Reporting by Charles Cassady, Jr.
Perhaps, if it is true that Number 23 is returning to make life worth living in northeast Ohio again, the only institution that will resist selling out is Cinema Wasteland (us? Sorry, the Cleveland Movie Blog has already purchased the URL www.lebronjames.gov, in anticipation). This twice-yearly Cinema Wasteland happens in Strongsville in the scrappy spirit of such fan `cons' (conventions) as the Monster Bash in Pittsburgh and DragonCon in Atlanta. Cinema Wasteland is a gathering and memorabilia expo devoted to "the drive-in era" of horror, fantasy and action. It also tends to encompass pro-wrestling, rockabilly, goth fashion and handicrafts, and all other forms of louche "grindhouse" media. Basketball? Maybe if cannibal zombies played it.
Fans turn out to meet and greet both veteran movie stars and backyard filmmakers offering homebrew Bigfoot sagas; watch late-nite TV horror hosts cavort live; and buy, sell, trade and enjoy all that's dodgy and guilty-pleasurable in music, TV and movies.
Just a few of the cinematic attractions, in two different auditoriums (unspooling on 16mm as well as projected video) at the latest CW include simulated drive-in experience hosted by a guy named Gunga Jim and rubber chicken. The movie is the Spanish science-fiction melange ASSIGNMENT TERROR, in which aliens who evidently learned nothing from Plan 9 resurrect scary monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula and the Mummy to conquer the Earth. Saturday at noon brings a Three Stooges mini-marathon hosted by the Akron-Canton horror host Son of Ghoul.
In addition there will be a rare revival of the much-misunderstood midget mobster drama LITTLE CIGARS (1973), the brand-new splatter-sexploitation BLOOD ORGY AT BEAVER LAKE, the legendary SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE (made in 1982 in the depths of kill-women-movies craze by an avowedly feminist director and screenwriter, wassupwidat?), and a 2012 release entitled PRESIDENT WOLFMAN that purports to be assembled entirely of free, public-domain footage lifted from other movies. Plus a stash of anti-pot hysterical dramas, from 1936's legendary REEFER MADNESS onwards. Maybe the programmers want to honor the growing push towards legalization. What, you would prefer vintage gay-marriage B-movies?
Hollywood and Off-Hollywood Guests scheduled, in and out of the fantasy-flick genre, include actors Chris Lemmon (JUST BEFORE DAWN), Irene Miracle (Dario Argento's INFERNO), Jamie Rose (who has gone from CHOPPER CHICKS IN ZOMBIETOWN, opposite young Billy Bob Thornton, to a recent multi-part adaptation of Ayn Rand's ATLAS SHRUGGED), Kelli Maroney (NIGHT OF THE COMET), veteran stuntman Gary Kent (a thespian career range from HELL'S ANGELS ON WHEELS to BUBBA HO-TEP) and prolific "scream queen" actress-director-producer-publisher Brinke Stevens (too many credits to list). Plus many others.
Expect cult-cred directors Jeff Lieberman (SQUIRM, BLUE SUNSHINE), Sergio Martino (AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK), Jack Sholder (THE HIDDEN) and a horde of TV horror hosts and a whole ballroom full of oddball vendors. Expect after-hours parties on Saturday night and pretty unspeakable room parties (YouTube footage exists, we warn you).
Cinema Wasteland takes place at the Holiday Inn Select of LeBronsville, oh, we mean Strongsville, at 15471 Royalton Road. Dealer-room hours are Friday from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission at the door is $20 per day, or you can buy at three-day $50 VIP pass. For more info check out the website www.videowasteland.com.
There has lately been talk of LeBron James returning to play for Cleveland. In hopes of sealing the deal, word has come down from City Hall that the city will be renamed LeBronopolis, Ohio. The Cleveland Orchestra will be redubbed the LeBronTones. The Cleveland International Film Festival will undergo a reboot as the Best of LeBron Game Footage. The Cleveland Clinic is to be rebranded as LeBron's Medicine Cabinet. The Rock Hall of Fame and Museum will be the LeBron James Private Record Collection. The Cleveland Police Department will be known as LeBron's Bodyguards & Entourage. The Browns and the Indians will go by LeBron's Warmup Acts.