Event preview by Charles Cassady, Jr.
What is Cinema Wasteland? Foolish human, Cinema Wasteland is like the Matrix, it cannot be described, it can only be experienced...
Oh sure it can be described. I just think I'd make more money if I sounded like Laurence Fishbourne from time to time. In the spirit of such movie-memorabilia and nostalgia expos as the Monster Bash in Pittsburgh, DragonCon in Atlanta, and the "HorrorHound" weekend (bringing the likes of Pam Grier and Cassandra "Elvira" Petersen to Columbus this month), Cinema Wasteland is a fan gathering, film marathon, variety show and memorabilia expo at the Holiday Inn Select of Strongsville, devoted to what founder Ken Kish, of Berea, likes to call the "Drive-in and grindhouse era" cinema, roughly from the late 1950s to the late 1980s.
Those, says Kish, were the glory years of horror, fantasy, science-fiction, spaghetti westerns, martial-arts, juvenile delinquency melodramas, nudie-cuties, Filipino actioners, Italian "giallo" thrillers, blaxploitation, rock'n'roll and psychedlia, post-nuke car chases, summer-camp sex and slapstick, underground comix-inspired animation and, well, whatever else artists du cinema such as Roger Corman could make or release quick, cheap and dirty.
At Cinema Wasteland longtime connoisseurs of such entertainment turn out to meet and greet the stars, ask questions at panel discussions, enjoy revivals of the old classics, and dig into their wallets to buy, sell, trade and enjoy all that's edgy and oddball in the movies. As an added attraction local and regional filmmakers visit peddling their wares, TV horror hosts come from far and wide, hosting live Saturday-morning and Saturday-night schtick (with none of those annoying censors), and Holiday Inn room parties proliferate after hours.
Those guests still expected at showtime include John Saxon, an actor who has worked with such legends as Bruce Lee, Edgar Ulmer, Dario Argento, Basil Rathbone and the classic Star Trek crew. Makeup artist Tom Sullivan, who helped bring much of the gore of the original EVIL DEAD to life and has a traveling museum of mementoes. P.J. Soles, the other girl (the one who doesn't survive) in the original "Halloween," will be there; fans should also remember her doomed villain part in "Carrie" and the vivacious Ramones fan in ROCK AND ROLL HIGH SCHOOL (one of the movies being shown in the screening room).
Richard Kiel has portrayed giant-sized menaces (and the occasional hero or character part) in stuff ranging from the Boris Karloff TV anthology "Thriller" to "Kolchak - The Night Stalker" but remains best identified with Jaws, the only James Bond villain so embraced by audiences that he got to encore the role, turn good guy and survive. He'll be there, and a bit of a James Bond theme is set this time, with the presense of certified Bond girls Barbara Bouchet and Lana Wood. Adult-film and pinup stars Kitten Natividad and Seka, also scheduled, weren't in any Bond films that we know about, but they were probably on the hotel cable Ian Fleming's character likely watched in between missions, you just know it.
Plus expect more stars, a NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD zombie-extras reunion; a presentation by the one and only 42nd Street Pete about New York City's Times Square sleaze-pit scene of yesteryear; and, of course, the tablesful of unspeakable schlock-film souvenirs and relics on sale, like books, soundtracks, posters (vintage and modern), cassettes, DVDs, laserdiscs and action figures.
Admission at the door is $20 per day, or you can buy at three-day $45 VIP pass, or a bargain $15 pass for Sunday only. For more info check out Ken Kish's website www.videowasteland.com.