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The Tampa Film Review for October áby Nolan B. Canova
The Halloween Horror Picture Show 2006 áby Nolan B. Canova
Monster Mish-Mash! ScreamFest 2006 áby ED Tucker
MOVIE REVIEW
"Flags of our Fathers" áby Mike Smith
MY MIDDLE TOE
Things Are Changing in Tampa! áby Mark Terry
CHILLER CINEMA
Attention Movie-Going People! áby Drew Reiber
MIKE'S RANT
Remembering Buck....This Won't Get You To Heaven....What's That You Said?....The End....It's Not A Dream, You're Fired....Brother, Can You Spare A Dime....Passing On....My Favorite Films, Part 42: "Used Cars" áby Mike Smith
LETTERS
Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our seventh calendar year!
Number 343  (Vol. 7, No. 41). This edition is for the week of October 16--22, 2006.


Gus Perez stands outside the entrance to the Cuban Club, readying his video camera.


It was quite a beautiful day for scary movies. Bright and shiny and great weather. On our way to this year's Halloween Horror Picture Show at the historic Cuban Club in Ybor City, I suppose a dark lightning storm would've provided more ambience, but in Florida, those are usually associated with power outages, so, no thank you, bright and shiny will work just fine.

After considerable fretting about possible trouble finding parking, Gus Perez and I arrived at the Cuban Club around 12:30pm to find no one on the street and nary a hint of activity anywhere. Shocked at our good fortune (but wary that we'd somhow mixed up times or dates), we pulled easily into a space on the street. On Sundays the meters aren't running.

Coincidentally, horror show honcho and chief promoter, Rick Danford, was just coming out of the building at that point and greeted us. He reaffirmed our guest list appearance and bade us inward. Thank you, Richard.

Immediately, I was struck by the grand opulence of the old club (much like I was for the shooting of the Guzzo Bros' movie I covered some issues back) and how much of an improvement it was to hold the HHPS here over the last two years' residence at the student halls of the University of South Florida, which was, to say the least, out of the way for everybody.

Horror author and budding movie-maker, Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc, promoting her newest novel, Michael
Despite this, except for some food vendors and some dealers (and one notable celebrity) there was virtually no one here. I mean, I know we had arrived early, but I didn't expect us to be the lone inhabitants! Of course, this situation would change considerably as the day wore on and reverse a trend in Horror Show attendance over the last several years. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Proceeding over to the main dealers/guest area, Gus and I met horror author and budding movie scripter Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc decked out in her goth best with a panoply of books and promotional material at hand (in particular, Michael, her latest novel). Her gothness stood in stark contrast to the bright window and streaming daylight directly behind her. After learning of her impending movie deal (A Man of Two Worlds), Gus became extremely interested in...er...participating...so stuck pretty close to Andrea the rest of the day (when we weren't in the theater).

Rick Danford's own table was next, sporting his stack of The Nightmare Collection DVDs, most or all of them have played at past HHPS or Saints & Sinners events, and a recommended collectible for any horror fan.

The beautiful and talented Tiffany Shepis, both at her table and next to yours truly!
Next up was the biggest surprise for me, and my brightest moment, meeting actress Tiffany Shepis (Tromeo and Juliet, Citizen Toxie, Nat'l Lampoon's Boobies, Nightmare Man). I approached her table trying to summon something clever to open with, but hadn't gotten a single syllable out when she completely disarms me by saying, "Well, Hi there, Nolan, glad you could make it!" Of course, in an instant I went from completely in control of the situation to a slobbering 12-year-old fanboy stammering my next brilliant line which was, "...ummmm...fine, thank you!....ummm....how did you know who I was?" And she said with a shrug and a wink, "Oh, I think everyone knows who you are." Gulp. Wow. OK. She knew who I was. Jesus. My low-self-esteem prevents me from internalizing this, but WOW. No way Danford could've headed me off with a physical description. I was on Cloud 9. (Later, someone reminded me one of Tiffany's latest movies, Hoodoo for Voodoo, is co-produced by Jason Liquori whose webisodes of Jason's Jungle played here on Crazed Fanboy for two years, so there's one possible connection.)

Tiffany is such a cutie-patootie, amazingly full of energy and was all over that dealers area, despite earlier (and consequently unfounded) rumors of a no-show.

In fact, at this point, the other major celebrity expected, P. J. Soles (Halloween, Rock and Roll High School), had not arrived yet, but we were told she'd be coming in around 4:00pm from ScreamFest in Orlando. No sign of Krista Grotte (Filthy) yet either, presumably detained at the same event.

Last to be met, but not least, was a very interesting character named Victoria Richards, an intersexed goth (and not a transvestite as I earlier reported), who informed me of a desire to move from adult pictures into horror to be more "mainstream". Victoria commented on a conflict with ScreamFest about appearing at two shows at once, which, they said they didn't allow. Obviously there's some communication breakdown there as many of the HHPS guest list were coming directly from ScreamFest! I could've sworn I'd gotten a picture of Victoria, but could find none, for which I apologize, so the best I can do is direct you to her MySpace page: www.myspace.com/toriraven

Gus and I went into the theater (which is quite beautiful, kind of like Tampa Theater-lite) to witness the first movie, Undying Love, which, I learned later, turned out to be Greg Lamberson's (Slime City) first film from 20 years ago. Shot on 16mm, it was positively dreadful, but I give it points for being shot on film with obviously high ambitions, just not much in the way of story or acting. And this story had been done to death even then (reluctant vampires, bossy vampires, double-crossed allegiances in the dark society, etc. etc.), but it was his first, and I learned later, played on the midnight-movie circuit in NY as a shlockfest kind of thing. Sure, that could work. I met Greg outside later and conveyed my feelings, but he was ...er...not in the mood to hear it, haha. (Greg was also at least year's HHPS.)

The big man, Rick Danford, at right gives an interview to the guys behind Pinellas' Public Access TV's "Scream @The Wall"
After using the intermission to get refreshments, we went back in to see Tiffany's feature, Nightmare Man. I was really surprised at this one. A really cool movie, with really good acting, script and direction. And Tiffany's range is WAY beyond what I normally expect from your typical "scream queen" (no offense intended to the lovely scream queens I've met in the past), which I at least partially credit to writer/director Rolfe Kanefsky. A women (Blythe Metz) whose car is broken down in a remote area, and husband's left for help, finds herself chased by a masked man through the woods. Seeking shelter in the cabin of several vacationing young people, suspicions grow that maybe the young lady's story may not be reliable due to her mental problems and drug dependency. Tiffany's character, Mia, basically, emerges as a hero.

I called Nightmare Man "the boogie-man crossed with the-stranger-in-the-woods meets Evil Dead". And that's just what I told the gang from Pinellas' Public Access TV's "Scream @The Wall" who interviewed me about the movie and about the festival as I came out of the theater. Always great to see those guys!

Some other films playing the fest, On Edge, Broken, and The Bargain were previewed at this month's Tampa Film Review. Please refer to my reviews on that page for more details.

Cuban Club Director, Michael Gonzalez, left, with Nolan B. Canova
After another intermission, we hung out in the lobby a bit longer when Andy Lalino and Andrew Allan arrived from ScreamFest and took a seat at Rick Daford's table with copies of Filthy. According to a phone call Andy received later, P. J. Soles was on her way, but it was already 4:30pm with no guarantees of any particular arrival time. I was dead on my feet as I had been up all night at my loathsome night job and up all day at the fest. Gus and I made a pact that if there was no PJ by 5:00pm, we were bailing.

Just before we left, I met and spoke with the Cuban Club director Michael Gonzalez. A fascinating gentlemen who really cares about the facility, I remarked how he's really put the club on the map with all the movie shoots, and now, the HHPS. He is most gracious to any and all parties interested in he club and, not surprisingly, knows a lot about its history, including (he winks to me) the ghosts that haunt it! (Yippee!) Michael showed me an old group shot of people standing in front of the Club from the turn of the 20th century. In two places where it looks at first glance like there are two people, there are, in fact, none, just shapes. Mike then relayed to me his personal encounter with an apparition in the main theater, a large head-like shape floating above a misty body. There was no communication, but Mike felt the apparition had some past connection to The Cuban Club, perhaps in a tragic way.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. The walls here have many more stories to tell.

Near 5:00pm, the crowd in the lobby and in the theater had swelled considerably (in excess of 100-150 at any one time, much better than last year's). Peter and Paul Guzzo (currently promoting The End is Blossoming filmed at The Cuban Club) arrived and quickly made their way into the theater, we only had a chance to exchange brief but cordial greetings.

At 5:00pm, no P. J. and no Krista Grotte, so Gus and I headed out. (As of this writing, I still don't know if either of them finally made it in and by what time.)

Compared to the last two year's HHPS events, I'd dare say this was a bonfide hit. The better location, easier access and ambient building contributed to this. I'd wager Mr. Danford has already put his deposit down for HHPS 2007!


All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ę2006 by Nolan B. Canova.


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