Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Making motion pictures Not Great Again: Cinema Wasteland in Strongsville, September 30 – October 2

With the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie divorce once again reminding us that film is a morass of sleaze and moral degradation, Cinema Wasteland brings it on for a fall session.

In the spirit of such movie-memorabilia and nostalgia expos as the Monster Bash in Pittsburgh and DragonCon in Atlanta, Cinema Wasteland is a fan gathering, film marathon, variety show and vendor fair at the Holiday Inn Select of Strongsville.

CW is devoted to what founder Ken Kish describes as the drive-in B-movie golden era, roughly from the late 1950s to the late 1980s. Glory years for horror, fantasy, science-fiction, Roger Corman, spaghetti westerns, martial-arts, juvenile delinquency melodramas, nudie-cuties, Filipino actioners, blaxploitation, rock'n'roll and psychedelia, post-nuke car chases, summer-camp sex and slapstick, underground comix-inspired animation and, well, whatever else artists du cinema could make or release quick, cheap and dirty.

Highlights of the latest edition include a 35th-anniversary salute to the original Michigan-shot EVIL DEAD. Sorry, no Bruce Campbell or Sam Raimi – they probably heard how bad the Browns were doing and didn’t dare get so close to Berea. But other actors and f/x artists will show up to meet and greet, alongside cast vets from THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, NIGHT OF THE COMET and other genre faves. Extreme-horror novelist Jack Ketchum and Cleveland rock photographer George Shuba round out the guest roster.

Film screenings include the notorious FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR, a Spanish monster mashup of werewolves and vampires that actually has no Frankenstein whatsoever. Rare revivals include THE FAN, an ahead-of-its time 1981 stalker thriller with future Terminator-buster Michael Biehn obsessed with gracefully aged Lauren Bacall; the 1987 cult flick PSYCHOS IN LOVE, with director Carmine Campobianco live, and MARLOWE, a 1969 Raymond Chandler adaptation whose incredible cast include James Garner, Bruce Lee, Jackie Coogan and Sharon Farrell (who appears in person here).

And dig the election-year special of THE WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON, a 1973 Washington satire that has actually held up rather well in bits and pieces. Dean Stockwell is a DC press secretary who gets bitten by a gypsy lychanthrope in Europe and returns to the USA periodically turning into a Lon Chaney Jr.-style wolfman (actually pretty good retro-makeup). He tries to tell everybody about his curse, but the political establishment are such a bunch of self-absorbed pompous windbags they just don’t hear him above their own spin and blather. This Cleveland Movie Blog writer tried to get the Cleveland Cinematheque to show THE WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON as a Halloween/Donald Trump special. The trendy-lefty University Circle types, probably too busy drooling over the prospect of President Hillary Clinton instituting Sharia Law and naming Fidel Castro to the Supreme Court, didn’t listen. But evidently Cinema Wasteland did.

Admission at the door is $20 on Friday, $25 on Saturday, and $15 on Sunday. The Holiday Inn is located at 15471 Royalton Road in Strongsville. Phone 440-238-8800.

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