Last weekend, Schwartz & I took the trip west along the 401 to London, Ontario for the second annual Shock Stock.
Shortly after noon, we walked through the doors of the Centennial Hall, and could immediately tell that attendance was up from last year.
Before doing any real shopping though, it was time for the Kane Hodder Q&A.
That started interestingly enough. We were sitting on an aisle, waiting for it to begin when I felt this vice-grip of a hand briefly grab the back of my neck. It was Kane, who kindly said, “Oh sorry” as he walked by. That was good for a laugh, in a 'did that just happen?' kind of way. Having seen him in person three times now, I have to say this was probably the best Q&A. He talked about his newly released book, Unmasked, which not only covers his career, but also a lot of his personal experiences, as well.
Hodder opened up about the incessant bullying he endured as a child, and how he was able to rise above it. This was a side of his life I was unaware of and his words really rang true, having had to go through that shit myself. Apart from his memoir, he announced that Hatchet III will begin shooting in a few weeks. He had just read the script the night before, and said that Adam Green had somehow managed to make it even more violent than the first two. Hodder also mentioned that, like the first one, it'll be shot in New Orleans, rather than the sequel's L.A. set.
The man behind the mask, Kane Hodder.
He also talked about the weirdest thing he'd ever been sent by a fan, which was a crazy letter accompanied by a vial of semen. Somebody asked him if he ever worried or bothered about being typecast, to which he replied;
“No, I always say, it's better to be type cast, than not cast.”
Next up, was Day of the Dead's Capt. Rhodes himself, Joe Pilato. He was a very warm and flamboyant fellow, not at all like his venom-spitting onscreen personna - that is, until his Rave, but more on that in a bit. Pilato talked about working with George A. Romero on Dawn of the Dead – he almost got the part of Flyboy, but they wanted someone who wasn't the same height as Scott Reiniger – and Knightriders, before finally landing the part as Rhodes.
Joe Pilato (right) with Fangoria's Chris Alexander.
He was initally really upset about some of the scathing reviews when Day came out, especially one particularly pointed tongue-lashing he received courtesy of Siskel & Ebert, but is glad to see that the passage of time has made critics re-evaluate it. Someone obviously asked him about the incident with the fermented guts during his death scene, to which he said;
“I can still smell them to this day.”
Toward the end of the Q&A, he seamlessly became Capt. Rhodes for an impromptu episode of his podcast “Rave From The Cave.” So, somewhere soon on the Web, there will be footage of Schwartz & I being called 'puss fucks.'
We then took to the show floor, and saw a lot of regulars from the trade show circuit. Zack from The Vault was there, as was Mike from Hollywood Canteen, Tal from Toronto Cult Paper and Luis from Suspect Video.
Then this booth caught our eye.
When we asked about it, we found out it is a NotLD stage show, set to open next year. It is being directed by Christopher "Evil Dead: The Musical" Bond and executive produced by the man himself, George A. Romero. So, this isn't some fly-by-night operation – like that 3-D shitfest from a few years ago – this is the real deal!
Again, like last year, I don't know what this is for, but I like it.
Oh, in addition to the abundance of VHS at the show, one guy actually had an RCA VideoDisc player set up.
Also at the show, was porn star Joanna Angel. Perhaps the funniest exchange of the weekend happened when we were walking by and she beckoned us over. She asked us how we were doing, and Schwartz asked her some standard questions about where she was from and if she'd been to Canada before. Then I asked;
“So, you're performing tonight at the Goblin show, right?”
Joanna: Yes, I am.
Schwartz: Oh, are you a singer?
Joanna: No, I'll be taking my clothes off.
Schwartz: Oh... well that sounds great.
Later, after Schwartz had to bail, I went to the bar to get ready for a special one-off performance by Euro-rockers Goblin.
Mere words cannot express how awesome the show was. There were moments where it seemed like I was having an out-of-body experience. When a female singer came out on stage and began belting out the bars of Phenomenon theme, I actually started to well up a bit. And you know what Claudio & company did for an encore? Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells & John Carpenter's Halloween. Fucking epic. I ran into Luis after, and he was as lost for words as I was. It was an incredible experience, and, as Shock Stock showrunner James Bialkowski aptly proclaimed, “the stuff of legend.”
Oh yes, the strip show. Well, the London powers that be put the kibosh on that little affair, but in the end, it hardly mattered because Goblin blew the doors off the place. I'm sure Ms. Angel appreciated the night off anyway.
Sunday was a little more low-key, as everyone seemed to running at half-speed due to the previous night's festivities. Unfortunately, the vendor I was going to buy a bunch of stuff from didn't show up, so instead I spent a lot of the day speaking to the Canadian indie filmmakers that came out. I talked to numerous young directors like Torin Langen, Zach Ramelan and Brad Mills about their films, some of which were screening that weekend. Mills' The Legend of the Psychotic Forest Ranger was some campy fun, and a nice capper before heading home.
The Grim Brothers James & Jake should be extremely proud of themselves for what they accomplished here. They didn't let the small numbers of their inaugural year deter them, they soldiered on and used their always impressive contacts and passion to come back twice as strong. Shock Stock Part 2 was one of those rare occasions where the sequel was actually better than the original. And you can put that on the cover box!