The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

Horror Movies

The Nameless

boxmmv5bmddkmwixzwqtnwewnc00ymriltlmztctnjk5nzk0zta3ntfixkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymta0mju0ng-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_The nameless is a study in not enough. It’s a  slow moving story and every element in it (many of which I like) are as underused as that the name is.

It is the story of a woman whose daughter is lost . The first have hour evolves just like any average episode of Law and order or CSI. Police discover the body, theres an investigation, Case closed.

Everything changes when the mother receives a phone call from what sounds like the deceased daughter and she begins to suspect that the body found was not the right one. The story progresses further with the revelation of a  further investigation from both the detective on the case and the reporter from the local tabloid rag. The story really doesn’t pick up though until we’re about halfway through the film – right around the 45 minute mark. It’s a struggle to get here.  Once we start getting into the idea of the cold and investigating the only non-member, things do you start to pick up – there’s an interesting narrative here, it’s just woefully under used. The idea of a cult is inserted at the last minuet… I’m sure it was fleshed out in the writers mind, and we’re told about it, but we see so very little of it – it falls woefully short of the excitement and interest that we get from say, the old 70s Hammer horror where the Satanic cults are in full diabolical display. It seems to me that they’re trying to go for more of the suspenseful atmosphere perhaps, but they don’t quite achieve it – the story just drags, and I feel as if I am watching any procedural cop show on television, just with a teensy bit more blood… Maybe not even that.

Towards the end we get a brief glimpse of one of the characters tortured. It’s the sort of thing that we appeal to the saw crowd, but again it’s just the clips… Not enough of it to be engaging in a torture porn  sort of format. The ending feels like it’s reaching – like it wants to be innovative, esoteric, but it really fails to deliver that I want away from this movie rather disappointing, not because of the bad film, but because I can see t he potential in it for a much better one. This isn’t even as good as the ones on late night TV – it’s perfectly at home in a bundle box set like this, but otherwise nothing to see here, move on…


The Hole

boxmindexDon’t let the cover art fool you, this is not Keira Knightley’s movie. She is a minor character at best here… Well perhaps a little more than that but she certainly not the star of the story!
From IMDB : “Four teenagers at a British private school secretly uncover and explore the depths of a sealed underground hole created decades ago as a possible bomb shelter.  ”

I’m glad that IMDB labels them as teenagers because I wasn’t certian- still not sure if that’s a high school ro a college….

In any event we have the predictable hook ups, booze, jealousy, all of this is standard fare, flashing back to the horrible events of the film. We got through the retelling of the story, and the main character gets out victoriously – it almost feels like the end of the descent that then I checked my watch, only half an hour had passed.  Surely this can’t be it! It wasn’t. The story is from several different perspectives, with the feel of the police procedural going on in the background. In many ways it feels like we’re retelling the story until we get it right – until we get to the truth. It’s an interesting tool but it kills rewatchability…not that I was going to be coming back to this any time soon.

I’m not totally certain that I would classify this as horror or  even suspense. I’m really not sure what it’s doing in this package – the story at its heart, is really more about the breakdown of society – admittedly in a microchasm like this but still, they kind of want to explore the same themes that we see in say, Ramiro zombie films. It’s about what people do to each other in desperate situations. There’s a twist here but you can see it coming 1,000,000 miles away and after a while the repetitive nature of the story makes you wish that they just get to the point already. It’s not a bad film , it does make you squirm a little bit, it makes you uneasy, but it’s not my kind of film that I think it’s time to move along…

Black Christmas 2006

It was the weirdest thing, my wife came home with a DVD in her hand and passed it over to me. “I had some time to kill before my nail appointment, and I saw this and had to get it for you!”

I’m pretty sure I saw this version of Black Christmas before, but it may not have made quite as much of an impact on me… There were things that I remembered, certain beats but all in all it felt fresh, like watching it for the first time.

I’m a great apologist for a lot of remakes. I don’t hate on them simply for the sake of hating on them, but I do understand how this one might have drawn some serious criticism. Black Christmas is a cult favorite, with a very loyal fan base and any sort of a remake was going to inspire hate. Curiously enough, the director himself was a fan of the original and Bob Clark, the director of the original was on set to supervise occasionally.

There’s another thing that probably irritates a lot of the fans of the original… There’s a significant tonal  shift here. You’re bound to get that when you’re going from the 70s film to a New Millennium movie, but it’s more than that. While it’s not official, as far as I’m concerned, the original black Christmas is a giallo. We have an unseen killer, we have POV shots of murederous hands and mysterious phone calls… It’s still kind of  a horror movie, with some original kills and murder and none of the redeeming features of a say an episode of Law and Order, but as horror films go it has more in common with the giallo than other forms of film. There’s a far greater emphasis on the detective work than the stalker. The 2006 film on the other hand, is most definitely a slasher. There’s over-the-top Gore, a deformed stalking killer, and even a trophy reveal towards the end with all the victims piled into one place. The slasher genre isn’t quite as intellectual as the giallo… Not quite as respected.

Here’s the thing though, I don’t like giallo. Give me a good slasher film any day.

That may be why this take on this material appeals to me. In a very real way, it’s a very different film from its namesake. We have a couple of similar titles and names, and a handful of homage set pieces, but other than the fact that you got a killer in a girls dormitory at Christmas time, it’s simply not the same film. Remake is kind of stretching the definition. Reboot might serve it better.

I like the fact that we get to know the killer… Or should I say killers? We’ve got some deformities to make them into monsters and some well thought-out kills. Indeed, the amount of blood and gore in this film actually surprised me – a pleasant surprise mind you and this time around engaged through the whole thing. I got to admit, I really enjoyed this and it’s been enough to get me to check out some of the directors other work – not to mention giving me a reason to pull out the original film complete with Margot Kidder and John Saxon! I’m relying on dim memories for most of my comparisons here and I’d like a refresher.

Maybe we’ll tackle that another time. I’m running out of days until Christmas…


Cult of Chucky

Movie banner22196323_10203791860635041_8806182420006603974_nI have a very casual relationship with the Chucky films – I didn’t even see the first one until perhaps five years ago. It’s probably got everything to do with the conceit that I don’t find the whole scary doll thing intimidating. I think I watch two and skipped three, or perhaps it was the other way around… Either way those sequels didn’t make much of an impression on me… I thought Seed was just too weird, really liked Bride. I think that’s the whole ambivalence towards the scary doll thing talking again… The tonal shift really appealed to me as the films became a little more self-aware around then. Not quite an all out comedy, but very much a comic book type of film – and the addition of Jennifer Tilly to the series was actually a boost.

When Curse of Chucky was announced a couple of years ago, I found myself interested in the soft reboot. I wasn’t sure how this would work, going back to a more serious tone but all of the early reviews came in very positive. Once I finally caught it, I enjoyed the modern style and more serious tone. They played it straight without taking the material to seriously – it was a perfect balance, and they still acknowledged the continuity! This is something that has always impressed me about the Chucky franchise, particularly now that we are into some much later sequelsspread across the decades. They have never abandoned the continuity or gone for a complete revamp. In this day of remakes and relaunchs, that’s a brave and impressive and remarkable feat.
Cult of Chucky manages to be both a direct sequel to Curse, while still retaining its place as a general sequel to the childs play series. Again, no mean feat –  particuarly since it manages to come up with a reasonably interesting take on the material. It immediately draws you in and gets you on board with the film.  There was a little bit of jumping early on, but they managed to get you invested very quickly. Not only is Fiona Doruff back, but also returning is Alex Vincent – the actor from the very first Chucky movie, and with him is a scarred, mutilated Chucky head – still talking it little lips off.

Vincent is actually woefully underused in this film, his appearance comprising at best a “B”storyline that doesn’t quite pay off in the end… But that’s really where the problem lies. This movie is very much the second entry in a trilogy, and while I’m thoroughly entertained by 90% of it, that last 10% left me hanging and unfulfilled.  That’s the real disappointment here, there is ways to do a middle entry where it still resolves enough at the end to leave you satisfied – Empire Strikes Back did it. Heck, even Star Trek 3 managed it. With this movie, I’m left hanging without the knowledge of whether or not they’ll be a sequel – and there’s the rub.

Cult of Chucky leaked online about a week and a half early, which is going to affect the performance numbers. This in particular annoys me because the film was literally coming to Netflix a week or two later. I’m not above a little bit of piracy when something is not readily available – not in stores, not on any streaming service, out of print and therefore prohibitively expensive, or is only showing for three nights in one theatre in Albuquerque… That wasn’t the case here.  It wasn’t even going to the theatre, not some limited release, it was coming to fricking Netflix (and others!)! This is available to all. Come on guys! You’re ruining it for us all!

Quite frankly, I find myself wishing they had filmed this and the next entry back to back – done in such a way where they can tag a trailer at the end of the film (like Lord of the Rings or Back to the Future part two) to build up anticipation. As it is I find myself sitting here hoping that piracy hasn’t sunk this franchise just as it was getting back on its feet. I don’t want to wait another 14 years for the closing chapter of the story arc, much the way I had to with the Phantasm series.

Still, if you can get past the dangling threads of the ending, this is a fun film – It’s been compared a lot to Nightmare three, a comparison that is well earned in a lot of ways, but don’t expect more than homage from it. Fire up Netflix and give this one a shot – and while you’re at it, if you’re interested in knowing what I thought of the movie as I was watching it, you can keep this transcript handy – where I was jotting my thoughts down as the film rolled!

Matthew Skelly Oh please let his date be the first one to get it!

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Holy crap. You can’t be keeping the real one in that safe….

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Okay, you know what? I’m sold.

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Hmmmm. Shocking.

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Who exactly is that supposed to be? Surely not the babysitter… Time to hit IMDb

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly I thought she was supposed to be dead from the waist down

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Oh you have got to be kidding me. As far as bad idea to go, on a scale of 1 to 10 this is about a 3000

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Is Michael Phelps really retired?

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Hello, legs.

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Squeeeee! Jennifer Tilly!

 Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly How many of those things are out there anyhow?

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Nooooooooo! What is this, psycho?

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Wow. That’s an impressive thread work. I would have bet dream sequence

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Okay now hes just being obnoxious

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Cool, it wasn’t just a cameo!

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly So we’ve acknowledged the rest of the sequels is Canon.

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Oh, he’s going to fry your tuchas for that doc.

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly You thought we were away past this, so you thrust the object of her obsession in her face? What kind of an idiot are you?


Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Dude, we’re so far past “bad idea ” that I can’t even see it in the rearview mirror anymore

Matthew SkellyMatthew Skelly Don’t tell me they’re both cursed.
Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly WHAT DID YOU JUST DO??????

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Wait, is he in on it? Or possessed in some way? I think we may be playing with A whole new rule book here…

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Peekaboo!

Matthew Skelly Please let him take off like a rocket… No… Wow!
Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly And now the only person in this film that had any senses dead…

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly How many safes does this guy have, and why is he keeping that in there?

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Okay, that’s two things aren’t mutually exclusive.

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly So how long is this been going on?
Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly But I guess they’re not in cahoots…

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Our man, did we all of a sudden just go all Rob zombies Halloween 2 here?

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Man, the drawing is scarier than the doll

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Well, I think we can all guess where that pencil is going.

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Um I didn’t know they were equipped for that…

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly I’m pretty sure I already know what the word disembowel means.

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly There’s going to be a burp here isn’t there?

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly OMG, it IS Psycho!

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Yeah, that doll is not big on forgiveness….

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Arrived just in time for the third act!

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Half an hour left, I really like more information on how the whole cult thing works

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly What do you think she’s going to do? Hang herself with the dolls shoelaces? – That nurse better be the next one to get it!

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Now, aren’t you glad you took the dolls shoe away, instead of doing something useful like – putting a camera in there or something?

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly He’s never going to get that thing back you know…

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Okay, I understand you’re crippled, but how did Chuckie manage the straitjacket?

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Didn’t we just do this 20 minutes ago?

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Bookmarking voodoo for

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Not as much of an explanation as I’d hoped for – but way to earn that hard r rating guys!

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly I so love Jennifer Tilly!

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly This is going to be messy isn’t it? Those shoes are red for a reason I bet…

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Wait, that’s not how this end is it?

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Holy crap, I was right! Back at the graveside, I was right!

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Well, mostly right… These schizophrenics are throwing me off

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly And now back to the “B “storyline

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly So what you’re saying is, it wasn’t possessed one arrived – we watched it happen.

Matthew Skelly
Matthew Skelly Grrrrrr, I’m not sold on the ending – this is obviously the middle chapter of something


gamermaxresdefaultToday’s cinematic atrocity is Arcade! It’s a Full Moon classic starring little Ralphie from a Christmas Story and Q from Star Trek : the next generation. It also features a VERY young Seth Green and is pretty worth watching just for that.

I’ve had to defend the special effects in the past though – if you look there on that old VHS box, you’ll notice it exclaims “virtual reality special Effects”! They may be pushing the definition of virtual reality – they might be pushing the definition of special effects for that matter… Zacherly used to refer to certain SFX as special DEFECTS, and that’s far more appropriate here. There is a lot of primitive CG splashed up against a blue screen – and what’s really frightening is the original set of special effects were even more primitive, to the point where Charles Band put the movie on hold until they could find somebody who could do you something little better.

The original version of the CG villain had no moving parts – he was a far more blocky solid character, where as the finished product as a bit more personality and movement to it. You can get a glimpse of what it would’ve looked like at the beginning of the video zone featurette’s at the end of every full moon videotape. Those graphics have a lot more in common with Tron – not a bad movie, but back in 1993 that look was quite seriously behind the times. You can see huge differences between the two pictures below – the very static face of Arcade, a mask  really with no movement except shadows from the flickering lights behind the mask, transport that looked more like light cycles than liquid metal terminators, and a title font that would look extremely cool in a children’s cartoon but not in an r-rated horror movie. It’s stuff that would pass on VR Troopers or in an 80’s movie, but not in ’93, not after T2 had redefined CG forever (or at least until The Matrix arrived seven years later)

I’ve seen some of those original,and  I can see why they decided to redo the effects. Not just the models, we also go from grids and gradients to textured backgrounds with clouds and atmosphere. Electrical effects and far more detail. The original effects were simpler. They took less time to create (one or two moving pieces and slap a bitmap on it for color) and would take FAR less time to render. The finished effects have multiple textures applied, with great detail, are made up of far more polygons and include more lighting effects. The difference in both build time and render time must have increased by months.

Despite the computer generated FX even worse than those in the Lawmower Man, I’m a fan of this film. The CG does not age well, but it’s not meant to – and you can forgive it because of that.

The story is practically paint by numbers. New game put out, someone developed AI. AI turns evil. The girl who can’t play video games is the one who has to save the day.

Despite that, it has the sense of fun and adventure that Full Moon Films typically have. I really love watching this, and another big selling point here is the cast. These are all kids (at the time anyhow), and you can tell they are all having a genuinely good time with each other. watching the behind the scenes feature in particular REALLY brings this out.

Can I talk a little about the actual video arcade they feature in this movie? Because seriously, this place is awesome. A little basement hole-in-the-wall with black lights and glowing stickers all over? A nice mix of old games and new, man I would have loved this place and spent every dollar I ever made if I’d had one of these joints in the 90’s. The only arcades around here were at the Mall and the Bowling Alley. This however, this feels real. It feels like a teenage hangout and it made me want to be there. It’s little details like this that I’m talking about, this is the stuff that makes a mediocre film come alive and entertain.

Truth is, this is a FUN movie. You forget about the low budget, Even though the effects make you feel like you crawled in to your Packard Bell micro tower to play DOOM  you don’t care. This isn’t T2 or the Lawnmower man. You didn’t pick this up to stare at the pretty SFX. Sure you can see that plot twist coming a mile away, but you’ll find yourself rooting for it anyhow.

You’ll see it on the shelf at the Record Exchange or Flea market sometimes. It’s sure to be on Full Moon Streaming. Seriously, give this one a try some lazy Sunday afternooon. It’s got to be better than watching the Browns lose.


boxdwMy first thought when I saw this, was “cool! Denise Crosby is in this! ”

mv5bmtq1mdu3nzy2ov5bml5banbnxkftztcwntuznzizmq-_v1_uy268_cr50182268_al_I wonder if anybody ever asks her about this one? Her inclusion in the movie actually makes it feel a little bit more like pet semetary– and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I guess Mortuary is basically a stylised zombie story? There is a findish sort of moss that turns people into the walking dead – you don’t necessarily have to be bitten either. I almost feel like we also have a kind of Lovecraft story going on with a vast monster hiding behind the mortuary itself.  This is a solid fun horror film – it’s not going to win any awards and the 90s CG I is actually looking pretty dated, but it’s forgiveable because of the period and because they’re trying to create something that looks otherworldly done kinder in the way that stop motion is forgiveable on monsters because we knows? Maybe that’s just the way they move down there some fun make-up choices here as well – green beans on action faces things that point back to the plant-based nature of this infection doesn’t think kind of the Stephen King segment show. I like this that it’s probably one that upload again or have running at a Halloween party… I’m not convinced that it’s the best offering in this sad, but it certainly one of the highlights.

Night train to terror

boxftdnight_train_to_terror_poster_01For some strange reason, I can’t remember anything about this film except the band. I know I’ve seen it in the past, but honestly as I looked at it and was kind of drawing a blank so I thought I’d throw it in for a viewing while I was watching the rest of this collection. I still can’t believe that I just don’t remember any of this! It’s an anthology film with three stories told against the backdrop of a train ride to heaven or hell – we’re not exactly told which. God and the Devil are examining the lives of certain people and bargaining for who is going to go where.

During these framing sequences, we also get treated to an extremely 80s rock band playing the same song over and over again. It’s not aparticularly good or bad tune but it does get stuck in your head.

There’s stories about the devil trying to recruit as well as tales of mad scientists and doctors of using patients… I can’t believe I forgot Richard Moll is in this! He plays two different characters into different segments! I love Richard, I especially love his exploitation and horror work – and I told him that myself by the way. Of all the people from my favorite Sitcom;Night Court, he has by far had the most interesting career. Night Train to Terror is a fun film, it’s very much a product of its time and also very much a direct to video kind of film. The back and forth between God and the Devil – I can’t argue the conceit, but it does come off as cheesy. So does the band. The vignettes are utterly forgettable, indeed, Not only have I forgotten them once… But even as I attempt to write this article the stories are a little fuzzy. It’s a nice quick watch though – and really good fodder for horror hosts (in fact that maybe where I’ve seen this previously), More than anything and I can say for this, is that it is a fun film – and definately a recommend. I’d even go as far as to say this one is a buy. You can usually find it cheap, and considering I can never remember these plots – it’s a great value because I feel like you’re seeing a new movie every time!

The farm

boxftdthe-farm-survive-the-dead-dvd-cover-fsk-18For a low-budget micro production, the farm sure does feel like it’s got some good production values. he film is shot well and the actors are reasonably competent done the problem with the bar, is that it takes itself way too seriously. This wants to be a serious interpersonal drama with musings on mortality and purpose – but it doesn’t earn it.

Moreover it’s a zombie film that forgotten that it’s a zombie film. The monsters are somewhat alluded to – that is, we know there is a thread out there, but we don’t actually see the zombies until we are well past the half way point here.

This is the story of two brothers that have survived a zombie apocalypse on the family farm, when a girl stumbles into their life searching for her sister – a sister that they had just killed moments before she turned up. The story is actually much simpler than that, it’s looking at the wounded younger brother, the protective over older brother, and let’s go get some supplies so that we can actually shoehorn some zombies into this story. I think this film could work better if they attempted to have fun with that. If they injected some core humour… But the film insists on itself, and this makes it come off as way too heavy handed. It wants to be an art film instead of a zombie film, but in doing so it succeeds it being neither.

The greatest care is given to the brothers make up, which is an interesting scarring along with the missing arm – it’s cleverly pulled off, though it’s fairly simple see how it’s been done and the greasepaint doesn’t always match his skin tone. The zombies on the other hand are far simpler – shambling ragged clothes with blood poured over them. I’m a little less impressed by this. In some ways it almost feels like someone wanted to make the walking dead but didn’t want to put in the effort. Really that’s the perfect way to sum up this film – it’s the sort of thing I’d expect to see at a film festival with dozens of other movies, or in a film class where the student is just a little bit too impressed with himself. This one is definitely a pass.

Eaters : Rise of the dead

boxftdeaters__rise_of_the_dead_eaters_dvd_s5_03bEaters : Rise of the dead is a by the number is zombie’s right out of the Romero playbook, zombie outbreak and fall of society. Very standard fare, with a lot of actors who are definitely into horror and genre films. The zombies here are viral, not quite as fast as rage zombies but certainly that same origin done make up is good, the splatter is fun and the filmmakers are trying very hard to make an enjoyable film. They realise this is not art, and there are definately not trying for a high concept piece here.  It’s good bloody fun to throw on and play in the background at a party or will you do something’s exactly the sort of thing that I expect to see a compatible like cinema wasteland done it also exactly the sort of film that I could see myself renting back in my College days. It’s a recommend, but a shaky one. Go in with low expectations and you’ll have fun.

Wasteland 2017


As the blue skull face alien stepped up to the urinal, a blood soaked priest burst out of one of the stalls.  The crimson stains on his white vestments matched the red pus oozing out of the recesses in the zombie-like aliens face.

“Is that Skelly over there?” The priest yelled out as he was joined by another man slowly been eaten by the zombie on his shoulder.
What’s funny is the part I find most disturbing about the scene, is that there are guys actually talking to each other in the bathroom – it’s kind of a violation of bro code, whereas everything else I’ve described here is perfectly normal for Cinema Wasteland.  Strap in. You know it’s going to be a long post when I can’t get it out on Monday….


S17800442_10211327814345393_3971375962380807217_nometimes Fridays are a slow night, where you ease yourself in with the short film block and panels, other times it’s just as busy as Saturday.  This time around I came in, greeted friends and grabbed my autographs because it looked like it was going to be a busy day. They had already been busy, braving the snow that Cleveland had dumped on us overnight. As I sat at work Friday morning I watched as Wastelanders built a snowman in the hotel yard. My friend Bruce Wayne was in attendance this year and I had his room number, so as soon as I arrived, I started to post Superman pictures on the door to his weekend batcave. Then it was time to pop over to some of the guests – this time round we were doing a Night of the Living17861849_10211337550828799_5904138464313148965_n Dead Reunion, and Wasteland had brought in a number of the stars.  It just so happens that my daughter is making her own zombie video at this very moment and I spent some time securing cameos for her movie. Stuff like this is one of the joys of small conventions; you have time to spend with the guests and get a greater  connection.

I discovered I had some time to kill between panels and movies so I  made my way over to the Mummy and the Monkeys show.  They were screening King of the Zombies, a film I’m very fond of – Mantan Moreland was a genius and because this is in the public domain it’s a horror host staple.  As the mummy, Janet Decay did  her segment I gasped with delight.  She covered one of our local zombie walks, and I found myself appearing in the video – a zombie clad in iron man out armor carrying around a skeletal Spiderman.  This is actually the Second time I’ve appeared on the Mummy and the Monkey, and that’s not 17800239_1498628463514905_8764492152077863591_neven counting my appearance on Janet’s previous show.

I slipped out of there in time to catch the first panel – Rick Cazoine is an animator whose work you seen even if you don’t realize it.  He did the end credits for Night of the Living Dead, as well as the animation for Creepshow, and even some work on Evil Dead two.  With that kind of a filmography under his belt, you can imagine this was a fascinating talk. Rick came prepared, complete with a slideshow covering his career – it was a really fun way of transcending the normal movie panel chitchat, and made it all the mor17554302_1498630080181410_5279314687070247217_ne engrossing.

After pasting more Superman on Bruce’s door, I snuck into to Gunga Jim’s screening.  I really like Jim and his approach to her hosting, the commentary that he lays over tracks is always hilarious – unexpectedly so sometimes.  He passed out graduation caps and introuced his presentation for the evening. Cinema Wasteland is basically a show that celebrates bad movies, but the Bigfoot movie that Gunga was screening this weekend was so  terrible I couldn’t even manage to get past the half an hour mark.  I struggled from the room in search of my team for that nights trivia challenge.

The Red Robsters were all huddled around a table in the bar as Nicole tried in vain to set up 17522709_1498654336845651_6431376287077201369_na Skype session with Angelique and her sainted fiancé – the two of them had to unexpectedly cancel their trip wasteland this year and we were all missing them back in Georgia.  We got the video working, but the audio never came through which was just as well – the noise level in the bar was so high that she probably wouldn’t of been able to hear us anyhow.  We communicated through Skype by holding up handwritten notes to each other, jokes and sketches and general wasteland like conversation.  It was by far my favorite part of the night.
The trivia contest itself was a bust, taking too long, with the organization too confusing not to mention the questions being really stinking hard! I17759684_1498654296845655_7743526498048440778_n figured the questions would be similar to the ones we used to get during Ghastlee night at the movies, when we played 42nd Street Pete’s 42 questions. No such luck, these questions were truly obscure and crazy difficult stuff. I threw my graduation cap down in disgust

“It’s like this doesn’t work at all! Look this cap comes right off!” I exclamed as Nicole grabbed a knife and tried to take out the competition.

The game ran long and I missed the final movie of the night leaving me tired and about ready to be done for the day.  I politely declined everybody’s invitation to head back to the hotel room and eat junk food while watching the Greasy Strangler in favor of running home and heading the hay, to be fresh for the next day.

swag17884091_1498654346845650_1307033040306387782_nAfter getting up, making the girls breakfast, and then presenting them and my wife with the surprises I had brought them from Wasteland I was back in the car and ready for day two.

Saturday is always the big day in Wasteland.  There are movies galore, not to mention panels and events.  With two Night of the Living Dead panels, split between the actress and the original investors, even the most diehard fan was going to learn something new about the seminal classic.


17884303_1498654186845666_3448893362343830586_nI managed to sneak out for lunch with friends and then shuffle into my make up between panels.  I was trying out a They Live look…it’s a make-up I’ve never quite perfected – and Saturday was no exception.  Everything is still a little bit too big, the chin hangs down to low, and the eyes are too bulky.  They also didn’t want to stay in place.  I had tried these out at home previously, but only for a short while – just to see if they would stay when I put them in and to discover whether or not is was possible to hold them in with my eyebrows and cheeks; much like a monocle.  It was okay at first, but after 20 minutes they started popping up and did not want to stay in any longer.  I ended up sealing them in with liquid latex (Spirit Gum didn’t hold either), which meant the bug eyes would render everything around me somewhat blurry for the next six hours.

17861941_1498654110179007_567041073323952008_nOutside the convention hotel, I grabbed Rhonda and Criss and we sat and played her new board game “go to hell! “.  Rhonda is the only person that I know who brings card games and board games to a convention, but really it’s a brilliant idea. It’s a great way to fill some of the dead spots between movies and panels, not to mention giving the smokers something to do while they feed their addiction in exile.


17883679_1500544996656585_6659400803700577757_nI slapped some more Superman stuff on Bruce’s door, only to discover that I wasn’t the only one doing this now! There were superman towels and stuff there that I hadn’t taped up there. I added a few more contributions and headed back down the hall, because it was time for Ghastlee Night at the Movies.

This is always my favorite part of the convention, with bizarre games and activities going on after the house band opens the ceremonies.  I jumped up for the first game, and found myself standing on the stage with Rhonda and another young man who was attending wasteland for the very first time. We played a game where they revealed movie posters and characters on the screen, one small part at a time – the goal was to guess the character with as little of it showing as possible.  Ghastlee came 17522939_1503415986338320_1664212113282158932_nup to me to introduce me as one of the players and ask my name.  “My name is Matt, “I replied.  Ghastlee stepped back for a second, aghast.
“Oh my God, it really is Matt! “He turned to the audience.  “Matt’s a friend, and I didn’t recognize him with all that stuff on his face! “. Yes, the game is off to a roaring start.

“And the picture is – Ghastlee’s wedding night video! ”
“Oh God, I hope not – if that’s the case EVERYONE loses! ”
“Hey, YOU wanna come up here and host this thing? I didn’t think so! ”

Of course, keep in mind that my vision is impaired – and we are playing a picture game. 17800358_1498653890179029_5866221005921311980_n How I won this one by correctly identifying Tarman from Return of the Living Dead is absolutely beyond me. It may have had to do with me clapping my hands over Rhonda’s eyes when it was her turn to guess…. The festivities carried on with murder mysteries, appalling displays, and of course the S@#%heel of the year award.  I tried with all my might to sway the vote for Ryan, but alas it was to no avail.17884494_1498653750179043_1034277653258080956_n

17862595_1498653963512355_1318173451403085632_nAs things wound down, I ran to the bathroom to peel off my make up before the late nights screenings.  It was clinging much harder to my face then I had expected and had dried into something somewhat different than the look I had intended.  Like I said earlier, I really need to refine this particular lock.

Sundays are always a bit melancholy and I frequently skip them.  It’s a day to say goodbye to everybody, and catch up on any films that you may have missed throughout the weekend. It’s also cheaper day so people like my friend Sean will pop in just to shop on 17799288_1498654170179001_340389264604830501_nthose days. Still, everyone is moving just a bit slower than usual – my friend Jason refers to Sundays at Wasteland as “the unofficial Strongsville zombie walk”.  The film selection this Sunday gave me a very VHS vibe.  They really felt like the sort of movies that I’d pull off the shelf at Heights Video  on the Friday evening to take home with a pizza and friends.  Let Sleeping Corpses Lie is a slower film but has moments of magnificent gore, and the style that is very distinct.  The same can’t be said for Nightmare City, which seems to break all rules of zombies by having them cognizant, fast, and using tools and weapons.  Really not sure what I was watching here!

17800493_1312408058796108_1108683952491348577_nIn between my two features, I managed to sneak back in for the tail end of the 16 mm screening of Night of the Living Dead – it was about half over, but still worth watching.  Midafternoon on Sunday feels like a good time for this movie and I let myself be drawn in with the familiar faces – faces that I had just spoken to over the weekend.

I tried not to glance at the dealers room as I left. It always feel sad to see them packing everything up and to watch people checking out of the hotel, but it’s okay – because it will all be back in just six months. My friend Nicole says “You know why Wasteland is only three days? Any longer and God would notice and rain fire on us.”

See you in October.