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2013 RONDO AWARD
For three years now, we’ve been traveling to Ohio (round on the end, hi in the middle) to take part in the Cinema Wasteland shows. We’ve been there since the beginning, and plan on going to every show they have. I honestly can’t name a show that I have consistently enjoyed myself more than at these shows. The guests are great, very approachable, and always happy to meet and greet their fans.
Plus the show is always very well organized. I’m sure that might have something to the fact that Ken and Pam Kish have been doing shows for quite some time, and know what to do as well as what not to do. And there is always something to do, with a huge dealer room, and movies (some great, some not so great, but always entertaining) showing damn near the whole weekend.
Headlining the guests at this show was the one and only Herschell Gordon Lewis. This is the man that created the gore film…way back in the 60’s! I don’t want to repeat myself over an over again on this site about him, but Lewis is a class act. He’s a super nice guy, very friendly, and still very knowledgeable about the film industry today.
Of course then there was Connie Mason, “star” of Lewis’ BLOOD FEAST and TWO THOUSAND MANIACS, and also a Playboy Playmate in the 60’s. Don’t know where to start with her. Maybe it was when I first walked by her table early Friday night and seeing the look on the face of a young fan who just had his two DVDs signed by her and hearing “That would be $40.” That’s what she was charging, $20 a pop. But then some people got them for $5 or $10. And at one point, she told one fan that she splits the money with Lewis at the end of the show! I know that is a load of shit, since Lewis never charges for an autograph.
And then there's Reggie Bannister. This was Reggie's first appearance at this show, even though he was scheduled to make it out last year before all that shit happened in the real world. But he was here this time, and is another amazing guy. Several times while I was wandering around, I'd watch the way he greets his fans and he is awesome. The guy stands up, shakes your hand, and really listens and talks to you. So many celebs seem have forgotten that. But not Reg. Like Lewis, his kind is a dying breed. Reggie is always a pleasure to see, which is why he is always drawing the crowds at this table.
Michael Berryman is another one of those few. A super nice guy who loves to meet his fans. He was there talking about some future projects, including one about dreams and your brain functions. That was pretty surreal. Although he did throw us for a loop when he asked us about a couple of horror films that he couldn't remember the titles of. We're still working on those, Mike!
Making her first appearance in the midwest, was Yvonne Monlaur. She was Hammer Film's latest starlet when she starred with Peter Cushing in BRIDES OF DRACULA. She also worked with Hammer's other leading monster, Christopher Lee in Hammer's TERROR OF THE TONGS, where she was often mistaken for an Oriental woman. Then she also play with Anton Differing in CIRCUS OF HORRORS. She talked about working with these great actors, and as expected, had nothing but praise of these guys, along with working with the likes of Freda Jackson and Martita Hunt.
I must admit that I wasn't that much aware of Don Pedro Colley's career at first. I knew of the films that he was in, such as THX 1138, and one of those ape movies, but it wasn't until I watched SUGAR HILL that I discovered this guy. Playing Baron Samedi who is rises from the dead to help a young woman avenge the death of her boyfriend, Pedro breathes life into this mysterious character with style. So with the help of the Baron and his army of zombies, Sugar Hill takes on a local mob boss, who just happens to be Robert Quarry. Colley is another very friendly guy, who had plenty of stories.
Tom Savini and Bill Mosely were also on hand to discuss their projects, both past, present and future. My favorite part of their Q&A was when somebody asked Savini what he thought about the new DAWN OF THE DEAD remake. His reply: "Who cares?" Couldn't agree with you more, Tom. They also shared some pretty amusing stories from TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2. Many times while walking by Mosely's table, you could hear him quoting lines from his ChopTop character to his fans.
And let's not forget Mr. Tom Sullivan, the one and only man responsible for bringing us THE EVIL DEAD. If not for his great work on the film, I really wonder if the following would have been there? Tom once again brought some of his props and stuff from the movies, along with some of his great original artwork. Even though he's been there at all three shows, I still get a kick out of seeing that stuff.
Also along for the show, were Ted Mikels, Roger Watkins and David Hess. Somehow I didn't manage to get any photos of Hess or Mikels, and also missed out on their Q&A sessions. But from what I hear, Watkins' was pretty damn amusing. For those who don't know the name, Watkins, under the name Victor Janos, directed THE LAST HOUSE ON DEAD STREET. He also later went on to make several films in the adult film industry. Of course, David Hess made a little film called LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT with Wes Craven. Mikels was there promoting his latest, MARK OF THE ASTRO ZOMBIES. Was that John Carradine at Ted's table?
And when you got tired of rubbing shoulders with the celebs, there was the dealer room, where you could find anything and everything you could be looking for. From T-shirts, to DVDs, to books, to toys, and even videos! I was lucky enough to stay away from the other dealers, saving my hard earn cash, which I sorely regret now. There were some really cool shirts that I would have liked to added to my wardrobe. But choosing from those cool drive-in shirts from Satan's Sideshow, or a cool shirt from Jill at Lix, or from Steve "the T-shrit" guy, was way too hard. Although, we did get to check out the new artwork for Jill's upcoming shirt for LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE. This is one cool looking shirt. And as always, Jill is one nutty girl, and always fun to see at a show.
And when the dealer rooms closed down, did the fun stop! Hell No! There were movies running in both the video room and on 16mm in the bigger screening room. They played such classics as BLOOD FREAK (yes, that is a classic. Classic what, I'm sure, but a classic nonetheless), BUG (including a free glow-in-the-dark bug souvenir!), LADY FRANKENSTEIN, NIGHT OF THE COBRA WOMAN and more.
The only thing missing from this weekend was sleep, but who needs that anyway! Once again, we had a great time. I know I keep saying that, but when you do a Fango show or two and see how much hell those can be, you'll know why we keep ranting on about this one. Okay, so kissing Ken's ass doesn't hurt when we want to get a nice table space, but that was only for the first show. One last time, if you missed it this year, what are you waiting for?
DON PEDRO COLLEY
H.G. LEWIS & CONNIE MASON
BILL MOSELEY & TOM SAVINI