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July 29th-31st

At the end of last year's Flashback show, I talked to Flashback's main man Mike Kerz and told him how great of a show it was and that he's going to have a hell of a time topping it next year.  He smiled and said that he's already got a plan.  Well, it's one year later, and I have to say that he did more than top last year's show.  He blew it away.  This one was just incredible.

As I kind of mentioned in our review of the last Cinema Wasteland show, reunion is really the way to describe conventions for me.  From going to conventions for for over 15 years, both as a fan and as a dealer, you meet plenty of people.  And these people, for the most part, you only see at these conventions.  So it's really like a big get together where you get to see these friends, both old and new.  Just about the only complaint about the show, if you could call it that, was that we were so busy for most of the weekend, I didn't have a lot of time to get that many photos, and out of the ones I did get, a bunch of them didn't turn out...damn flash!  But none the less, we had a great time.

One of the new friends that we made was the folks of Dark Sky Films, who were at the table next to us.  If you haven't heard of them, you will be soon.  They have recently released Jim VanBebber's THE MANSON FAMILY on DVD.  And coming up this September, they will be releasing a special 2-disc edition of John McNaughton's HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER., that will feature tons of extras.  They also will be releasing the rare cult classic film FLESH EATERS in October.  This is one rare film that even the video release was hard to find.  But the title that got me excited the most was when I heard that next year they will be putting out MAGIC, a much underrated film starring Anthony Hopkins as a schizoid ventriloquist.  We had a nice long conversation with Shade Rupe (picture here) from Dark Sky Films and are looking forward to seeing what they will be releasing in the future.

One of the highlights for me personally, was that my son Nick came along on Friday to meet Bruce Campbell.  He's been a fan since watching ARMY OF DARKNESS and EVIL DEAD 2.  He's almost 13, and this was his first 'real' convention and meeting someone that he's seen in movies.  While we did have to wait in line to get his autograph, Campbell was at least spending a minute or two with each person, as oppose to signing their stuff and moving them along.  It made my son's day.  But then he also had fun meeting the other cast members of EVIL DEAD, and especially loved to see the makeup and props in Tom Sullivan's EVIL DEAD Museum.

During the show, the aisle that had Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, Matt McGrory and Michael Berryman was packed just about every time we looked over there.  It's so great to see these talented people getting the attention they deserve.  Bill Moseley is such a fan of the genre, that hearing him talk during these Q&A sessions is like listening to true fellow fan of the genre.  Nothing fake there.  And of course, the very  underrated Sid Haig is always a pleasure to hear.  He's one funny guy and has some awesome stories.  And Matt McGrory is one big man!  You think he's big in the movies, when you are right next to him, he's huge.  But his friendliness is as big as he is.

Other guests included the whole cast of the original EVIL DEAD, who are still just a joy to talk to.  They are very friendly and very receptive to their fans.  This of course includes the man who really created the EVIL DEAD, Tom Sullivan.  We also were able to have Ted Raimi add his signature to our EVIL DEAD 2 poster.  Ted was another guest who is very friendly to the fans and treats them very well.

Another one of our favorite guests was the lovely Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni.  We've met her years ago at a show, and she has been one of our favorites.  She is so wonderful to talk to and is one of those rare guests who loves to meet her fans.  No business here folks, just your good old fashion actress who enjoys meeting her fans for no other reason than just that.  Though, I do have to make a comment about her Q&A.  It was one of the Q&A sessions that I was able to stay through the entire thing.  So I'm not sure how the other sessions went.  But the guy who was running the sessions, really needed to do more of his homework.  At one point, he even mentioned about Coralina working in Spain, which got a great puzzled reaction from her, since she never has.  When someone is up there asking the questions, you would think they would spend more than a few minutes doing a little research on the person they are going to be asking questions of, or at least getting someone up there who knows what they're talking about.  That was pretty disappointing, if not embarrassing.

We did catch a few minutes when Camille Keaton was up on stage.  But it seemed like she was more interested in showing off the clothes that she still had from the movie, as opposed to answering questions.  But like I said, we came in at the very end of it.  So maybe we missed that part.  But none the less, she still looked great after all these years, and was very nice to talk to.

The cast reunion from THE FOG was great.  All of them were very friendly to chat with.  We would have loved to get our poster from THE FOG signed, but at $15 an autograph, I didn't feel like dropping $60 on the poster.  Come on, you didn't think I was going to go the whole report without bitching about paying for autographs?  You did have to buy an autograph ticket for Bruce Campbell, but at least you got a copy of his new book.  So at least you're getting something for your money besides an autograph.  But it seems that is the way of the future.

At the drive-in Friday night, we took too long eating our dinner, so we missed the screening of EVIL DEAD.  But since we've seen that a few times, I wasn't that bummed about it.  Next up, they screened HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES.  Now it had been a while since I have watched that.  So that was a real treat to see that on the big screen again.  And after watching it, I still feel that HOUSE is a lot more intense and grim than REJECTS.  On Saturday night, they screened the premiere of Bruce Campbell's latest film, THE MAN WITH THE SCREAMING BRAIN.  While I did enjoy the 50's sci-fi feel and premise of it, I just didn't get much entertainment out of the silly slapstick humor there.  But after that was the film that I really wanted to see, THE FOG.  But either due to a very long and busy day, the lack of sleep from the night before, or whatever else, I could only manage to stay awake for the first 10 or 15 minutes.  Then came when my brain came up with the idea of "closing my eyes and just listening to the movie," needless to say, I was out like a light.  Oh well, maybe next time.

So once again, Mike & his very helpful Flashback crew have given Chicagoland something that they have been missing for quite a long time.  An annual convention that is more than worth coming to each and every year.  And more importantly, one that put on for the right reasons.  And that is for fans like me, and like Mike Kerz, to get together and celebrate the genre and to have a great time.  Keep it up Mike, and we'll be there again next year for sure.


ADRIENNE BARBEAU

     

TOM ATKINS & CHARLES CYPHERS

 

MICHAEL BERRYMAN

  

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL

  

 

CORALINA CATALDI TASSONI

 

CAMILLE KEATON

     

 

NANCY LOOMIS

  

 

BILL MOSELEY, SID HAIG, & MATT McGORY