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"Good Night and Good Luck"
 by Mike Smith

The Halloween Horror Picture Show '05...Game Show Cool
 by Vinnie Blesi

All Hallows Eve! A Brief History of our Favorite Holiday
by Dylan Jones

That Boy's Good--Good and Terrible .... Rockin' Doctor Noah Drake .... Commercials .... It's All White in the NBA .... Movie Notes....Passing On....Jaws: The Story, Part 38
by Mike Smith

Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2005!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our sixth calendar year!
Number 291  (Vol. 6, No. 42). This edition is for the week of October 17--23, 2005.

Wilma Biggest of All

  • The Final Coffeehouse Film Review
  • The Halloween Horror Picture Show '05
    • Nolan's Quotes
  • To long-time PCR readers: Do the colors here seem a little off to you? To first-time PCR readers: This is not how we normally look! Welcome one and all to the first part of what has become a traditional two-week Halloween edition of Nolan's Pop Culture Review. While our stories will cover our usual topics, the homepage itself is playing a bit of dress-up!

    Hurricane Wilma, as of this writing (Fri. 21st), has just decimated Cancun, Mexico and will soon be heading towards Florida. It is the most powerful hurricane ever to come out of the Atlantic basin. It was (and may be again) a Category 5 storm, which we've had before, but not with such a low barometric pressure at its core. So tightly wound around its core is this storm that, in the beginning, the 175+ sustained winds extended only 15 miles out from the eye. Now it's closer to 100 miles. The projected path (again, as of this writing) takes it on a west to east trajectory across Southern Florida by Tuesday (the 25th).

    Wilma is historic on several levels. She has the lowest barometric pressure of any storm recorded in the past 150 years (in other words, since records were kept) at 882 millibars. She is the 21st name storm of this season, tying the all-time record set back in 1933. She is the 12th storm to reach hurricane status in a single season, tying the all-time record set back in 1969.

    The next storm (if any) will not only break these two records (especially if it develops into a hurricane), but will have to be named after a letter in the Greek alphabet because we're out of regular names! We start with "Hurricane Alpha". Without trivilaizing the matter, I suggest we continue naming them after cartoon characters, for example, Hurricane Daffy (hey, "Wilma" is Fred Flintstone's wife!).

    Seriously, Floridians must take this storm very seriously since it's expected to hit us. The good news: since the Gulf waters are cooler at the latitude near the Everglades, some category downgrading is likely. Additionally, subtle changes in the projected path could make it miss Florida entirely. The bad news: that isn't likely.

    Coffeehouse Film Review for October (Final Edition)
    Well, this was pretty sad on several levels. First, my traveling companion, Chris Woods, and I arrived over a half and hour late. Then, when we arrived, we saw the Coffeehouse half-gutted of its interior as Walter had been moving stuff out. The movie screen was up front by the door as was the "PA system" (actually a guitar amp from a band's set-up). Apparently, the Guzzo Bros had been wrestlng with bad sound up to that point anyway, and I don't think anything had been exhibited before we arrived. Theoretically, the program should've started with the Guzzo's Life is a Circus and The Karaoke Kid. I've seen "Circus" (and gave it a positive review it in a past PCR), but don't think I've ever seen "Karaoke". From the look on Pete Guzzo's face, the night was a complete washout, at least so far.

    An attempt was made to play Jon Wolding's The Libertines (which was also scheduled for The Halloween Horror Picture Show). Unfortunately, a defective disc prevented the movie from playing all the way through successfully. Up to the point it failed, though, it was pretty good! Unfortunately, the hell-pit changed my work schedule and I couldn't stay late enough to see the second attempt.

    Chris brought a disc with extended clips from his movie POP, starring Amanda Beck (who also starred in Bleed). A young girl is such an obsessive fan of a rock star that she alienates the very friends she's hoping to make in a new town. She wins a contest to meet the pop star, but runaway emotions and jealous friends result in a dark conspiracy. The first clip of POP played with no problems, but the second clip choked in the DVD player like the others did (gotta get a new player, Pete!). That second clip was basically the foundation of the trailer for POP I ran on this website last year and was looking forward to seeing it again. But the first clip I'd never seen before and thought it was very cool---kind of like seeing "lost footage" or something.

    Which brings us to the two Sondra Overholser movies, Till Death Do Us Part and You Can't See Me.

    Till Death Do Us Part I'd seen before at a Saints & Sinners Film Fest, and gave it a middlin' review at the time because of what I saw as significant audio and video problems. This viewing went down a lot better and I've grown to appreciate Overholser's work a lot more now than I did initially. A wheelchair-bound woman confides in her husband and a close male friend her intentions for suicide. Unable to change her mind, machinations are put into effect by her loved ones to make sure her exit from this world is a painless one. Unfortunately, a duplicious plot turns the tables on one of our players.

    You Can't See Mee is a very creepy effort, as a woman deals with the ghost of her deceased husband (boyfriend? lover?), a blind man who had suffered a fatal accident. But was it a set-up? Could the woman have prevented it? The ghost continues to haunt her with these possibilities until she's at the edge of a nervous breakdown. Then the ghost gets his ultimate revenge by, shall we say, equalizing their disabilities.

    Chris and I had to leave after the Overholser flicks and I missed the second showing of "Libertines" and whatever else was left of the program.

    As for the future of the TOO Productions Coffeehouse Film Review Series? The following arrived from Paul Guzzo earlier this week:

    As many of you know, Studio 1515 in Ybor City, our location for the Film Review for the past 22 months, has shut down, leaving us without a location. We have about half a dozen businesses willing to provide us with a new home and few more who wants to meet with us to discuss housing our monthly event. My brother and I do not want to commit to any one business without researching the pros and cons of each. We do not want to make a rash decision and end up hosting the event in an unsuitable envirornment. This will take at least another week or two to decide, SO, we are going to CANCEL next month's CFR in November so we can take our time in deciding and will return in December if everything works out. I MUST STRESS THIS ... We are not cancelling the event for good. We will be back with a new location very soon! You have our word on it! Thank you everyone for all the support over the past 22 months and we look forward to seeing everyone again in December.
    Paul Guzzo

    So.....there you have it!

    The Halloween Horror Picture Show 2005
    Pictures will open in a new browser window. Exit to return here.
    Among the first friendly faces I see at the Fest: Jason Liquori (left) and Chris Woods (right)
    Lonnie Dohlen (left) is attracted elsewhere as Vinnie (pink mask), yours truly, and Chris Passinault (ex. right) discuss our situation.
    Even after over 20 years in filmmaking, Brinke Stevens is still a knockout and a really nice person.
    A better view of Brinke's table as she displays her convention wares. We chatted about early Fangoria Cons and the state of indie horror.
    Greg Lamberson, author and filmmaker, signing copies of his book Personal Demons.
    Event organizer Rick Danford, right, surveys the situation as Greg Rivera heads back to the tables.
    A photo-op moment with (l-to-r) Chris Woods, Nichole Peterson, yours truly, and Greg Rivera.
    Have the dead come back to life? No, that's an amazing Sam Kinison impersonator on the left with our own Vinnie Blesi.
    Pictures will open in a new browser window. Exit to return here.
    I cannot begin to tell you how generous and sweet Debbie Rochon has been to this crazed fanboy. We reminisced about the whole NolanCon affair and she even apologized for not making my birthday party! Hugs and kisses, kiddo.
    Another of the beautiful sirens invited to the late lamented NolanCon, I was awestruck at how lovely Denise Duff is in person. She recognized my name ("Oh, you're the Nolan!") and we had a short discussion of her work with filmmaker Jose Prendes.
    I confess I'm not as up-to-date on the work of Amy Lynn Best as I should be, but I was very inspired by this dark young beauty to change that situation!
    The star of "Katie Bird: Certifiable Crazy Person", Taylor Dooley stops for a chat with an admiring fan: me.
    Vinnie Blesi, left, joins Taylor and me in a discussion of "Katie Bird".
    The very strange dance/art piece, "Dead Dolls: A Zombie Fashion Show" was performed before the Short Films exhibition began
    The view of the zombie show from the first row.
    All the zombies came out to take a bow at the end of "Dead Dolls".
    I wasn't sure what to anticipate from this year's HHPS, the third such event from promoter Rick Danford. The first two years had mixed results due mostly to obscure or out-of-the-way locations even if the programs themselves were pretty solid. This year's event turned out to be very similar: a great program with the a great guest list and better promotion, but a disappointingly low turn-out. Why? I'll get into that a bit later.

    Upon arriving, my traveling companion (PCR's Couch Potato, Vinnie Blesi) and I experienced, shall we say, problems with the guest list, until a call to Rick Danford straightened out the situation (thanks, Rick!). Upon entering, the first two people I spotted inside were Creature Feature historian and archivist Lonnie Dohlen and ICON Film Studio's head honcho Chris Woods. Sitting next to Chris was Unearthed Films head Steve Biro, who seemed a lot more accessible than I remember him being at the Coffeehouse a couple months back. Very soon after that, Chris Passinault (Passinault Entertainent) met up with us, glad of the fact his newest meeting with Rick Danford was a positive experience. When Jason Liquori of Hocus Focus Productions finally got off his cellphone (ha ha) we had a nice reunion and he gave me a copy of Death Plots, his latest anthology series on DVD (thanks, Jason!). Near Jason was Relic Film's Greg Rivera who is always nice to see, but we didn't get much time to talk.

    Moving over to the dealers tables, some very lovely sirens of cinema were encouragingly accessible since the lobby was not very crowded. Debbie Rochon, Brinke Stevens, Denise Duff and Amber Lynn Best were gracious and very friendly. A pleasure to meet with them.

    Greg Lamberson, a noted author ("Personal Demons") and filmmaker (Slime City), was at the table as well, discussing his work with fans.

    I did have an all-too-short encounter with local horror author Jeff Strand, but after the briefest of chats, we got separated and I never saw him again.

    Off in the corner of the lobby was a man who looked eerily like deceased comedian Sam Kinison. Vinnie will tell you more about him in this week's Couch Potato.

    My work schedule has changed severely lately and I can't stay at these type events all day and all night like I used to, but I took in as much as I could.

    Web of Darkness. Ahhh...the movie that stays in Purgatory. The tortured road this flick has taken over the years could fill a book. Written and directed by Rick Danford and starring Tom Savini, I saw this for the first time at Saints & Sinners III, back in May of 2003 and gave it a middlin' review. The story had potential, but the screenplay was all over the map, way too wordy, and the editing/pacing was choppy/weird to say the least. Supposedly re-edited for HHPS '05, it was the first film shown. Unfortunately, I was meeting and greeting during 90% of the showing, but Vinnie, Lonnie, and I did manage to see the last 20-25 minutes or so of it. I can't really judge by that small amount, but I will say what I did see looked about the same as 2003's version (except for way better music). Out in the lobby, I met Darkness's current editor who told me he didn't change all that much of the movie.

    Katie Bird: Certifiable Crazy Person. One of only two movies I saw in entirety. This is a very sick entry with Taylor Dooley starring as Katie Bird, a seriously disturbed woman, who, during sex with a stranger, recounts (via flashbacks) her early days as a backwoods teenager, learning the ropes of serial killing and torture from her quiet-but-equally-seriously disturbed father. While I love the story and the performances are all really strong, the editor needs to get off the Sin City/Incredible Hulk marathon of panel-within-panels and picture-within-picture tricks that are extremely distracting. Further, the whole movie could lose about 20 minutes of overlong exposition, pregnant pauses, and overworked scenes. That said, the make-up effects are terrific, the music's good, and the disturbing themes will stick with you for a long time.

    The Silvergleam Whistle. This was my favorite and it was the shortest. A mom and her two kids stop at an eerie motel for the night. The nutty middle-aged woman manager recounts the story of how that very night some years ago, her son, a train enginner, was killed when the train derailed during a lightning storm and he was electrocuted. After mom puts the excited kids to bed, a ghostly train whistle is heard in the night. The young boy is snatched from bed, and mom and little sister must find him. This film has a really classic look to it and even though it is basically a glorified Night Gallery or Amazing Stories episode, I really enjoyed it.

    After Katie Bird there was a short recess, and before the shorts played (like Silvergleam), we returned to the theater and were treated to Dead Dolls: The Zombie Fashion Show designed by local artist Orianna Kurrus. This was a strange but oddly compelling bit of live dance/performance art that had the audience both entertained and freaked out (ha ha). See the photos for an idea of what we saw.

    Vinnie, Lonnie and I left about 5:00pm. Up to that point, the much-publicized Ron Jeremy had not shown, nor had local scream queens Krista Grotte or Hollie Winnard. Later reports verified Jeremy was a total no-show, Krista Grotte did arrive much later on, but I have no information on Hollie Winnard.

    So...why the disappointingly low turn-out despite the great guests, improved promotion, and solid movie line-up? A few possibilites:

    1. ScreamFest in Ft. Lauderdale. During the month of October it's going to be very hard to organize anything that isn't scheduled directly across from another Halloween-themed event. Last year the HHPS was directly across from Guavaween (one of two Mardi Gras-esque events in Tampa). ScreamFest is arguably the horror fan's mecca in Florida.

    2. Being located at a USF meeting hall. True, The Marshall Center is way bigger and better suited for this than last year's tiny cubbyhole, but USF is just not where people want to drive and get lost in.

    3. Discussing this later with Chris, the possibility arose that while the promotion for HHPS was improved from last year's outing, it was still not necessarily adequate. Television commercials, newspaper ads and a more effective flyer campaign might've helped---but all these cost money, something in short supply (and with which I can identify).

    I don't know what the answer is, but I'd hate to see the HHPS go the way of Saints & Sinners due to lack of support. For more information on this year's show, including a rundown of the complete movie list, please visit their website at www.halloweenhorrorpictureshow.com

    Once again I made the papers! OK, it's not all that much, but I did get a quote published in the St. Pete Times (Friday, October 21st edition, "Neighborhood" section) on the closing of the historic Romeo Coffeehouse in Ybor City. Read the online version here!

    Please consider making a donation to help support Crazed Fanboy! Click on the "donate" link below and give whatever you can. I sincerely thank you for any and all consideration.---Nolan
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    "Mike's Rant" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2005 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "La Floridiana" is ©2005 by William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith    "The Audio Philes" is ©2005 by Terence Nuzum    "Creature's Corner" is ©2005 by John Lewis    "Couch Potato Confessions" is ©2005 by Vinnie Blesi    "Oddservations" is ©2005 by Andy Lalino      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova    
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