Feeling old, everyone is so young tattooed, pierced and in black and here I am in their midst 51 with a bad knee and overweight in a polo shirt and jeans. Rock and Shock the (what's the style of rock music? I don't even know death metal?) and horror convention began at 5:30pm at the DCU center today. I showed up and appreciated the parking directly across the street, the restaurants close by the well organized crew at the event. It took maybe 10 minutes to get into the convention hall a space filled with movies, books, arts tattoos and collectibles. It being my first convention ever I was less than organized and had no idea what to do with myself. I wandered a bit and accidentally found the celebrity signing area. It was so empty that I thought that I entered before it was opened. Not sure what to do I hung back and watched what was happening. A line had formed in one corner and I was thrilled to see the unmistakable visage of the master George Romero. By far the star of this show I made my way to that line as the first person I wanted to meet. Quick as can be I was faced with what to have him sign. A poster? An image of himself? OR How about that original replica script of Dawn of the Dead for $65. Lets remember that I was the guy when who thought these events are just a giant money suck without the happy ending. I have to admit it is that but the ending is not so bad. Each person I talked to was enthusiastic about the horror related art they created and the three signings I went to each person was kind and gracious. Mr Romero signed my script and offered to take a photo, he chatted and was very nice. I have to admit I was star struck. His movies more than any are responsible for my love of horror and it was the greatest honor to meet him.
Next to him was Rachel True and diagonally across this corner Traci Lords but for me to the left of Rachel was Tom DeNucci, maybe not the most recognizable name but having recently seen his film Almost Mercy was was happy to have Tom be my second visit. That film while lower in budget does some things really right. First it has a wonderfully draw pair of protagonists, their stories are balanced with supporting roles that are from known actors stretching themselves to play against type. The voice over is a an example of a well used example of that device. Finally the turn in the script is so well executed and the character involved fits the turn so it all works very well. I am not giving anything away here so you make a point to seek him out and watch this film.
Realizing that I was a newbie and had no way to carry all the shit I was collecting I made my way to the Troma booth to say hello and to purchase a nice bag to carry my collection of signed items. Back in the signing area I made my way to Felissa Rose the wonderful actress famous for Sleepaway Camp. She was the nicest most giving person I met. She loves her fans and we love her and meeting her was more of a conversation. A really great experience. She does a sell of an image with her that her assistant takes and is posted on her website. I honestly did not mind giving her $20 of my hard earned money. She was so genuine and friendly she seem to really appreciate all the people who visit her. I have followed her on Instagram for a bit and already know that this was true. She is such a loving Mom and hard working actress it was great to meet her in person. While standing in line to see Felissa I was handed something by a guy and when I turned to see who it was there standing before me were William Hellfire and Erin Russ, writer, Director and Star, respectively of the film I came out to see tonight, Upsidedown Cross (2014). Thrilled I was sure to let them know I was coming to the file at 7:30pm.
The film room was sort of out of the way, on the third floor and around back but the locations were easy enough to find with signage pointing the way. Sparsely attended but enthusiastically received the film tells a straight forward story of a shady priest and the exorcism of Nadine (Erin Russ), a junkie who returned to live with her religious mother (Colleen Cohan) after her boyfriend, pimp is arrested by the police. Mom who is losing her house with a "God will provide" attitude feels her daughter is possessed by a demon and calls the Preacher (David Yow) to perform the exorcism. The rest of the story is a depiction of that intervention and its unfortunate (for Nadine) cost. The film is well executed both in film and sound considering the micro-budget nature of the production. The music is an enhancement but is noticeably missing from late first act to early second act as the exorcism start towards the turn. This middle half hour is a bit flat and could have used a upping of the ante in a more dramatic way. Even a base tone that changed to add emphasis to the change in the Preacher's behavior could have helped this section of the film. The plot also was a bit to simplistic lacking a subtext other than the motivations of the Preacher. I wanted more, a close call with the Mom, or her second guessing after seeing some intervention she was not intended to see. A suggestion that the possession was real, there was a hint but it was dispelled quickly, or maybe that the Mom was the actual possessed person, but lets not rewrite the movie here. For a super low budget movie it is made with skill but missed a couple notes that would make it better.
I did not get to stay around to talk about the movie but I am going to make a point to give some unwanted feedback if I see them again in the next couple days. So considering my humbug attitude I think I actually had a very good time at Rock and Shock tonight. I will add images later of the stuff I bought from the great vendors and the links to the great artists here
Day 2: Well I have to say that the first day was all I really needed from this event. I did go over again and found my way to she shorts program featuring New England films. It was pretty enjoyable with six shorts. I was disappointed to learn that my friend Izzy had her movies moved out of the block to be shown at other times. I wandered around a bit more but found I'd really lost interest in the event. So I headed home early and called it an event.