Monday, March 31, 2014

Even Vladimir Putin wouldn’t dare set foot here: Cinema Wasteland, April 4, 5 and 6.

[Cinema Wasteland takes place at the Holiday Inn Select of 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.]

Event preview by Charles Cassady, Jr.

As we know, ever since LeBron James left the only thing significant about Cleveland is that it's not too far from Strongsville, Ohio - which is where Cinema Wasteland happens twice a year.

After two weeks of the Cleveland International Film Festival hitting us square across the eyeballs with the best of the fine art of international cinema (translation: gay-marriage documentaries and dramas. More gay-marriage documentaries and dramas than you ever dreaded existed. Dammit), Cinema Wasteland provides that welcome dash of reality to what drew most of us to watch movies in the first place. Violence and sleaze.

Cinema Wasteland is a fan gathering, film marathon, variety show and memorabilia expo at the Holiday Inn Select of Strongsville, devoted to the "Drive-in and grindhouse era" cinema, roughly from the late 1950s to 1987, by the reckoning of CW founder Ken Kish.

Those, says Kish, were the apex years of horror, fantasy, science-fiction, spaghetti westerns, martial-arts, juvenile delinquency melodramas, nudie-cuties, Filipino actioners, Italian "giallo" thrillers, blaxploitation, rock and psychedelia, post-nuke barbarians, summer-camp sex and slapstick and, well, whatever else the cheapjack filmmakers could crank out fast and ballyhoo.

(I’ve always found it ironic that this storied period ended almost exactly the year I graduated from college. It’s like Roger Corman himself came down from his paper-mache Mt. Olympus and said, “Okay, Charles Cassady’s out in the world. Everyone stop having fun. Girls, put your clothes back on. Party’s over.” I’ve had other moments like that in my life that I won’t go into right now)

At Cinema Wasteland, cult-exploitation fans meet and greet the underground celebs, ask questions at panel discussions, watch the old classics, and peruse all that's edgy and oddball in memorabilia, recordings, and fashion accessories.

As an added attraction, regional filmmakers visit peddling their DIY stuff, TV horror hosts come from far and wide, hosting live Saturday-morning and Saturday-night schtick and “room parties” proliferate after hours at the Holiday Inn Select, the perennial home of CW

A big focus of Cinema Wasteland this spring is a reunion of creative folk from perhaps the best known cult movie to be shot in West Virginia, INVASION OF THE SPACE PREACHERS, including director Daniel Boyd, screening the flick on Friday night.

Further VIPs include legendary cult-film writer-director Larry Cohen and Troma icon (and distributor of INVASION OF THE SPACE PREACHERS), the one and only Lloyd Kaufman. Prolific fantasy-film producer-director Charles Band, who rode the wave of direct-to-VHS perhaps more than any other single filmmaker, will do his live “Shock-O-Rama” roadshow act that includes volunteers from the audience to be killed, B-movie style.  

Other amazing and incredibly strange guests: actresses Patty Mullen (FRANKENHOOKER) and Laurene Landon (…ALL THE MARBLES); actors Robert Z’Dar, Vernon Welles and Gerrit Graham. And adult-movie actress Serena.

Plus expect a live simulation of a night at the drive-in, featuring the West German T&A anti-classic HORRORS OF SPIDER ISLAND, the RustBelt Honeys Burlesque Troupe, and A. Ghastlee Ghoul doing his patented “A Ghastlee Night at the Movies.”

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