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Now in our sixth calendar year
PCR #258  (Vol. 6, No. 9)  This edition is for the week of February 28--March 6, 2005.

A Case of Microwave Mayhem or Misinformation in Northwest Florida? Part 2 of 2  by William Moriaty
"Be Cool"
 by Mike Smith
MegaCon '05: Brief Encounters, Missed Lunches, and Loads of Fun!
 by Andy Lalino
MegaCon and Beyond....Oscars Still Doesn't Have a Sense of Humor...."Gay" a Naughty Word in the NFL?....The Crazed Fanboy is Pronounced as Cool
 by Brandon Jones
Movies: Million Dollar Baby vs The Aviator vs Hell's Angels....Comics: The Utimate Iron Man....The Seventh Shrine
 by John Lewis
The Oscars....Mega Conned Again....Latest Kong DVD News
 by Matt Drinnenberg
I Didn't catch The Name....Captured....Oscar Notes....Yo Adrian, You're Dead....Am I Blue?....Movie Notes....Jaws: The Story, Part 8
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
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Andy Lalino
Oddservations by Andy Lalino

MegaCon '05: Brief Encounters, Missed Lunches, and Loads of Fun!
The tail end of February '05 ushered in my very first visit to Orlando's MegaCon sci-fi/horror/fantasy/animae/comics/gaming convention. Typically, I would have attended such a function as a fanboy, but this time I had product to sell, namely DVD copies of my short horror film "Filthy". This would be both a blessing and curse, in that manning a booth would obviously limit my activities, such as joining the Crazed Fanboy all-stars for the traditional lunch held at Uno's (formerly held at Darryl's Restaurant). Unfortunately, I'd have to take a rain check for next year.

I was pleased to have shared the MegaCon booth with four other talented Florida filmmakers: Greg Rivera of Relic Films, Jason Liquori of Hocus Focus Productions, Chris Woods and Simon Lynx of Icon Film Studios, and Rick Danford of Enigma Films, who was unable to attend due to work commitments. Each of us were enthusiastic to tell fans about our projects, and were occasionally represented by various actors and actresses from our productions that helped with fan relations.

MegaCon 2005 included a great list of celebrities, who were mostly from my era TV/movies (late '70s/early '80s): Lou Ferrigno ("The Hulk"); Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, Felix Silla, Thom Christopher ("Buck Rogers"); Sam Jones and Melody Anderson ("Flash Gordon" '80), Richard Hatch from "Battlestar: Galactica", familiar character actor Richard Herd, and Michael Bailey Smith ("Blood Shot", "NOES III: The Dream Warriors").

It was great to see that many Crazed Fanboys, both young and old, still appreciate the great TV shows of the time. Shazam!

Friday 2/25/05
After preparing for my MegaCon experience the day before, I headed out on a dreary Friday morning, expecting to get tangled in wet-street traffic. Thankfully, that didn't happen (against all odds). I arrived at my hotel room at approx. 10:30am, and was able to check in immediately, another big time-saver. I made it over to the Orlando Convention Center at approx. 11am, where I greeted Greg Rivera, who was already set up. We caught up on a few things as Greg helped me get my section together. Greg lives in Sarasota, and getting the chance to see him is a treat, so we both made sure we spent some quality time together.

To my surprise, the doors opened at 12 noon, which was not the time I expected; I thought I had read the start time was 1pm. Luckily, I was able to set everything up by then, and Greg and I were ready for the Friday crowd. Soon after the doors opened, the Icon Boys arrived and set up shop. Chris and Simon were selling DVD's of their film compilations, which included the award-winning "Bleed", "Chameleon" (which played at the Halloween Horror Picture Show 2004), and their newest short film "Sever". Simon had recently relocated to Jacksonville, but came down to help Chris at the booth. I see Chris more regularly than Greg, but we still had a great time catching up on what each of us were doing.

Soon after Chris and Simon set up, Jason Liquori arrived, accompanied by popular indie horror actress Debbie Rochon, who stars in Jason's latest DVD release "The Lunar Pack" which is being distributed by Brain Damage Films. Jason informed us that the release date should be sometime in the fall or winter of 2005, maybe early '06. Jason was representing Brain Damage's DVD catalog, which includes indie horror films starring Scream Queens Tiffany Shepis, Debbie Rochon, and others. Debbie was promoting her large catalog of films, including "Bleed" (not to be confused with Icon's "Bleed"), "Tromeo and Juliet", and Troma's "Terror Firmer". She was also autographing photos for the fans and promoting a fantastic 2005 "Women of Independent Film" calendar published by the Pretty Scary website, on which she is a cover girl. I can tell you first hand that Ms. Rochon is every bit as lovely in person as she is on screen, and she was a complete delight to have as part of our booth for the weekend. I hope we all made as much of an impression on her.

Another treat was the lucky coincidence of being neighbors with the Troma booth, who were directly behind us. Getting the opportunity to see and talk with legendary filmmaker Lloyd Kaufman was an unbelievable treat, which all of us ate up. I chatted with Lloyd about how much I enjoyed the Troma teenage sex comedies of the early '80s ("Squeeze Play", "The First Turn-On", "Stuck on You", all of which Kaufman directed), and he informed me that they were all recently released on DVD under the Troma label - with commentary tracks! I had to get them! I have all of those films as old VHS editions, and it will be a real treat to see new, cleaned-up, remastered editions of these Troma classics.

Early on Friday, the familiar faces started to emerge, the first being Hiker Blu, head of our local Indie [film] Club and proprietor of the Museum of Motion Picture History in Tampa. Hiker is also the father of XZanthia, a Tampa Bay-based actress/filmmaker. Later on, "Filthy" make-up artist extraordinaire Brian Angeloff - who's slowly morphing into Rob Zombie - arrived. Gone was Brian's signature beret, instead sporting long locks that any metalhead would admire. It's funny; most people don't recognize Brian without his beret! Brian hung out at the "Filthy" booth throughout most of the day, and signed a few autographs. Later on in the evening, I joined my friend and fellow "Filthy" special effects make-up artist Joy Patricoski for what seemed like a deliciously never-ending dinner! Thanks again for that buffet bonanza, guys!

Another Friday treat was having "Filthy" play as part of MegaCon's Indie Film Showcase, presented by Terry Cronin! and 3 Boys Productions out of Melbourne, Florida. Terry/3 Boys are the organizers of the Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival, and did an equally fantastic job on presenting short indie sci-fi, horror, and animated films to an enthusiastic audience, of which rising star horror authors Jeff Strand and Lynne Hansen were in attendance (this was Jeff's third big screen viewing of "Filthy" - he can't take it anymore!!!). Other featured films at the festival included "Black Gulch", the cell animated "How to Cope with Death", John Bailey's "Shadow Kill", Katharine Leis' short shocker "Run", Brian (creator of "Lady Death") Pulido's "There's Something Out There", Pat (3 Boys Productions) Martin's "Milk Maids", and "Blood Shot" which stars Michael Bailey Smith. Other festival treats included a preview reel of upcoming films by Mike Broder's Small Planet Pictures and a "How to Make Your Own Damn Movie" with Lloyd Kaufman.

Saturday (2/26/05)
Saturday was the event's busiest day, and it was then that the most familiar faces arrived. Right out of the gate came came the venerable Ed Tucker, who I had seen for the second time in my life. Being that Ed lives in Jacksonville and I in Clearwater, it's always a treat to see this Fanboy brother. We didn't chat long, being that Ed had a good opportunity to make the rounds in the dealer's room before the big crowds formed. He checked in later on the day. What I was really looking forward to was his first-time ever meeting with fellow Bearerhead Lonnie Dohlen.

Orlando actor Chris Brooks, who played "Leonard" in "Filthy", stopped by to say hi. His girlfriend Wendi was working at MegaCon in the gaming area. I told Chris that many of his friends stopped by to check out the "Filthy" booth, to check out the DVD (Chris' nickname is "Crispy").

At approx. 10:30am, I spotted an orange-clad Brandon Jones wandering the aisles. Upon further inspection, I noticed he was wearing a "Beaker" shirt from "The Muppet Show". How cool is that? Brandon had told me that Nolan and the gang was here, and should be stopping by soon.

Sure enough, the great one (that'd be you, Nole!) arrived, accompanied by Lonnie and occasional PCR columnist Josh Montgomery. We greeted each other cheerfully, and I got scolded for the umpteenth time for missing the traditional MegaCon lunch, of which an apology followed. I was to be part of an independent filmmaker's panel at 12:45pm, and could not make it. Everyone seemed to understand, and I promised that next year, or perhaps at this year's NolanCon, I would make it up to them.

While the Crazed Fanboy crowd conversed, we were joined by the attractive Lisa Zubek and Drew Reiber, both whom I met for the very first time! You may recall my back-and-forth message board correspondence with Drew concerning the career of George A. Romero before the Crazed Fanboy message boards went down last year. Drew was incredibly nice, and I wished I had more time to hang out with him and talk some Romero (who I believe is his favorite filmmaker). Oh, and yes, Lisa, I did think your daughter was actually your sister!

I did manage to catch a glimpse of the first-time meeting of Ed and Lonnie, both Dr. Paul Bearer superfans, and was later told by Nolan that they got along swimmingly, which was great! Nole then informed me that the gang was off to have lunch at Uno's, since Darrell's was no more. Perhaps Uno's would now become the location of choice for future O-Town conventions.

In-between Nolan sightings were a cavalcade of old and new friends who stopped by the booth to say hi on Saturday: local filmmaker Noeland Collins, actor/filmmaker Damian Beurer and his friend Charles Andrews. Talented special make-up effects artist Chris Polidoro came by to say hi to us, recently off a job doing effects on the indie horror film "Dead Meat" which features porn star Ron Jeremy. Pete Mongelli of Spooky Empire, the company that organizes the great Screamfest horror conventions in Ft. Lauderdale, dropped by the booth to let us know that Screamfest 2005 will be bigger and better than ever!

After the show I went back to my room, and for all things to be on that night on cable, was "Trekkies" and "Trekkies 2"!!! There's no escape from the convention Fanboys!!! AAAUUUUGGGGHHHH!

Sunday (2/27/05)
A wet, chilly Sunday morning was also the most successful for our booth. Chris and Simon unfortunately had to leave a day early to give Simon time to get back home. Sunday was exciting because many of the actresses who appeared in our respective films arrived for the convention, and had the opportunity to meet and greet the fans: the lovely Krista Grotte from "Filthy", Hollie Winnard from Jason Liquori's upcoming "The Lunar Pack 2", and Nichole Peterson of Greg Rivera's marvelous, award-winning "The Uninvited: Amanda".

Chris Brooks and Wendi stopped by the "Filthy" table again, and signed a few autographs along with Krista. I was also introduced to Hawk Younkins, a personable and enthusiastic actor here in Florida for a stint filming a new short film (a dark comedy).

I was also able to spend more time with Terry Cronin!, Pat Martin, and Katharine Leis over at the 3 Boys Productions booth, where they were promoting his popular horror comic "Students of the Unusual" and their DVD release "Ghost Hunters of the Space Coast". It was good to see Katharine again - it's bee a while since I've seen this busy actress/filmmaker. Tampa actress/filmmaker, the larger-than-life XZanthia (who walked around on stilts), was also signing autographs and promoting her work at the booth, so I took a moment to say hi.

Incidentally, I will be contributing a story to an upcoming issue of the Students of the Unusual comic series. Stay tuned for details of this exciting project.

Another great reunion was with Central Florida horror filmmaker Stephen Shea, who recently co-produced the aforementioned "Dead Meat" with Ron Jeremy. I had first met Stephen years ago at the Saints & Sinners film festivals, and he sounds like he has a very busy film schedule for the year. Shea is a founder of Abyssmal Entertainment, who released "The Night Owl" last year.

If there's anyone who stopped by I forgot to mention - my apologies!

When the convention closed, Jason, Greg, Debbie, and I gathered our stuff together on a dark, windy Orlando night and said our goodbyes. We are already entertaining thoughts of going to Chiller, Screamfest 2005. Thanks to everyone mentioned (and not mentioned!) for a fantastic weekend of fandom. A special thanks to MegaCon organizer Beth Widera for all the assistance in getting us secured for the big show.

Please check out the links to many of the movies/people listed in the column:

"Filthy" - The Official Website:

Relic Films / Greg Rivera ("The Uninvited: Amanda"):

Hocus Focus Productions / Jason Liquori ("The Lunar Pack"):

Icon Film Studios / Chris Woods & Simon Lynx ("Bleed", "Sever")
Pictures from MegaCon '05:

Enigma Films / Rick Danford ("The Nightmare Collection" / "The Reaper")

Debbie Rochon - Actress, Scream Queen ("The Lunar Pack", "Play-Mate of the Apes")

Krista Grotte - Actress ("Filthy", "Demonlition Derby" trailer)

Chris Brooks - Actor ("Filthy"):

3 Boys Productions, M.I.F.F. & Students of the Unusual (comic) / Terry Cronin! & Pat Martin:

Hollie Winnard - Actress ("The Lunar Pack 2"):

Katharine Leis: Actress / Filmmaker:

Troma Films / Lloyd Kaufman:

Jeff Strand - Horror/Comedy author:

Lynne Hansen - Young Adult Horror Author:

Abyssmal Entertainment / Stephen Shea:

"Dead Meat" - New Indie Horror Film:

Brain Damage Films ("The Lunar Pack"):

Brian Pulido / "There's Something Out There":

John Bailey / "Shadow Kill":

XZanthia - Actress/Filmmaker

Museum of Motion Picture History / Hiker Blu:

Screamfest 2005 Horror Convention:

"Oddservations" is ©2005 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.