For the last 18 years, we’ve been heading to Strongsville, OH for the Cinema Wasteland convention. And this last weekend was no different. Each and every time we set up there, we have a blast. Picked up more than a few Blu-rays from Diabolik DVD (which I think a lot of people coming through the door were), but came home with some great titles that I can’t wait to pop in and watch! There was a real nice crowd this year, and even though they just weren’t the book-buying crowd, we still had a blast. And that is because of these people below, plus plenty more that I didn’t get photos of.
I’ve mentioned before of our convention family and these people are part of that. They truly are one of the best part of these little gatherings. We get to talk about the recent films we’ve seen, older ones we’ve discovered, and all eager to hear other’s opinions on them. Sure there is always a little ribbing going on, but when done amongst great friends, it’s taken for what it is. And having the difference of opinions makes the conversations even more interesting. I’m sure most of us go away with a few new titles on their Need-to-Watch list each and every time.
As I mentioned in my earlier report, I had already met Argento years before and gotten a couple of items signed for free. So kept pondering why did I need to do it again, especially since I’d be paying $60g $60 this time? I had brought along my copy of Alan Jones’ book Dario Argento: The Man, The Myths, & the Magic to get signed if I decided to, but was really struggling with it. Lucky for me, that debate was easily decided when a dealer friend of ours graciously offered some extra dealer badges since we hadn’t purchased our tickets yet, which saved us exactly the same amount needed for the Argento signature. So…it was really hard to pass up then since we had just saved that much, right? Funny how fate works out that way.
Granted, the real reason we were here was for our buddy Bryan Martinez to meet the Maestro, since he is not only a fan of Argento’s work, but because this director was a huge influence on him, which would later come out creatively with Bryan’s show The Giallo Room. To say that he was a little excited is a slight understatement. We decided that getting in line right away Friday would be the best bet, since it was early, the line wasn’t that big with maybe a dozen people already in line. Plus, you want to get to Argento early before he gets worn out by all the people coming to see him. I mean, the guy is in his mid-70s after all. Once Argento came down and started, it went pretty quick. I went first and held out my book to him. He paged through it a bit, signed it, then looked up and said “Very good book!” I then sat down next to him for the photo. The guy handling the camera shots was very nice about the whole thing, taking several shots to make sure he got a good one in there. Very different than some of the cattle drives that I’ve seen/heard of before. Argento seemed to be full of spirits and really happy to be there.
Back in the mid to late ’90s, I did something almost on a yearly basis that was one of those stupid things you do when you’re younger…driving from Chicago to New York for a convention, usually in the wintery month of January. I mean, when you have the opportunity to meet genre icons like Lucio Fulci or Paul Naschy, sensibilities tend not to come to the forefront of your thought process. Why pay $200 to $400 for a single plane ticket when I could get a bunch of like-minded horror fans in the car and make the 800+ mile drive there, stay a couple of days, and then make that same trip back. Granted, I was never dumb enough to do it alone, but the first few times we did this, it was in one straight shot. On the way there, we were so pumped full of excitement that the trip didn’t seem that bad. But for some reason the trip back seems sooo much longer. Sure, those long hours in the van were long, tedious, and sometime downright nerve racking. But it was an adventure, to say the least. Now I look back on those days with such fondness. Sure, maybe because I’m not behind the wheel at that moment, but those are still great memories.
The Book of Lists: Horror
By Amy Wallace, Del Howison, and Scott Bradley
Published by Harper, 2008. 410 pages.
I can’t remember the last time that I picked up a book and was just completely taken over by it. This is one of the most entertaining books I have read in quite some time. This is the kind of book that you can pick up at any time, even if you only have a couple of minutes, open it up to any page, and start reading. And after a couple of minutes, you will have a smile on your face.
Last year at a different show, a group of the usual suspects that I hang around with during the afterhours, we’re having our usual meeting on solving the whole cold fusion problem, as well as a couple of other world issues, when we were joined by another gentleman who asked if he could join our little assemblage. We welcomed this stranger into our discussions and quickly realized this guy knew his shit and we became good friends after that evening. Over the next 18 hours, Scott Bradley, our newest soldier, was told by several people that he should really plan on making it out to Cinema Wasteland, since that was THE show for diehard fans. And so he did, making his first (of I’m sure to be many) appearance this last April. And he was not disappointed.