In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Shock Stock 2015 Part 2

On Saturday, I checked out of my swanky suite in the morning, but not before sharing an elevator with one of the permanent residents. No sooner had the doors closed that, this old lady turned to me and said,

“You know they're finding AIDS and Hep A in blood products. I'm tellin you, all this sexual immorality has to cease. What do you think?”

I said that things were getting of hand, which she took to mean I wanted to hear her life story about raising several kids on her own in Alberta. Then, mercifully, the doors opened and I was saved by the concierge at the front desk. Apparently, this woman just does this sort of thing.

I walked down the street to Centennial Hall and through the door of the Con. With the screening behind me, I was finally able to get a good look at the floor. There were some new vendors and, like I said before, an increased number overall.

The old standards were in attendance of course, like Suspect Video, The Vault, Twisted T's, Troma, Fangoria, Hollywood Canteen, The Butcher Shop, Black Fawn and Blood In The Snow.

Part 7 mold taken straight from Kane Hodder's own mask.

BITS crew Melanie, Jen & Jason.

There were two newcomers that especially caught my eye. The regular poster vendor in the back corner had been replaced with a new outfit called Poster Mortem. It was basically a guy who was selling off his recently acquired collection of foreign horror posters, of which there were some bee-oots.

The second one was a glass artist company called Slay It Mosaics. There were some great stuff here, very creative and striking work.

Not cheap, but custom glass work never is. Shock Stock always a few local indie filmmakers promoting their works, and this was no different. I have to give a shout-out to Reel Phobia Productions based out of Cambridge, Ontario. Super nice people.

What a great Goddamn title, right? Hopefully these guys get hooked up with Zack for a screening at The Vault, or maybe even a premiere at Blood In The Snow? Stranger things have happened!

I was actually surprised by the amount of VHS this year. Last year, it seemed like the demand had dropped off a bit, but it was back with a vengeance this year. I'd say there were at least ten different sellers schlepping their wares this time around. 

I was very good this year though, and only picked up these.

This was the first time I'd seen Demented in the wild for many years, so I picked that one up for sure. Plus, until the whole Tangerine Dream rights get sorted out, it's gonna be a while before we see an official digital release of The Keep, as well.

As far as guests go, Italian exploitation icon Giovanni Lombardo Radice was really interesting to listen to. You don't really realize how many people he has worked with until you go down the list. Fulci, Deodato, Lenzi, SoaviMargheriti, the list goes on.

He talked about his first role on House on the Edge of the Park, and how he became indispensable on set because he was the only one who could speak all three languages of the cast and crew (Italian, English and French) and also spoke of his experience working with the great Lucio Fulci.

“I'd heard the stories of his screaming and such, but he was always gracious with me. He later told me that sometimes he had to make up problems to keep the crew on edge. If they weren't, they would get sloppy. So I think any bad behaviour on his part was more an act rather than in his nature.”

Actor Giovanni Lombardo Radice.

However, he did not sugar coat his time working on Cannibal Ferox.

“Okay, this is the thing. If you're going to be working in the Amazon, you have to be working with Scorsese. If you're going to be working with Umberto Lenzi, you have to be shooting in the south of France and staying in a five-star hotel. Working with Lenzi in the Amazon was hell, it was a nightmare. God created the Amazon when he was really pissed.”

Radice also mentioned that his autobiography, A Zombie Life would be out later this year.

Speaking together were actors Tony Todd & Eugene Clark. They had great chemistry and riffed off one another. Todd was really excited about his new project, a retelling of Frankenstein. Reunited with Candyman director Bernard Rose, their efforts recently won them best picture at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival. Todd also said he was working on a one man play about the life of boxer Jack Johnson.

Actors Tony Todd & Eugene Clark.

When asked if the two of them would ever appear in a movie together, Eugene replied;

“Nah, they'd never put two brothas in the same movie.”

Later, Edwin Neal did a short Q&A before the retro-screening of 1985's Future Kill. He was every bit as eccentric as his character in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but you know, more in a jovial kind of way, than in a slice you & eat you kind of way.

He said that the question he most gets asked is how they did the shot with the swing;

“Everybody assumes it was really complicated and used like $40,000 crane, Christ, that was almost the whole budget. These big time directors would come up with these elaborate ways we must have done it - and I'd say. 'the girl gets up from the swing and then the two biggest guys on the crew lifted the swing so the camera could pass under it.' They'd just look at me in shock. It just goes to show you, that you don't need big equipment to get some of these shots, just ideas and some strong crew.”

Actor Ed Neal.

When he was talking about Future Kill, he did say that working with particular first-time (and coincidentally last time) director Ron Moore was a challenge.

“Unfortunately, when you're dealing with someone fresh out of school, they spend a lot of time asking the crew 'should I do this? should I do that?' I remember having to palm money to members of the crew just to make sure they didn't walk off the set.”

I hadn't actually seen Future-Kill before, but was obviously familiar with the instantly recognizable H.R. Giger cover art. Even though that cover was probably responsible for hundreds, nay thousands of rentals, it is so good that the movie couldn't possibly live up to it. I didn't mind it though. Sure, it's ultra low budget and its limitations are constantly evident, but its Animal House meets Escape From New York vibe kind of worked.

Later that night was the Scumbag Soiree. It was crazy. I mean, the Shock Stock parties of year's past have been epic, but this one was absolute off the chain. Death metal and self immolation were the warm up acts! And the Miss Shock Stock crowning ceremony was the stuff of legend.

Sharlotte Dresden, Shotzi Blackheart & Sadie Katz.

Think Girls Gone Wild mixed with Backyard Wrestling. Stuff I'd seen on VHS, but never in real life, and within spraying distance. It makes a difference.

After making sure to leave a high score on the bar's Galaga machine, I took off into the night and made the inadvisable three-a.m drive back across the 401. Though still fairly young at five years, this was definitely one of the best editions of Shock Stock I'd say. And now that they've has teamed up with the other new horror entertainment event on the block, Horror-Rama, I see bright things in the near future.

Congrats to the scumbags, Jake & James for another memorable beer & blood drenched event!

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