Monday, May 13, 2013

Horror Hotel Weekend rises in Hudson, May 17-19

[Event preview by Charles Cassady, Jr.]

Not long ago I wrote up a regional moviemaking project for one of the few print outlets I have left. Genteel folks indeed they were at this publisher. They had sent a separate news photographer to the rural horse-farm set to cover the digital shoot, and he reported back to the editors, aghast, saying that the whole movie was just "blood and boobs." The bewildered editors relayed that information back to me.

"Well of course it was," I more or less responded. "What else do you think local filmmaking in Ohio amounts to? It's almost always blood...and boobs...and Bigfoot!"

That's a great phrase, "Blood, Boobs and Bigfoot." I really should copyright it before someone else steals it for their own disquisition on Buckeye State cinema-arts culture.

And a place where I could actually find out how to copyright it would be Horror Hotel Weekend, happening May 17, 18 and 19th at the Clarion Inn in Hudson, Ohio. Begun last year, Horror Hotel Weekend is an annual Hudson convention spun off from The Indie Gathering, a long-running series of meetings and conventions by/for do-it-yourself northeast Ohio filmmakers. Recognizing that the most enthusiastic of our fair state's backyard movie moguls are into the horror/sci-fi genres, organizers of The Indie Gathering launched Horror Hotel Weekend in 2012.

The convention not only brings in celebrity guests, like veteran character actor Robert Z'Dar and makeup f/x experts Robert Kurtzman and Alan Tuskes, it also serves as a networking and facilitation event for anyone who wants to get into local showbiz, either behind-the-scenes or in front of the cameras.

On the schedule this year: the always-popular Scream Queen competition, in which aspiring horror heroines have to deliver the best panic-stricken shrieks; a workshop and contest for soundtrack composition; talks about entertainment law, contracts and copyrights; and, of course marathon of film screenings, ranging from "micro" shorts to features. Filmmakers will be in attendance, and it was not unusual last year for an open audition call to take place at the Clarion.

Expect also to see a lot of young actress-types walking around in skin-tight and skimpy outfits, often with plunging necklines, exposing much of their curvaceous torsos and slender legs. I do believe this reflects the tragedy of Ohio's chronically poor economy; girls just can't afford fabric for full sets of clothing anymore. So they desperately cover their bodies against the brisk May temperatures with whatever undersized spandex and bikini tops and S&M bondage gear they can still scrounge from the church-donation box. Sad, actually. At least that's what I might tell my editors next time, when they see the photos.

Horror Hotel Weekend begins Friday, May 17 at 9 p.m. with a networking party. The convention goes into full swing Saturday, May 18, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, May 19, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets range from an advance VIP admission for the whole weekend at $25, to $7 for individual feature-film screenings. The Hudson Clarion Inn is located right off the freeway at 6625 Dean Memorial Parkway. Phone (330) 653-9191. A website with directions, a full schedule and a photo gallery from 2012 is up at

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