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Copyright © Kitley's Krypt
2013 RONDO AWARD
Iíve been going to horror conventions for over 20 years now. During which Iíve had the chance to see and meet many different people involved in this genre that I love, such as actors and actress, directors, makeup and special effects artists, composers, and more. When Iíve had these chances to meet them, I might be a little nervous here and there, but for the most part can hold my own. Sometimes it seems more surreal than anything, like the time I drove Robert Englund to a movie screening from a convention. It was bizarre and cool but I was in control of my inner fanboy. Maybe I was more worried about not getting into an accident with Freddy Kruger in my van than having time to nerd out. But that is beside the point.
But there has been a few times when the person youíre meeting is such an icon that you canít help but nerd out. One of those times was meeting Paul Naschy back in January of í98. Another time was two years early in January of í96, meeting Lucio Fulci. Not only was this his only appearance at an American convention, but he passed away a few months later. But those times donít come around too often anymore. But at this Cinema Wasteland show, there was something going on that gave me that same feeling that I had over 10 years ago. It was a reunion from one of my all time favorite films: Lucio Fulciís ZOMBIE.
Attending the Wastelandís 17th show were four actors from the film: Ian McCulloch, Al Cliver, Ottaviano DellíAcqua, and Richard Johnson. Usually during the Q&A panels, I donít stay more than a few minutes to get some photos, since I really need to get back to watch my dealer table. This time was different and I ended up staying for the entire hour the session ran (thanks for watching my table Dave!). It was simply amazing. All of them had great stories about working with Fulci and on this movie, as well as talking about the other films that they worked on. So as I was standing there taking a bunch of photos of the panel, it just hit me. Not 15 feet away from me was the cast of ZOMBIE. Holy Crap! So that almost overwhelming feeling of nerd-ness hit me while watching these actors talking about this film and their careers.
Plus the fact that one of the cast, Richard Johnson, was also in another top favorite of mine, THE HAUNTING, not to mention tons of other great horror films. Even before appearing in ZOMBIE, he was in a film that scared the life out of me, just by seeing the commercial for it on TVÖ.BEYOND THE DOOR. He would go on to work with Sergio Martino in another one of my favorite films, ISLAND OF THE FISHMAN (aka SCREAMERS). Johnson always had (and still does) a very distinct voice that always adds to his performance, as well as making his Q&A's even more enjoyable to listen to.
You couldnít be a fan of Italian cinema and not know who Al Cliver (real name Pier Luigi Conti) is. He worked several times with both Fulci and Jess Franco. Granted, most of the time his voice was dubbed, but we always remembered his face. Cliver's voice was nothing more than a loud whisper, but that didn't stop him from answering any question thrown his way. As for Ian McCulloch, he didnít appear in too many horror movies, but the ones that he did were pretty memorable. Within a short period of time, he appeared in 3 films that were on the Video Nasty list from the British Film Board, something that he had to be proud of. He still seems amazed at the amount of fans those films still have to this day.
Helping with the translating was actress Beatrice Ring, who was also in ZOMBI 3, as well as Lamberto Bavaís GRAVEYARD DISTURBANCE. While she didnít have the same fond memories of working with Fulci as the others did, mainly because she was a woman, she still had some great stories of working on a couple of Italian horror movies. Not to mention the fact that she still is one gorgeous looking woman! I believe this was her first convention, or one of her first. She was also thrilled and amazed at the amount of fans that these movies have.
We also have to throw a big THANK YOU out to Mike Baronas. If not for him hard work on tracking these people down, none of these may have ever happened. From one dedicated horror fan to another, we can't thank you enough for help making this happen.
One thing that did kind of surprise me was that there werenít a lot more people at the show. Sure, there was the normal Wasteland crowd, but I would have thought that since this was a reunion for one of the most well known zombie films out there, it would draw more people. How could anyone not put their life on hold to attend such an epic event? If you didnít make it, for shame! But those who did, will have a memory youíll never forget.
Zombies were the theme of this show, and the other guests attending all had connections to the sub-genre in some way or another. There were guests who played zombies in several different Romero films. Such as Kyra Schon from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, Tom Savini, Jim Krut and Sharon Ceccatti Hill from DAWN OF THE DEAD, and Howard Sherman from DAY OF THE DEAD. They all attended the Q&A that dealt with working as a zombie in a George Romero film. It was interesting and very amusing to hear the different stories from the early film like NIGHT to the later film like DAY.
We also wanted to say a special thanks to Sharon Ceccatti Hill for making it out to the show. Only a short time ago, Sharon's husband Clayton Hill, who was also in DAWN OF THE DEAD (the sweater zombie), passed away. We had met them a few years ago at convention and became good friends. Every time we see them at a show, Clayton treated us like we were family. He was just that kind of guy. So having the chance to tell Sharon what he meant to me, just as a fellow convention-goer and fan, and how much I felt his lost, she really was thrilled to know how much of an effect Clayton had on yet another person that he barely knew. He was that kind of guy. We love you Sharon, and miss you Clayton.
And of course, letís not forget one of the staples of Cinema Wasteland, Tom Sullivan, make up wizard responsible for bringing EVIL DEAD to life. His portable museum is always a treat to visit. Not only can you see original stuff from EVIL DEAD, but you can also look at some of Sullivan's amazing artwork. He is one talented artist, who has a big Lovecraft influence. Just love some of those monsters that he comes up with!
Zombies and geekdom aside, as always, we have one hell of a time. Weíve said many times before that these conventions are like family reunions. It was great to see all our 2nd families that we see at shows. But also to the people that stopped by our table and mentioning that they enjoy our website and our work in HorrorHound. Can't tell you how much that means to me. So thank you!
But no show is like Wasteland in this regards. It really is the best, and most fun, I ever have at any show. Hands down. They continue to put on a kick-ass of a good time, with plenty of stuff to keep any and all horror fans happy for the 3 days the show takes place. Hard to believe that this was their 17th show in 10 years. Hereís to another 10 years to go. Hopefully Ken & Pam wonít get tired of putting them on, because I know I wonít be tired of coming. And we're looking to do it all again in another 6 months in October for their 10th anniversary show. See you there!
HOWARD SHERMAN (Bub from DAY OF THE DEAD)