Cinema Wasteland recap: Hitchcock and Psychos

I kicked off the month of October in true form — with my hometown horror convention, Cinema Wasteland. I can’t say it enough, but this really is my favorite convention — the guests, films, event lineup and vendors are perfectly suited to my taste, budget and Midwestern sensibility (I like friendly and easygoing people).

With my time limited by budget and family constraints, I only had Saturday afternoon to do the Wasteland, but I made the most of it.

I had the chance to watch 2 flicks I’ve never seen — “Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Final Performance” and “Psychos in Love.” Both were accompanied by guest Q & A sessions.

“Final Performance” was a pleasant surprise — I haven’t seen any of the episodes of this ’60s Hitchcock series, but if there are more like this, then count me in. It was by Robert Bloch, who also wrote “Psycho” and there are plenty of similarities — creepy innkeeper in an isolated outpost, anyone?

The story goes like this. A TV writer on his way to Hollywood gets stopped by a woman running through the countryside. He picks her up and agrees to let her ride along, only to be stopped for speeding a short while later by the town sheriff. The girl spins a yarn about being kidnapped, and the sheriff tells the writer to come into town. Only his car won’t start, so he gets a tow and is stuck there in town, at a suspicious motel owned by an older gentleman. The tension is high as he realizes not all is as it seems, and there’s a fantastic twist ending.

Following “Final Performance,” actress Sharon Farrell (pictured middle, with interviewers Art Ettinger of Ultra Violent magazine (far left) and Ken, the Cinema Wasteland showrunner) did a Q & A session with the audience. She wrote a book about her time in Hollywood and was candid about her relationships with some leading men from the era, including Steve McQueen and Bruce Lee.

The discussion was intimate and personal, and Farrell broke down in tears when she discussed some of her recent struggles. Moments like this are where Cinema Wasteland really shines — it’s not a cookie-cutter experience. It’s real and personal, and sometimes a bit messy.

After a fun dinner and drinks with friends, we sat down for a Q & A discussion with the star and writer of “Psychos in Love, “Carmine Capobianco (pictured left, with Ettinger). Capobianco was right at home at Cinema Wasteland — he was funny and personable, and shared some hilarious stories.

“Psychos in Love” played immediately afterward. It’s a bloody, low-budget, laugh-out-loud horror comedy. For this murderino, it was a perfect way to wrap the night.

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