Media & Copyright
War & Peace
Horror Film Aesthetics
Horror Film Festivals
Horror Film Reviews
Tabloid Witch Awards
SCREAMFEST 2003 HAUNTS FLORIDA
by Luis Calvo, guest contributor.
[November 15, 2003]
I was never a major horror movie buff. A film freak, yes. But
slasher films, movies designed to make you shiver, hadn't been my cup of
However, on November 8-9, I discovered another world of B-movies
and low-budget terrors. For $20 (for two days) I visited Screamfest
2003, at the Holiday Inn in Plantation, Florida, the first of an annual
event planned by KMG Productions.
It drew many guests, plus the red
Plymouth from Stephen King's Christine,
parked outside the hotel.
guests included Gunnar Hansen, the original Leatherface in The
Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Phantasm star Reggie Bannister and his wife, Nightmarez
Café hostess Gigi Bannister; scream queen Linnea Quigley; former
soap-star-turned-scream queen Robyn Griggs; character actors Glenn Shadix,
Ken Foree, and Vernon G. Wells; cult filmmaker Herschell
Gordon Lewis; and former Misfits drummer Joey Image.
the weekend in the Celebrity Room, where celebs signed and sold photos
-- or signed any videos or posters brought to them!
Makeup man Barry
Anderson brought some heads with him. (Fake ones!) Joey Image
signed drum cymbals. Gidget Gein, original bass player for Marilyn
Manson and the Spooky Kids, displayed some wicked art.
(the graveyard zombie in Night
of the Living Dead) wore zombie makeup and shredded clothes. (Maybe he just had a rough flight from Pennsylvania?)
|| I asked
Edwin Neal (Chainsaw's
original hitchhiker), about being cast in a bit part in Oliver
wanted to do was talk about Chainsaw,"
Neal said. "He saw it on my resumé, called me over and asked
me about this one shot in the movie. He thought it was some heavy
machinery. It was just two big guys carrying the camera."
revealed what they used for the warts on his face in Chainsaw:
Clayton and Sharon Cecatti Hill, zombies in Dawn
of the Dead, were also present. Sharon played the nurse from
Room was a movie buff's paradise of DVDs and videos. At registration,
we got goody bags containing the Freakshow DVD (starring Hansen) and I told myself I wouldn't buy too many things. That is until, buried in a garden of Asian action movies, I found a five-hour
workprint of Apocalypse
I'd felt dissatisfied with the redux
version two years ago, and the DVD case promised to reveal what happened
to Dennis Hopper's stoned journalist. I'd always wondered about him.
Indie filmmakers' display booths included a young man who was soundman
on Filthy. I promised to see Filthy at next day's screening,
but it began earlier than expected. I only caught the last few minutes
-- enough for me to buy a copy.
redheaded actress Sheyenne
Rivers was promoting three new films by Florida filmmaker Robert J.
Massetti. Rivers appears in Massetti's Realms of Blood, due
on DVD next year. She's also ScreamQueen.com's November Scream
Queen of the Month.
Seeing Rivers confirmed this being a film
out of the Celebrity Room just before heavy rain trapped the others. The rain also canceled plans for poolside movie screenings, so everyone
headed to the bar to hear some bands: Death
Becomes You and Fantasie.
Quigley also performed with a pal -- they call themselves The Skirts -- and Joey Image joined them on drums.
drinks, I went to the men's room, and returning to the bar, I noticed Texas
Chainsaw Massacre playing in the event's room.
sat two seats into the first row, and I slid beside him. As the film's
bizarre climax (Neal slits the poor heroine's finger and his grandpa drinks
blood from it) unfolded to giggles from the audience, Hansen walked out,
a smile on his face.
I looked around, and a girl gave me thumbs-up.
die now," I said. The audience burst into laughter.
proud, glad I came, I returned to the bar.
Broom, a comic artist who drove from Orlando and bunked with new-found
friends, was doodling and sketching patrons.
was a nice guy who chatted with fans late into the night. I'd never
seen any of his films. First time in my life I'd felt guilty about
something like that.
lobby, a band member dropped his shorts and mooned the folks mingling outside
the bar. He bent low enough to show horror fans more than they wanted
jaw-dropping Griggs gasped, "It is always the guys who don't have anything
[to show] that do stuff like that."
Indiana filmmaker Soloman Mortamur didn't sleep much from excitement that
first night. He'd cast Hansen, Neal, and Image in his low budget
film It Came From Trafalgar -- which already features Quigley, Brinke
Stevens, Conrad Brooks, and Hank Williams III. Mortamur shot scenes
in the hotel.
was talk of a Screamfest 2004. The promoter, a long-haired fellow
named Pete, was in good spirits. A bartender, Dan, enjoying his last
day there before embarking on a job as editor at a local TV station, said
he'd never had such a busy day.
Copyright 2003 by Luis Calvo.
|Are YOU a horror filmmaker seeking publicity? Be sure to enter the Hollywood
Investigator's Tabloid Witch Awards!
Screamfest horror convention is not to be confused with Los Angeles's Screamfest
L.A. film festival, nor with Shriekfest.
Tell Us What YOU Think! -- On Our Message