Thursday, April 6, 2017

At Cinema Wasteland the Best Picture Oscar wouldn’t have gone to La La Land either, in Strongsville April 7-9

[The Cinema Wasteland Movie Convention takes place Friday April 7th through Sunday April 9th at the Strongsville Holiday Inn.]

Event preview by Charles Cassady, Jr.

This weekend Clevelanders can pay tribute the heroes of independent cinema motion-picture fine arts, renown and honored around the world for the immortal moments on celluloid these artists created...No, not at the Cleveland International Film Festival. What does that have to do with anything?

No, the real deal is at the Holiday Inn Select in Strongsville, for a 50th Anniversary reunion of indie film vets who created NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD in the Pittsburgh area, and movie history (let alone Pennsylvania history) was never the same.

Shooting well outside the LA-NY axis of evil, working on a shoestring budget with local talent and Pittsburgh TV people involved (including local broadcast horror host “Chilly Billy” Bill Cardille, in a non-campy guest bit), George Romero, John Russo and the Latent Image production company made a sharp, scary, original feature that, after years on the midnite-movie, college and grindhouse circuit, has finally been appreciated as a classic (a nod of thanks to the late Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, who went against the general grain of critics to extol NOLD’s virtues). Without NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD there never would have been a Walking Dead. And, hence, for a lot of people, no reason to turn on TV nowadays.

John Russo, leading lady Judith O’Dea, then-child-actress Kyra Schon and other cast and crew members from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD invade Strongsville as part of Cinema Wasteland, a weekend devoted to saluting the drive-in B-movie golden era, roughly from the late 1950s to the late 1980s, and the attendant outpouring of sci-fi, spaghetti westerns, martial-arts, blaxploitation, rock'n'roll and psychedelia, post-nuke car chases, summer-camp sex and, of course, splatter-horror.

While NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD will be a screening and panel-discussion focus, also expect showings of EVIL DEAD II: DEAD BY DAWN, Ron Howard’s directorial debut for Roger Corman GRAND THEFT AUTO, and even THE CURSE OF BIGFOOT, an infamously awful handmade monster movie that shows, well, maybe DIY horror filmmaking isn’t for everyone after all.

Plus vendors of assorted macabre and louche merchandise, room parties, and live horror hosts, including the Son of Ghoul emceeing Three Stooges and Saturday morning cartoon shorts. The Cleveland International Film Festival can only wish it were that cool.

Admission at the door is $20 on Friday, $25 on Saturday, and $15 on Sunday. The address is 15471 Royalton Road. Phone (440) 238-8800 or go online to

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