My very first horror convention was in April of 1988, out in California. Up until then, I had never met anybody famous, especially any idols I had from the horror genre. But at the show, one of the first ones I met was George Romero. I had come walking out of the dealer room on my way to the auditorium for the Q&A’s, and there he stood, surrounded by fans like a scene from one of his zombie flicks. Except, instead of trying to eat him, they just wanted to get an autograph or just say hello and thanks. I didn’t take me long to join the growing mass of fans either. I had him sign my copy of Tom Savini’s Grande Illusions, which was my very first autograph as well. I still have that book to this day and is one of my most memorable.
Directed by George Romero
Starring Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, Fritz Weaver, Leslie Nielsen, Carrie Nye, E.G. Marshall, Viveca Lindfors, Ed Harris, Ted Danson, Stephen King, Warner Shook, Robert Harper, Elizabeth Regan, Gaylen Ross, Tom Atkins
One question that horror fans get asked a lot is “what’s your favorite horror movie?” I know a lot of fans do have a particular one that is their favorite. For me though, it really would be impossible for me to narrow it down to even 20, let alone a single one. But I do know that if such a list was ever conceived in my brain, somewhere near the top would be George Romero’s Creepshow. In fact, it is my favorite of all of Romero’s work, even above Night of the Living Dead. Maybe it was because I saw this in the theater at the time my obsession with the horror genre really started to explode. Maybe it was the great mixture of horror and humor. Or the way it blended the world of horror comic books that I read as a child into the movie world in such a beautiful way. Whatever reason it might be, or all of them, I have loved this film since I first witnessed it in the theater back in 1982, and I still love it just as much today.
If you’re like me, horror movie soundtracks are a staple of my day. Each and every time I’m at work on my computer, I have a horror soundtrack playing in the background. Even now, I’m listening to Pet Sematary‘s score by Elliot Goldenthal. True story.
If you’re looking for a few scores to add to your collection, you may want to head over to La-La Land Records to take advantage of their Halloween sale that ends tomorrow. You can find some good deals for only $4 each! You can pick up the soundtracks for The Sender, Trick ‘r Treat, The Conjuring, and a few more for just a few bucks. For $10, you can get yourself copies of Friday the 13th (the original) and Evil Dead (the remake), Pet Sematary (the expanded release, which I just ordered), and a few more. Or for $15, you can get John Harrison’s Creepshow, which I have to say is simply a must for any collector of horror soundtracks. It is one of my all-time favorites. But in that same price range, they have Day of the Dead, Magic (which I also just ordered), and Monster Squad.
Let’s just say that I hate making lists in general. It forces you to chose or narrow down a “favorites” list. I have way too many movies that I honestly love the hell out of, so getting it down to a list of ten is just impossible. And honestly, I really don’t care for these kind of lists that are always going around Facebook, mainly because I just don’t want to spend the time on them and my above mentioned hatred for lists. But since this quest was to name films that had a “lasting impression” on you, I figured I could come up with ten titles that did have a major impact on my life. But instead of just listing the movies, I figured I’d try and expand on why these certain titles affected me the way they did. Of course, this list could change at any time…day or night.
Plus, since a friend tagged me on this, I figured it was the least I could do to reply. Thanks Jessica…this was a nice little trip down memory lane.
It was announced today that George Romero would be getting one of those illustrious stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And all I can say is it’s about damn time. For a man who pretty much invented the modern day zombie, created so many films that gave millions of us the chills, and more than a few nightmares, it’s nice to see him get a little bit of credit for his work.
My very first horror convention that I attended was at a Fangoria Weekend of Horrors in LA in 1988. I had never seen or met anyone famous before so one of the first ones that I see there, just standing outside the dealer room, was the one and only Romero. I pulled out my copy of Tom Savini’s Grand Illusions and asked him to sign it since he wrote the forward to it, which he graciously did with a huge smile. That was my very first autograph. And I still have that copy of the book.
This interview was conducted back in October of 2008, at the Cinema Wasteland show.
Kitley’s Krypt: How did you get into acting?
John Amplas: Oh, that was a long time ago. I was ten years old and my uncle used to do community theater and they needed a kid in a play. So I did a lot of community theater when I was kid and I just kind of got the bug early on from there. In 1963, when I was a teenager, I attended the Playhouse School in Pittsburgh and did that for about 3 years. I spent 3 years in the Army after I graduated from high school, then I studied theater at the same university, then college, to become an actor. In fact, the interesting thing about that, the last production in my senior year is when George Romero came to see it, which is how I got the job to play Martin two or three months later – we started shooting in the fall of 1976. Continue reading