I’m still basking in the post-Cinema-Wasteland afterglow (that’s me, below, basking in my new “The Thing” hoodie). What a show!As I mentioned in my preview, we were only able to attend on Saturday and Sunday, but what a whirlwind, jam-packed couple of days they were (check out my Storify to see all the tweets using #cinemawasteland, including my own from @andrearogers). We picked up our passes (super-cool, by the way, see the front and back below) and began our Wasteland journey.
The fun started in typical fashion — with The Three Stooges on film. My husband, Dave, and his brother belly-laughed so hard they almost had to leave the movie room. A quick lunch and peak in the dealer room, and we were on to the first big event — the main event, really — the “Street Trash” screening and guest panel. We’re long-time fans of the low-brow, low-budget horror comedy. It’s one of those great gems of the ’80s that could never be made today because it is extremely politically incorrect and a total splatter fest. The promo art for the reunion really sums it up.
In between the movie and the panel, I snapped a quick selfie with Dave. As you can see, we were all smiles, partially because we had some much-needed time away from our little ones, but mostly because we have attended every convention since it started except one (for the birth of our daughter) and it’s the highlight of our Spring and Fall. The panel discussion was perfect — a few wisecracks from Tony Darrow (who starred in “Goodfellas” shortly after he wrapped on “Street Trash”), some great stories from the trenches, and insightful commentary on the special effects from make-up artist Jennifer Aspinall, who is still in the biz today.
Writer and producer Roy Frumkes shared a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story about finding a long-lost, trunk-full of film many years later that is re-told in the making-of documentary, “The Meltdown Memoirs.” I have yet to see that, but definitely need to, so hopefully I remember it right — apparently some of the film was stored in the trunk of a car at the junkyard, which was later raided by the FBI, who then sold the cars at auction, and after many years, someone contacted Frumkes because his name was on the containers in the trunk. And voila! Lost footage found, 2-hour documentary produced.
After the panel, we used the time before our next guest event to get our autographs from the “Street Trash” folks. It was tough to pare it down, but we settled on actor Mike Lackey (who played Fred), writer/producer Roy Frumkes, and make-up artist Jennifer Aspinall.
After starring in “Street Trash,” Lackey went on to a career at Marvel as an artist, and he recently inked a comic adaptation of “Street Trash” that hearkens back to the sleazy indie comics of the ’70s and ’80s.
He not only signed a copy for us, he took the time to draw an original sketch in the back, and snapped a photo with us. Like all the guests at Cinema Wasteland, the “Street Trash” panel members were kind and took the time to share memories and laughs with us. It’s really all about the films and guests at Cinema Wasteland — that’s what makes this a great show that is truly for fans. Up next was “King Kong Escapes,” introduced by actress Linda Miller. Our 4-year-old daughter is a huge Toho fan, and we have been watching “King Kong vs. Godzilla” on repeat since the Easter Bunny left it in her basket (with a Jet Jaguar bank, no less), so we were primed for this one.
What we weren’t prepared for was the heartfelt introduction Miller gave. Although her filmography is short, she has many sweet and funny stories about filming this wacky, action-packed, rubber-suit-monster filled classic in Japan. She expressed genuine gratitude for the warmth and outpouring of love from fans of the film. Here she is with us, posing for a quick photo after we nabbed her autograph. After the movie, we met up with our BFFs for a long, relaxed dinner (burgers, beers and great discussion about movies and music), and we closed the night watching “Green Slime.”
Jump ahead to Sunday morning — we popped into the Christian short, “The Sunshine Factory,” then took a few minutes to peruse the merchandise in the dealer room before watching the made-for-TV movie, “Covenant” on 16 mm. Ken, the show’s organizer, told us that he collects made-for-TV movies on film, and we always enjoy his Sunday morning offerings. I must say, this was a terrible movie — too much hairspray and shoulder pads and hardly any action, plot or character development. Not to mention there was really no ending — it was as if the filmmakers ran out of budget and just rolled the credits. No worries, though — this is part of the charm of Cinema Wasteland. We had a ball making snarky comments under our breath. Our last viewing was The Little Rascals’ “Kid from Borneo,” a short film with those lovable cuties. Good, clean fun — Wasteland style.
Before we headed home to be parental, we shopped for about an hour in the dealer room, and walked away with an impressive haul. I’ll do a more detailed post on our finds later, but here’s a snapshot of everything we took home.