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2013 RONDO AWARD
October 4th-6th, 2013
This was our last real convention for the year and what a way to end the 2013 Kryptic World Tour. After our previous convention which ended up being a pretty big disappointment, this Wasteland show was just what I needed. And hereís the funny thing, it wasnít the previous show that was the disappointment as much as the fans at the show. Now I know Iím going to sound like an elitist again but who cares. I understand that younger fans that havenít gone around the whole block just yet, so they are still into the typical stuff, like Freddy and Jason and the rest. And I donít have a problem with that. We all have to start somewhere. But sometimes itís like being with a bunch of 5-year olds watching Blueís Clues for 3 days straight! OkayÖmaybe not that bad. But my point is being at Wasteland is like being among your brethren. The crowd is much smaller, but older and more knowledgeable in the ways of horror, cult, and exploitation films. Again, not dishing on any other shows, but Wasteland really is like being home.
One of the signs that you are at Wasteland is when you see a guy walking around with a t-shirt for Bill Rebane's THE ALPHA INCIDENT. Granted, I think the guy was a little freaked out that me and my table neighbor Eric Ott were so excited about seeing a guy with a Rebane t-shirt, it was pretty damn cool none the less. But that is the kind of crowd that this show draws. People that not only know the obscure stuff, but are proud of that fact. You donít see that too often at other shows, which is why this one is so unique. You can proudly speak of the fine cinema of the likes of Paul Naschy, Larry Buchanan, and Jack Hill, and pretty much everyone there is going to be able to join in. It really is a wonderful thing.
Plus, the fans coming through here are anxious to meet the guests that are scheduled, but it really isnít an autograph show. There are no huge lines of people waiting hours to get a $40 signature. Autographs here very seldom go over the $20 price tag and when it does, promoter Ken Kish frowns down upon it greatly. I can remember at one of the previous Wasteland show when Ken told his guest Jim Kelly right at his table during the show, ďIf I would have known you were going to be charging $30 an autograph, I never would have invited you. But I can make damn sure you wonít be asked back.Ē So I have to give Ken a lot of credit for trying to make his show cheaper on the pocketbook whenever he can.
One guest that Ken had found was director William Sachs, I believe making his first convention appearance, who was the director on the cult classic THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN. This was a movie that I begged and pleaded my parents to let me go see but got a big fat NO simply because it had an R rating. Of course, this was not the masterpiece of cinema when I finally did get to see it, but I still loved it and has already had a special place in my memory. So I was excited to being able to meet Sachs as well as have him sign a poster and/or lobby card for me. He did have some interesting stories during his Q&A panel, like he became involved with the movie, as well as working with a young Rick Baker on the effects. Sachs mentioned that it was his intention from the beginning to make it a comedy, but the studios wanted a very serious film.
The big thing at this show was a reunion for Wes Cravenís HILLS HAVE EYES, with actors Michael Berryman, Dee Wallace, Janus Blythe, Suze Lanier-Bramlett, Martin Speer, and Don Peake who did the soundtrack. Being such a classic of the genre, it was very cool to see all of these people here talking about a film that really was a lower budgeted film but still made such an impact on the genre. They talked about having to make this movie out in the desert and all the fun stuff that can happened on a shooting like that. Very interesting stories.
Also making their first appearances at the Wasteland was a couple of actors that have made a few titles in the cult/horror/exploitation market over the years. The first one was Donna Wilkes, who appeared as the title character in the 1984 film ANGEL, about a high school prostitute that did so well that it produced a few sequels, though without her returning to the role. But before that, she appeared in JAWS 2, as well as being with an even scarier co-star in the film SCHIZOID alongside Klaus Kinski. Unfortunately, she didnít have that many juicy stories about him. Stephen Macht was also there, who had worked with the aforementioned William Sachs in his film GALAXINA, along with the infamous Dorothy Stratton, as well as playing the sheriff in MONSTER SQUAD. It is always cool to hear stories from a very different time in the filmmaking world.
Two other guests that were also making their first convention appearance really are the epitome of what Wasteland is all about. Back in 1984, director Chester Turner and actress Shirley Latanya Jones made a film called BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL, and followed it up 3 years later with TALES FROM THE QUADEAD ZONE. Both had become obscure treasures, especially if you were collecting VHS tapes. Not great movies a lot would say but they have become stars in their own right in the underground market. But thanks to Louis Justin and Massacre Video, Wasteland was able to give them an audience of their fans, to be able to show them that something they made 30 years ago is still remembered today. Plus, it also opened up the doorway for a lot of newer fans as well. But most importantly, it gave both the fans, as well as Turner and Jones the chance to meet and talk with each other. There arenít too many other shows that would not only give that opportunity for a filmmaker like Turner, but also a show that would draw in people that would know and care who they were. And that, my friends, really is what sets Wasteland apart from every other show out there.
For our last convention for 2013, it was a great way to end it. Even with such a smaller crowd, we had a great time, doubled our sales from the previous show (which probably had 10 times the amount of people), plus just love talking to the different fans that come through the door here. So friendly, so knowledgeable, or at least eager to learn more about what they donít know. Couldnít ask for better people. Long live the Wasteland. See you next April!
HILLS HAVE EYES REUNION