When I was young and the eighties were the eighties, I discovered a local horror program hosted by The Son of Ghoul. I was still very unsure about horror at the time. I would watch all sorts of “cut for television” movies every Saturday afternoon, and loved to just peruse the horror aisle at my local video store. What I saw frightened and thrilled me. These movies were pieces of film that had kept me wide awake at night, but there was just something so alluring to the feeling I had when I watched them. There was something “fun” behind the mayhem, and movies like Return of the Living Dead captured these confusing feelings phenomenally.
So did the Son of Ghoul.
Years before MST3K and years after Ghoulardi, he was what I loved about horror. I was lucky enough to attend the Cinema Wasteland Movie and Memorabilia Expo two weeks ago and finally got to thank him. While attending my first CW event, I also took in the atmosphere. I’ve often heard about it, but I finally got to experience it. Nestled between 2 hotels in Strongsville, OH, the party doesn’t stop when the expo closes. Tweets and pictures of the event often mention the hangovers, but most importantly, they often show the friendships made during these expos.
Expo-wise, Cinema Wasteland hosted the 30th anniversary reunion of the Day of the Dead cast (including special effects legend Tom Savini). Rhodes (Joe Pilato) and Steel (Gary Klar) were heard bellowing over the crowd and playing off of each other just like I remembered them in the movie. Lead Lori Cardille (Sarah) was very polite and quite kind while Terry Alexander and Jarlath Conroy (John and McDermott) were quietly welcoming to the attention. Many of the cast mates had not seen each other since filming. I managed to catch a great reunion involving Sherman Howard (Bub) with an old friend.
The round table was phenomenal. There was not a free seat to be found, and I found myself sitting excitedly on the floor in the back of the room. If you are not familiar with the evolution of Day of the Dead, George Romero envisioned a much larger film budget. Tom Savini talked about the limitations he worked with (while recounting stories of spoiled cow intestines). Many of the cast members rattled off familiar lines and expanded upon the characters they played 30 years ago.
(I found this great video of the entire round table. It’s well done and definitely worth a watch.)
I spent most of my day at the vendor expo, but I did catch a few viewings as well. Cinema Wasteland has 2 movie rooms operating the length of expo. Whether its 3 Stooges, old cartoons, or a random B movie, I found some very funny interesting moments. Hard to Die was just splendidly entertaining with its plot alone: While doing the inventory for a lingerie outlet in a high rise office building, five attractive women are terrorised by a series of bizarre killings. It also introduced a very interesting concept of breaking a soul into pieces in order to obtain immortality.
Cinema Wasteland is a bi-annual event. It occurs every April and October. October’s schedule is already being filled, and it looks like it will feature a 25th anniversary of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3. You can get more information at www.cinemaswasteland.com or check out their facebook page.