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Now in our seventh calendar year!
PCR #345  (Vol. 7, No. 44) This edition is for the week of October 30--November 5, 2006.

BORAT: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan  by Mike Smith
Indie Film Review:
"Blood Descendants" by Mike Smith
Horror-Mania: Three Big Events  by Andy Lalino
Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!  by Drew Reiber
Hey Everyone, Let's Put On A Show....Music That Rocks (And Rolls)...Land Shark Ho!...Where In The Hell Was She Staying?...Get Well Soon....Back In The '70s....Coming Soon....Passing On....My Favorite Films, Part 44: "Annie Hall"  by Mike Smith
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Andy Lalino
Oddservations by Andy Lalino

Horror-Mania: 3 Big Events

This year, there are more horror events than you can swing a Ymir’s tail at! Not to mention a dungeon full of surprising TV offerings, including: The Fangoria 2006 Chainsaw Awards, Spike TV’s Scream Awards, AMC’s annual Monsterfest, TCM Underground with Rob Zombie, and Halloween programming on Bravo and Encore.

Oh, yeah, I guess the Sci-Fi Channel’s going to play “Boa vs. Python” in celebration. Assholes.

Charles Band’s Full Moon Horror Road Show (Clearwater)
The festivities kicked off actually on September 29th, when B-movie mogul Charles Band brought his traveling horror road show to a surprising stop in Clearwater. We arrived a few minutes early and noticed a healthy line to get in. Not surprisingly, we encountered a legion of recognizable faces, including PCR regulars John and Ashley Lewis, Rick Danford and Stephen Biro.

My interest in Band’s work goes way back to the glorious late ‘70s, when sci-fi/horror films such as “Tourist Trap” and “Laserblast” helped scar me for life. Band is mostly known for horror films featuring Lilliputian figures, such as The Puppetmaster series, “Ghoulies”, and most recently, “The Gingerdead Man”.

Being that this was the first “horror road show” I’ve ever attended, I didn’t know quite what to expect. The atmosphere was certainly there in all its Gothiness at the Majestic Club in downtown Clearwater. Honestly, it’s one of the best-looking alternative clubs in the Tampa Bay area. Upon walking in, friend Andrew Allan and I encountered a display case full of classic creatures from Band’s franchise of fright films.

Beyond the Dolls, a glorious guillotine was awaiting a female victim near the stage. Beside the stage was a dealer’s table full of Full Moon merchandise, which was selling like hotcakes. I mean, I saw horror fans walking around with printer boxes full of DVD’s. It was like a mini-con! I was taken aback at how many out-of-area fans were in attendance. Some mentioned they drove all the way from Naples and Melbourne to attend!

There was a reasonable admission price, and for the money Band appeared on stage and gave fans a few treats. He seemed to spend a lot of time telling stories (a particularly long one about “Gingerdead Man” star Gary Busey), then moved on to a well-produced Full Moon clips reel. The live highlights of the night were an on-the-cheap horror stage show, in which Band asked for (toasted) volunteers (mainly a trio of hotties) to act out a lesbian-tinged monster attack scene. It wasn’t too difficult to convince the girls to play it up and take it off (at least one did). After the titillation came a decapitation, with yet another sultry blonde in peril in the name of Full Moon.

Later in the evening, we got the opportunity to meet Band in person, and he signed my “Laserblast” laserdisc! I have to say the whole evening was an original, incredible horror experience that was truly out of the ordinary. I was pleased at the fan turnout, and thought how good it was to get a real taste of old-fashioned showmanship for a new era.

Aside from the thrill of being immersed in the light of the Full Moon, an incredible moment came before the show when I chatted with Mr. Lewis. I’ll never forget him pointing at the Majestic’s marquee, and saying to me, “Andy, it was here in the early 1970’s when I saw ‘The Vampire Lovers’ back when it was a movie theater.” I tell you, I got chills. To have been standing in a place where I once knew played a Hammer horror film in that great decade was awe-inspiring. Thanks for the memories, John.

Screamfest (Orlando)
Not much to add after Ed Tucker’s excellent man-at-the-con report. Andrew Allan and I arrived around noon, and we immediately ran into DPB uber-fans Ed Tucker and Lonnie Dohlen. Being that we recently arrived, we were not able to do lunch with Ed/Lonnie this time around. I felt bad in that I’ve had to bow out of lunches with Ed at past conventions! I’ll have to make it up to him by treating him next time.

We entered the sizable dealer’s room, which is where we ran into horror superfan Mike Wilbur, who flew in from Arizona to attend (actually, he’s from Tampa, and it was a good excuse to see his family). Mike’s a vet at these kind of cons, and quickly offered up both good advice and a practical assessment of the con’s organizational layout.

Our first order of business was to investigate the dealer tables. It was just as Ed wrote – there was no shortage of bootleggers. Sure, there were some cool toys there, but the prices for everything seemed a bit high. I walked out with an Elvira Movie Macabre double-feature DVD and a Klaus Nomi CD.

We ran into a ton of other horror players: Abyssmal Entertainment’s Stephen Shea, who was promoting his new film “Hoodoo for Voodoo”, Jason Liquori, Terry Cronin and Pat Martin from the Melbourne Independent Filmmaker’s Festival (M.I.F.F.)/3 Boys Productions/Students of the Unusual comic book, Stephen Biro of Unearthed Films, Chris Woods + Simon Lynx, horror authors Jeff Strand and Lynne Hansen, “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds” host Sean Clark, and others. The only friend I regrettably missed was Relic Films’ Greg Rivera – and I was standing in front of his booth for over an hour! Don’t know how we managed to miss each other, but I hope to catch up with him at the next event.

Quick reminder: 3 Boys Productions’ big cinematic event M.I.F.F. (see above) is coming up soon: November 9th, 10th and 11th in Melbourne, FL. It’s one of the best film festivals you’ll ever attend, and there’s even the annual horror night scheduled on Friday the 10th. I encourage all film and horror fans to attend.

The celebrity list was pretty good; despite all the horror celebs, I was most excited at meeting Go-Go Jane Wiedlin, who was a delight to chat with. I actually forgot her autograph at her stand, and about 20 minutes later she was nice enough to come and deliver it to me! Jane rules. The other celeb I really wanted to meet was “Bad Dreams” starlet Jennifer Rubin, though I would have to relegate meeting her at the next con due to time restrictions.

All-in-all I’d say Screamfest was worth the visit. Had I an additional day to spend, I think I would have been able to enjoy it more, instead of having to cram all the day’s duties into a few hours. I sadly missed many of the indie horror film screenings and celeb speaking engagements.

Andrew and I left at about 6pm, and made it back to Tampa Bay a few hours later, and made preparations to attend the HHPS the following day.

Halloween Horror Picture Show 2006 (Tampa’s Ybor City)
Fresh off Screamfest, Andrew and I were off the next day to attend Rick Danford’s always-impressive production: The Halloween Horror Picture Show. This year’s lineup of films were excellent, but the event has yet to capture the mojo of Danford’s previous success, the great Saints & Sinners film festival.

Despite the absence of heavy-hitter sponsors, Rick has never failed to deliver to fans great horror films (both shorts and features), quality (if not a quantity of) celebs, and an interesting locale.

I won’t get into details, as Nolan provided excellent coverage in a previous edition of PCR. We did not get to see as many horror films as we wanted (I caught the last minute of Rolfe’ Kanefsky’s “The Nightmare Man” starring sexy Tiffany Shepis), but we did manage to mingle quite a bit, including a lengthy chat with the horror webmaster himself Nolan Canova and actor Gus Perez. Nolan looked much healthier than I anticipated (heard he was suffering from the flu at the time, and has since had a relapse). We also spent time conversing with horror starlet Tiffany Shepis, and later on P.J. Soles of “Halloween’ and “Rock & Roll High School” fame, who arrived later in the evening.

P.J. was at the event in promotion of her new film “Death by Engagement”, as was its charming and enthusiastic producer, Pennie Orcutt. P.J. and Pennie make a dynamite team in promoting their horror features, and got many in the crowd fired up at seeing their new neo-slasher. For fans, another opportunity to view “Death by Engagement” is coming in early November, at M.I.F.F. (see above). Pennie Orcutt is scheduled to be in attendance, so make sure you go out to support the film and to say hi to Pennie!

There were a few other familiar faces in the crowd, including documentary filmmaker John Casimiro, there doing interviews for his popular cable access show, Greg Lamberson (“Slime City”), Stephen Biro, and others. A big mention to very talented horror authors Jeff Strand and Lynne Hansen who have not only never missed a HHPS, but have seen nearly every film in the schedule! Rick, is there a special medal you can pin into (*ouch!* - I mean “onto”) them? I’m calling Ripley’s!

Andrew and I had to leave relatively early, but before leaving we got to see popular horror actress Krista Grotte (“Filthy”, “The Nightmare Collection”) who was there as a special guest in promotion of her status as an up-and-coming horror star. I hadn’t seen Krista in quite a while, and it was fun to catch up.

So, by the end of mid-October, I’d say it’s been a fun and busy Halloween season so far. I’m wrapping up the month’s festivities with no less than two Halloween events/parties this weekend. I hope to make it out to various haunted houses in the bay area for at least one night before Halloween. I love going out and seeing what people do with their local haunted houses. And let’s not forget the great horror programming on the boob tube this year. TCM gets the award (stealing it from IFC and AMC in previous years), largely due to their impressive TCM Underground series, hosted by Rob Zombie. Tonight’s offering is Romero’s ’68 classic “Night of the Living Dead” followed by his ’73 shocker “The Crazies”, which is the only time I can remember this film ever airing on cable TV. Bravo, TCM! Last week they screened the Russ Meyer double-feature “Faster, Pussycat, Kill! Kill” and “Mudhoney”. Honestly, I thought I’d never see the day when those classic cult films would play on a cable network. The last time I was this happy was when IFC played Bava’s “Bay of Blood” and Argento’s “Deep Red” a few Halloweens ago.

I’d have to say it’s been a fun season, and hope to wrap it up on Tuesday, Halloween, with a bloody bang!

"Oddservations" is ©2006 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 ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.