 5, No. 4)  This edition is for the week of January 19--25, 2004.

A Condensed History of the Native Indigenous Peoples of the Tampa Bay (or “La Bahia Del Espiritu Santo”) Region
by Will Moriaty
"Along Came Polly"
 by Mike Smith
FANGORIA Weekend of Horrors, 1998....Boy George's "Taboo"....B-52s
 by Andy Lalino
The Black Dog Bites Back: from the Book of Joshua
 by Joshua Montgomery
Matt Helm, "Yea, Baby!"....Commercial Hall Of Fame
 by Vinnie Blesi
200....My Good Buddy Tom....The Rondo Awards
 by Matt Drinnenberg
Luke Ski Update....Casting Wish....Oh My God!....Passing On....Meet The Beatles 2
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2004
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
Email PCR
Oddservations by Andy Lalino

FANGORIA - Weekend of Horrors, 1998
Also: Boy George, Joe Bob Briggs

(Editor's note: Andy included a lot of pictures with his article and I wanted to share as many as practical---to avoid an eternity in writing tables codes for captioning purposes, I decided to take a short-cut and use "tool-tips" for ID purposes. Don't worry about what that means, but if you hover your mouse over any of the pictures, the folks in the pic will be identified from left-to-right. ---HTML-manic Nolan)

In honor of the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors convention held in New York City this past weekend, I thought it would be fun to share my experiences of when I attended the WOH back in January of 1998, which also took place in Gotham City; a time when the Twin Towers still stood proud as part of the Manhattan skyline.

P.S.: I swear I started writing this after Ed Tucker's retrospective on the F-Ex '04 convention!

Jan. 7th, 1998 (Friday)
Arrived at Newark airport on a relatively clear winter's day. Took a 'Limo' to the New Yorker hotel in Manhattan, the site of the WOH convention. I was born in The Bronx, so I'm fairly familiar with NY. In fact, I have family in the city who I didn't get to see due to the fact I was only in town for a couple of busy days. As far as the con goes, I didn't know a soul. The evening I arrived I spent time in the lobby trying to spot horror celebs, but once I did I was too nervous to go up and talk with them! I retired early, getting little sleep due to my giddiness.

Jan. 8th (Saturday)
Woke up and had breakfast in the hotel's diner, which reminded me of the joint in "Seinfeld" (not that I watch the show, but my wife does). I attempted to get in line early, because I knew it was going to be anaconda-long, but I just wasn't quick enough. The line snaked through the lobby and eventually outside - I just happened to be the one they stuck in the winter air - cruelly positioned right in front of the lobby doors! Being raised in Florida, I immediately caught cold in the 40-degree air, which was to haunt me throughout the entire weekend. While in line I did manage to strike up a conversation with some guys who were big Paul Naschy fans.

I took a peek behind me in line, noticing it went on for blocks! I considered myself lucky that I was standing near the entrance doors, and patted myself on the back for getting in line early. Once the doors were open, the fun began!

Bill Hinzman and Andy LalinoMy first destination was an initial spin around the dealer's room(s), which were sizable and offered a variety of very cool horror merchandise. Not having gone to many horror/sci-fi conventions of this scale before, I was surprised to see genre celebrities pitching their wares (as opposed to autographs) in the dealers room, such as Tom Savini, Reggie Bannister, John Russo, and Bill Hinzman. My strategy was to buy stuff on Sunday, when dealers would be more apt to lower prices, plus I wouldn't have to carry stuff around.

Right off the bat, there were a few events I missed, namely the "Horror on the Internet" panel, and a preview of the then-new horror film "The Night Flier" (based on a Stephen King story) with director Mark Pavia, star Julie Entwistle, co-writer Jack O' Donnell, and producers Richard ('79's "Dawn of the Dead"; geez, I can't believe I just typed that!) Rubinstein and Mitchell Galin. I ventured in to the lecture hall, proudly displaying my gold pass which allowed me premium seating, in the middle of the "Dark City" preview with smug director Alex Proyas and the extremely funny Richard ("Elvira's Haunted Hills") O' Brien. Months later, the film turned out to be a box-office dud.

Dean Devlin and Andy LalinoAnother disaster was then previewed: the horrid 1998 remake of "Godzilla" which producer Dean Devlin was pitching. I found the trailer they showed to be a ballsy insult to Spielberg's so-so "Jurassic Park", which featured Godzilla's foot stomping on a skeletal T. Rex. Could this have been a roundabout homage to "Bambi Meets Godzilla"? Devlin showed another trailer for "Godzilla", featuring two fisherman on a dock who get a bite on their line. The 'thing' on the other end nearly pulls them into the water, when out in the distance a huge "lump" from under the water comes right at them, tearing up the dock. The end. We don't yet get to see the monster. The best part was a question from a Fanboy in the audience: "If it was supposed to be Godzilla biting the line, how could he have been so far back in the water as to have torpedoed all the way from the distance to the dock, eventually slamming into it?". Everyone laughed, except the red-faced Devlin, who couldn't explain away the lapse in logic. Maybe he should have lectured more about why he and director Roland Emmerich green-lighted such a lackluster "new" Godzilla design?

Post-"Godzilla" preview, I got to meet Devlin, who was a very nice individual, and he signed my "Independence Day" laserdisc. In general, fans were none too happy about a big-budget remake of such a beloved movie monster.

Angus Scrimm and Andy LalinoOne of the big highlights of the weekend was the "Phantasm IV: Oblivion" panel, which featured most of the original cast & crew of the '79 classic re-united for the 3rd sequel: director Don Coscarelli, Angus Scrimm, Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister, and Bill Thornberry. The movie was previewed, but years later I managed to catch it on cable - they shouldn't have bothered. After the speeches, I dashed over to the signing table where the entire cast autographed my "Phantasm" laserdisc (DVD's were not invented back then!). All the cast and crew, with the exception of Michael Baldwin, were gems. I recall one fan in line had an impressive "Phantasm" tattoo on his calf muscle which he proudly showed to the amazed group! 2 years later I was to run into Angus Scrimm again at an Orlando WOH, and discovered that the Tall Man likes Cherry Coke!

Reggie Bannister and Andy LalinoSpecial Effects Make-Up god/actor/director Tom Savini then inherited the stage, leather bullwhip in hand, which he kept swinging around the stage uncomfortably near a nervous yours truly who was sitting in the second row. Seems that he was showing off his new purchase and needed a little practice. I felt like I was about to know what it felt like to be a leading actress in an Spanish Inquisition-themed 'Nusploitation' movie. Savini was outspoken, opinionated, and hilarious, as usual. Savini was there to promote his not yet realized "Vampirates" project (then to have starred Adam Ant and Brinke Stevens).

George Romero and Andy LalinoIn the process of collecting various autographs, I managed to miss a demo by classic Make-Up Effects maestro John Caglione (we Italians love our horror!). The big event of the weekend was about to happen: an appearance by none other than George A. Romero, who discussed what he's been doing since "The Dark Half". Not a whole lot, apparently, insisting that he's been busy in development of miscellaneous projects that have never come to pass, such as "Earth Abounds". A few years later, he would go on to direct the wonderful "Bruiser", which did little to satisfy the fans who insist he direct a fourth installment of the "Dead" series. I can't help but agree. As a peace offering, or perhaps a cruel tease, he showed a Japanese promo for "Resident Evil 2", which featured a zombie attack!

John Russo and Andy LalinoAfter Romero's talk, I perused the dealer's table again, and was standing near a stairway, when I look behind me and see him walking right toward me! I yanked out my Elite "Night of the Living Dead" laserdisc, complete with Sharpie, and immediately asked him to autograph it, which he did graciously. Seconds later, a crowd began to congregate around the legend, which set off the Creation Entertainment goons (the organizers of the WOH) who were actually Star Trek geeks with delusions of grandeur. I'll never forget these panicky little kids whining: "You're not supposed to be out here, Mr. Romero! You have to be in the autograph room to sign merchandise!". King George ignored them so eloquently that it was a sight to behold.

That night, guest of honor Paul Naschy took the stage, which I had to miss due to long autograph lines. My only run-in with Naschy's films was back in 1986 when unbelievably there was a re-release of one of his "Hombre Lobo" werewolf films, this time re-titled as "The Craving", which myself and friend Tom Linkiewicz saw at a midnight showing in St. Petersburg. I consider myself very lucky to have been there & done that. A few months ago I popped in a VHS version of "Frankenstein vs. Dracula", a wonderfully horrible B-movie starring Michael Rennie (who had his voice entirely dubbed!) and Naschy as a werewolf (who battles a mummy). Unfortunately growing up, Naschy's films were not shown too much in this area, even on the venerable "Creature Feature".

Jan. 9th (Sunday)
Andy Lalino and Tony TimponeBy now, the cold that I caught from standing outside in the 40-degree weather was really kicking in, but I took lots of medicine and insisted that feeling sick would not ruin my final day at the WOH.

Tom Savini, Conrad Brooks, and Andy LalinoMost of this day I spent mingling with fans and attempting to get more autographs from celebrities. While on the dealer's floor I met the following: Tony Timpone, editor of Fangoria magazine, who I have had the pleasure of meeting several times since; Tom Savini, who signed a "Dawn of the Dead" reprint poster - for free!; John Russo and Bill Hinzman, Gaylen ('79 "Dawn of the Dead") Ross, Judith (NOTLD) O' Dea, and "Plan 9" star Conrad Brooks, who I would maintain a friendship with for years.

At the dealers' table I splurged on things like the "Cannibal Ferox" CD soundtrack (great, but horribly engineered) by Blackest Heart media, the Zombi soundtrack ("Dawn of the Dead"), and 2 Lucio Fulci soundtracks ("House by the Cemetery/"Manhattan Baby" and "Gates of Hell"/"The Beyond") and some novels by John Russo. Damn, I should have bought that "Last House on Dead End Street" one sheet!

Jan. 10th (Monday)
Headed home from the Newark airport. A couple of weeks after my return I was to find that somehow someone had stolen my calling card number while in the Newark airport and charged over $1,000 in long distance calls to South America!

Hope you enjoyed this little blast from the past (1998). I believe this marks the beginning of a re-interest in the horror genre, leading up to an exceptional genre year 2004. Let's keep it up!

Boy George's 'Taboo' - What's the Real Story?
Boy George's TabooPreface: In the following article you will see the name "Rosie O' Donnell" mentioned. Generally, it is against my policy to mention/acknowledge mainstream celebrities who, throughout their careers, have chosen to pander to the masses rather than maintain a resume rooted in 'coolness'. For example, you will not find a reference to "Julia Roberts" in Oddservations, rather you'll see John Carradine's, Jamie Lee Curtis', and Al Adamson's names mentioned frequently. I am making an exception in this case, due to the fact that Rosie O' Donnell is an integral part of the story and she may be turning over a new leaf in terms of being considered cool.

This week Boy George's autobiographic musical "Taboo" closed on Broadway, due to poor reviews and presumably low attendance. George's venture to stage plays follows the success of the Pet Shop Boys' "Closer to Heaven", which was apparently a smash on the London stage (side note: The Pet Shop Boys and Boy George collaborated on "The Crying Game" single in 1993, which I consider the best single of the '90s). After researching the situation of "Taboo" in the British online newspapers, the conclusion (not mine, theirs) was that Rosie O' Donnell, who produced and helped finance the project, bit off more than she could chew financially, sinking too many funds into the venture, when it should have began as a lower-budget, off-Broadway production to gain grass-roots support.

Others claimed that while Boy George's musical score was phenomenal, as usual, his acting ability just wasn't there. For the uninformed, "Taboo" relates the story of Boy George's life in the early 1980's. Curiously, Boy George does not play himself, but rather a performance artist Leigh Bowery. Boy George is played by Euan Morton in the play.

I can't help but wonder if "Taboo" would have been a less-maligned endeavor had Rosie O' Donnell's name not been associated with it. During the past few years she's gotten negative press due to the "Rosie" magazine lawsuit and her stand on gay issues. One can't help but think that negative publicity biased the critics who reviewed the play, thus causing its early demise. I find it hard to believe Boy George would be involved in a sub-standard project, especially with so many dollars on the line.

While I respect her backing of "Taboo" and enthusiasm for the project, I perceive 'Rosie' to be a mainstream darling of sorts, hosting that horrendous talk show and sponsoring a magazine that can be found at your local grocer. I can only hope Rosie will continue to f**k the mainstream and support ventures rooted in New Wave, which she may intend to do after various photos of her with Boy George and sporting A Flock of Seagulls 'owl' head style. Maybe someday she'll produce slasher flicks.

My hope is that "Taboo" will somehow resurface and make it's way to the Tampa Bay stage, and may the PSB's "Closer to Heaven" follow. "Taboo" closes Feb. 8th.

Joe Bob Briggs and the B-52's in South Central Florida

Hooray! Drive-in savior JOE BOB BRIGGS will be making a rare Florida appearance just south of us. The following is from Joe Bob's official website:

Friday, January 23, 2004
Joe Bob will screen "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" at 3 p.m. Jan. 23 at the John James Studio Theatre, Neel Performing Arts Center, at the Manatee Community College campus, 5840 26th St. W., Bradenton. After the screening, Briggs and Terry Porter, manager of Video Renaissance, will discuss the movie with the audience, and Briggs will sign copies of his book. Seating is limited to 100. Tickets: $10; $6 for students.

Briggs' appearance is made possible by the MCC Film Club, the Sarasota Film Festival and Video Renaissance of Sarasota.

He also will host "An Evening with Joe Bob," showing clips of films in the book, discussing the influence of B-movies on film and signing books at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23, Neel Performing Arts Center, 5840 26th St. W., Bradenton. Tickets: $10; $6 for students.

Advance tickets are available at Video Renaissance, 2243 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. Phone: 925-2780. Tickets go on sale Jan. 9 at the MCC box office, Neel Performing Arts Center, 5840 26th St. W., Bradenton. Information: 752-5252.

For more information, checkout their site at http://www.mccfl.edu.

Saturday, January 24, 2004
Joe Bob will be appearing at the Sarasota Film Festival in Sarasota, FL. For more information, checkout http://www.sarasotafilmfestival.com.

In addition, if you're planning on going to the Sarasota Film Festival, the B-52's are set to perform: The B-52's Saturday, Jan. 24th, 2004 Circus Sarasota Big Top at Sarasota City Fairgrounds

For more info: http://sarasotafilmfest.com/2004/fest/eventtickets.cfm

"Oddservations" is ©2004 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. The photographs from FANGORIA's Weekend of Horrors, 1998, are from the personal collection of Andy Lalino. All other graphics, unless otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.