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Now in our eighth calendar year!
PCR #396 (Vol. 8, No. 43) This edition is for the week of October 22--28, 2007.

The ScreamFest '07 Experience  by Chris Woods
Halloweenapalooza: The Halloween Horror Picture Show '07  by C. A. Passinault
"Dan In Real Life"  by Mike Smith
Halloween & Horrors Overload - 4 Big Events Over One Weekend  by Andy Lalino
Documenting Living Saints  by Paul Guzzo
Screamfest 2007  by ED Tucker
Last Week .... The Gang's All Here .... And? .... Where's The Treat? .... .... .... .... .... Whatever Happened To--? Chapter 31: Charles Durning - Next Week! by Mike Smith
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Oddservations by Andy Lalino

Halloween & Horrors Overload - 4 Big Events Over One Weekend

Halloween Horror Picture Show 2007 (Fri. Oct. 21st)

Filmmaker/festival organizer Rick Danford has once again forged ahead, under the Enigma Films banner, to host the annual Halloween Horror Picture Show for 2007. Originally started in 2004 as a concept conceived by a contingent of Crazed Fanboys, Danford has since shouldered the overwhelming responsibilities and duties over the past few years. The attendance has been hit-or-miss, but regardless, few fanboys can deny that Danford offers a very good film festival, with generosities extended to filmmakers and horror-friendly retailers in regard to complementary booth space.

This year's HHPS was unleashed at the popular Channelside Theaters in downtown Tampa. Covering the two full days of October 19th and 20th, be it known that I was present only at the Friday screenings.

I arrived at Channelside at approximately 6:30pm. My first encounter was with...could it be?...Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant? No, it was actually Crazed Fanboy regular Chris Passinault (what a dead ringer...), there taking pictures and reporting live from the scene for an upcoming column in CF. It was good seeing Chris, as our paths don't often cross. We chatted, then took pictures, as I made my way to say hello to actress Krista Grotte, her husband Kenny, and their kids.

It was most excellent catching up with Krista, excited about the Tampa Bay premiere of her new movie Death by Demand. The producers flew Krista to upstate New York for the filming after they were bowled over by her performances and memorable looks from several local horror films. Now, Death by Demand is making the festival rounds and is possibly headed for distribution, and who better to help promote awareness than Krista Grotte?

Following my chat with Krista, I finally said hello to Rick, who appeared surprisingly subdued under the seemingly hectic circumstances of ringmastering a festival. I could tell by the general atmosphere that the festival was very laid back and casual, which really added to the experience. Note Channelside was a spacious, comfortable, well air-conditioned venue, and had the added plus of having an innate movie ambiance, complete with the smell of fresh popcorn and food/drinks close by.

Rick caught me up in saying that all was going well. No huge crisises, and people in attendance were having a great time. He invited me to place some flyers out for Crazed Fanboy and Unique Video, in which I was grateful for. I next briefly met horror personality Debbie D, visiting from Pennsylvania. Later, in the theater corridors, I ran into old friend Stephen Shea, there in promotion of an all-new cut of Abyssmal Entertainment's Hoodoo for Voodoo, featuring Linnea Quigley, Debbie Rochon, and HHPS celebrity in attendance Tiffany Shepis. Shea and fellow musician Sterling Schroeder were set to perform later in the night as an avante garde band called, fittingly, Sterling Schroeder. Rick also introduced me to writer/actor Trent Haaga who had a great story to share about a screening of Suspiria in Chicago in which the great Dario Argento was present.

Lastly, before I ventured in to see the Death by Demand screening, I met, for the third time, radiant actress Tiffany Shepis. This was Tiffany's second appearance at a HHPS, here in promotion of both Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! and Hoodoo for Voodoo, and tremendously excited that her movie Nightmare Man is an official selection of the Afterdark 8 Movies to Die For event in November. The following day, Tiffany and Jason Murphy were to introduce the made-in-Orlando Z!Z!Z! before the screening, which I was informed was sold-out.

At 8pm, I entered the theater for the big Death by Demand screening, with a live introduction by Krista Grotte. Now, I would be remiss if not informing all fanboys that Death by Demand marks Krista's first - uh - scenes in which she's "wardrobe-challenged" (in other words, she's nude). Now if that's not enough to get fanboys to splurge for the forthcoming DVD, I'm not sure what will. Placing the nude scenes aside for a moment, it's so very evident that Krista's not all statuesque good looks - the girl can act. Most other actresses would have sleepwalked through the role (she plays a porn star!), content with the fact that guys were gawking at her, but Krista makes the role very memorable. In fact, after seeing her, it got me thinking how she'd be in a more heroine-style role.

The DBD screening went extremely well. The audience members laughed and cringed. This isn't a review, so I'm not in a position to break down the movie for you, but know that it was a lot of fun and did not disappoint. In a nutshell, it's the story of a group characters who are paid by a sleazy promoter to spend the night locked in a haunted house on Halloween night, which was once the site of a series of gruesome murders. All of their actions, sexual and otherwise, are streamed on the web. Of course, things go awry when they start to fool around with a Ouija board, when they unwittingly release a supernatural killer who looks like Dennis Leary having a bad hair day. I found the various methods of killing - utilizing mountain climbing gear - to be highly original and effective. I was also surprised at how similar the plot was to a previous independent horror film I had seen a few weeks back: Hallows Point. Again, a group of people locked in a structure fighting for their lives against a force summoned by a Ouija.

Unfortunately, I couldn't stick around in time for the midnight screening of Marcus Koch's 100 Tears, but promised myself I'd rent it at Unique Video given the first opportunity (which will be tonight - Friday the 26th - for CULT-O-WEEN at Unique Video).

Thanks to Rick, Channelside Cinemas/manager Adam Rose, all the special guests and filmmakers, for making this an especially fun Halloween event.

"Dreadwood" Haunted House at Safety Harbor's "Harborween"

In what's becoming a tradition, my wife Sandy and I were involved in the annual huge Safety Harbor (FL) event known as Harborween. This year as last, we were assigned to hand candy out to hundreds of costumed kids in representation of Renaissance Real Estate, a popular and growing business based in Safety Harbor started by good friend Darlene Trieste, who you may recall from my coverage of The Demzarah Gypsies in Oddservations #392. Sandy went as a friendly-looking scarecrow, and I a vampire with a LOT of hair (in fact, I looked like Cousin It). Sandy worried that I might be too scary from some tykes, but as soon as I handed them candy, their apprehension faded real fast!

We wrapped up candy duty at 8pm as night fell, and made our way to the outstanding Dreadwood haunted house, overseen by Darlene herself and supported by her loyal battalion of talented actors and craftspeople, including Darlene's daughter Jennifer Trieste and other dancers from the Demzarah Gypsy troupe.

Dreadwood, unlike many haunted houses, is set completely outdoors. You first enter a the iconic gateway arch (with lighted ghosts flying above), led by two cackling sisters, and into the ruins of Dreadwood, populated by an unnerving array of ghouls, rippers, mad doctors, grave robbers, talking severed heads, and other grotesque monstrosities. I have to hand it to Darlene and her crew, she's not one to water-down a horror experience. It's every bit as rock & roll as one could imagine!

We had to leave early due to the fact I was about to have yet another very long day ahead of me in tackling both Screamfest and the Beach Theatre Terrorthon on Sunday, but can't wait to see what Darlene does with Dreadwood next year!

Screamfest 2007 (Sunday report)

Chris Woods
did an outstanding job reporting on this year's Screamfest (you know, the event that's solidly covered every year in Crazed Fanboy but who they won't give press passes to...), so I won't go into many details, other than to say Andrew Allan and I thoroughly enjoyed the event, and were OK with our decision to attend on a Sunday and not a hectic Saturday, which was relatively a last-minute decision.

We arrived at about 11am, and paid the hefty $25 entrance admission price (c'mon, guys, for a Sunday?). Many familiar faces were about: Ed Tucker and his wife Cindy, Chris Woods, Joel & Cathy Wynkoop, Terry Cronin and Pat Martin of M.I.F.F. and the Students of the Unusual comics, Krista Grotte & Kenny (who we just encountered just hours ago at the HHPS), Marcus Koch & Alanna Baker, Chris Polidoro, Joe Davison, Jack Amos ("Gurdy the Clown"), Stephen Biro and his new bride Erica, Jason "where have you been?" Liquori, and others (if I left anyone out, I apologize).

A few things worth noting:

- Krista Grotte was hosting the film festival at this year's Screamfest, though curiously, she did not have a film in the line-up!
- 100 Tears was nominated for a few awards...I have not yet heard the outcome. Marcus? Anything?
- Terry Cronin and Pat Martin were in promotion of the outstanding Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival (M.I.F.F.) coming up very soon on Friday, Nov. 2nd and continuing through Nov. 3rd. Do not miss this fanboy-friendly event, especially the Friday night horror films!
- Marcus, Alanna - great Zombie Walk make-up!!!

I splurged a little more in the dealer's room than usual, reacquiring a set from 1975 that I had as a boy: The Vincent Price Shrunken Head Kit - complete in box! The dealer was real nice and gave me a couple of back issues of FM as a bonus. Also purchased an indie H.P. Lovecraft DVD of short films based on his work from Brian at Sighco (a regular at Screamfest), Dracula's Dog: Hound of Hell DVD from my dealer friend Juan, and some great mini-dioramas of Gamera, Majin, Yog, and Godzilla from a dealer Japanese Monsters (out of Delray Beach). These sets were very affordably priced (unlike the majority of merchandise at conventions, nowadays it seems), so I even got a 8" figure of the Johnny Sokko robot from Voyage Into Space - I'm sure Ed Tucker will appreciate that!

Beach Theatre Terrorthon: Ed Wood night - Plan 9 from Outer Space and Glen or Glenda

This year, the heralded Beach Theatre on St. Petersburg beach is hosting one of the most exciting cinematic events I've ever attended in the history of the area: The 2007 Beach Theatre Terrorthon. A HUGE 11-day event, the Beach brings back a series of beloved cult films from yesteryear, and introduces a new slate of independent shockers enjoying local premieres.

Though the Terrorthon began on Oct. 20th, I attended Ed Wood Night on the 21st, when the Beach screened Plan 9 and Glen or Glenda. I had hoped to arrive earlier for the one and only screening of GOG, but keep in mind I had just arrived back in Tampa Bay from Orlando's Screamfest and time was short. I did manage to catch the last twenty minutes of the transsexual opus (Bela: "Pull de Sdtring! Pull de Stdring!") which was well-attended and always a hoot to watch.

At 8pm, Wood's masterpiece, Plan 9 began. This marked the very first time I had seen it on the big screen. It reminded me of the '70s when my parents took me to the Beach Theatre to see the original 1933 King Kong - what an unforgettable moment that was in my life! The projection and full surround sound is top-notch, and if you love older sci-fi/horror films, you won't find a better ambiance to experience them in than the historic Beach Theatre.

Cult movie fans take note: The Beach has is truly establishing itself as the main area destination for horror, cult, exploitation, and sci-fi offerings. Their midnight movie line-up is second-to-none, with recent screenings of John Carpenter's The Thing, Return of the Living Dead, and the ever-present standby The Rocky Horror Picture Show (with a seasoned LIVE cast that has been performing there for eight years) strongly backing up that claim.

The Beach is open to suggestions at which cult movies to play (especially at midnight screenings) and even has a juicy list of sample films to pick from, in which the most votes may receive a screening.

The following is a listing of the Terrorthon Events:

- Halloween (Wed., Oct. 31st) - Rocky Horror at 8:30pm
- Oct. 30th (Tue.) - Local premiere of the independent horror film The Entrance (6pm & 8pm)
- Oct. 28th (Sun.) - Ghostbusters (1pm and 3:30pm with free trick or treat bags for the kids) / Richard Matheson Night 2: Burn Witch Burn (5:45pm & 9pm) and Vincent Price in The Last Man on Earth (7:30pm)
- Oct. 27th (Sat.) - Kids matinee: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (10am - FREE admission!) / Bride of Frankenstein (12:30pm & 3:45pm) / Son of Frankenstein (1:45pm & 5:15pm) / Rocky Horror at 7:45pm & 11pm
- Oct. 26th (Fri.) - Local premiere of the independent horror film The Signal (8pm) / George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead (10pm) / Army of Darkness at midnight!

Previous Terrorthon cinema features:
- Oct. 25th (Thurs.) - Vincent Price in William Castle's House on Haunted Hill in Emergo with LIVE flying skeletons, an on-duty nurse, and a COWARD'S CORNER! I was in attendance and will do a FULL REPORT with PHOTOS next week!
- Oct. 24th (Wed.) - Local premiere of Call of Cthulhu and Murnau's Nosferatu
- Oct. 23rd (Tue.) - Richard Matheson night 1: THE INCREDIBLE SHrinking man and Duel
- Oct. 21st (Sun.) - Ed Wood night: Plan 9 from Outer Space and Glen or Glenda

The Beach Theatre is located at:
315 Corey Ave.
St. Petersburg Beach, FL



Stay tuned next week for Terrorthon Part II: HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL in EMERGO!!!

Uncle Creepy and Debi Moore are doing fine

As some of you know, our horror friends Steve "Uncle Creepy" Barton and Debi Moore of DreadCentral recently moved to San Diego. As I'm sure you've heard, the area was devastated by wildfires over the past week. Wanted all of you to know that I talked with Steve & Debi the other night, and though shaken, they and their property (and cats) are fine. Let's all wish them well in this difficult time.


As a last word, come one come all for an intimate get together tonight at Unique Video: CULT-O-WEEN featuring personalities from UV and Crazed Fanboy: Frank Granda Jr. and his father Frank Sr., Nolan Canova, Terence Nuzum (CF's "The Enlightenment"), Fangrrl Lisa Ciurro and myself are confirmed guests. Come out for a night of trippin' grindhouse trailers, and a special screening of the PAUL LYNDE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL from 1975!!! It doesn't get crazier than this, cult movie fans.

Friday, Oct. 26th - 7pm-?

at Unique Video
on the corner of Armenia & Waters Ave. in Tampa (across from 7-11)

See the Crazed Fanboy homepage header link for further details about CULT-O-WEEN.

"Oddservations" is ©2007 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.