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By Mike Watt | April 27, 2004


Saturday was rife with complaints (long before the “porn at the hot tub incident”). There were guests and paying customers who were grumbling long and loud. The paying customers were mad that certain guests were unaccounted for. Around 1 PM, someone mentioned that there was a piece of notebook paper with “cancellations” listed on them. Again, the names listed (and misspelled) did not cancel. For one reason or another, they never received their plane tickets. I don’t know the exact story and I’m not in the hearsay game, but I do, however, know a lot of people. Most of the people at either Frightvision or Cinema Wasteland are either personal friends, or professional acquaintances. I’m not bragging; that’s what happens when you work in this industry—in any industry: you meet people. So having spoken to several “cancellations” first-hand, I know at least one side of the story. I also know that this is a game most conventions play. I’ve been to several shows in the past, I’ve witnessed the flogging of a “name” in promotions long after the guest has informed the promoter they could not attend. This isn’t the case here, of course; I’m just saying these sorts of things happen. I’m also smart enough to know that there is this side, that side, and what actually happened.

There were guests grumbling that they hadn’t been paid or they hadn’t been reimbursed for flights they had to pick up on their own dime. There were other people pissed that they hadn’t seen the promoter at all (which I can believe; I only laid eyes on Carl once the whole weekend. On the other hand, I wasn’t looking for him. It would have been nice if he’d stopped by the tables to check on his guests, but maybe he did when we weren’t there. I’m trying to give everyone the benefit of the doubt here).

But the one thing I’ve learned about conventions—and the message I will haul out over and over again—is that it’s impossible to make everyone happy. And in today’s society, it’s not too far-fetched to say that it’s nearly impossible to please anybody.

I tried to stay out of the feud. I was at Frightvision. I never made it to Cinema Wasteland and have never been to Cinema Wasteland. So to those people who wandered over from C.W. touting it as the superior show: swell. I wouldn’t be surprised if attendees at Frightvision made their way to Cinema Wasteland and extolled the wonders to be found at FV—that there was full-frontal nudity and champagne high-colonics. Often, I found myself having a good time just sitting behind the table and selling things. Hey, at least I was making money for a change. Usually, I’m just “the guy to the right” of Amy. The dealer’s room was always packed, from what I could see when I wandered down, but so was the bar, the restaurant and the lobby. There was fun to be had in the after-hours parties (including one bizarre thing involving young boys in bondage outfits—I’m not making this up; I rode the elevator with two of these kids. Fourteen-year-olds bare-to-the-waist in bondage belts, collars and cuffs. I don’t know what was happening; I didn’t want to know. I heard rumors, that was enough. I’m just curious as to what church group they were with.).

The one thing I missed that I wish I could have attended was the “Savini-Thon”. This year, there were two offerings, the Savini-starring and star-packed (and convention-shot) “Absense of Light” (directed by Patrick Desmond and starring some of the nicest people I’ve ever met at a convention), and Savini’s own short, “House Call”. “House Call” is the pilot for a proposed anthology series called “The Chill Factor”, and I had the good fortune to visit the set during one of the shooting days. It looked great and Tom was impressive to watch as a director. But, sadly, while “House Call” was playing, I was being kicked out of the hot tub area for shooting porn.

Sunday was a bitter-sweet day. Most of my close friends had already left the night before—Ryli Morgan and Mark Baranowski had to hoof it back to North Carolina, Jasi went to New Jersey for a stunt gig, even the “Project: Valkyrie” team had been reduced by thirds. The highlight for me was taking part in shooting an interview with Linnea for Anchor Bay. By the time that was over, the show had pretty much emptied out.

There were still people complaining, of course. Conrad Brooks—who I’m not even sure was supposed to be there—grumbled that he’d never seen a show so slow. However, he made his grand exit by spilling champagne over all of Sybil Danning’s photographs. He wisely hightailed it out of there before Sybil returned to the room.

So my ultimate impression of Frightvision? Not the worst show I’d ever been to. My first FV as a guest paled to my first FV as an attendee. I’m not going to comment on the “this show, that show” controversy, and I’ll repeat again that many conventioneers, on both sides of the table, are hard to please. Would I recommend this show? Absolutely.

Do I think there are too many shows? Absolutely.


Mike Watt attempts to explore all the things that make Geek culture great, as well as pointing out all the things that make Geeks genetically superior to all other humans. During the course of this exploration, he may undoubtedly have to reveal horrid truths about Hollywood and Mainstream Cinema, as they compare to the riches of independent filmmaking. Ultimately, he hopes to bring higher awareness of and respect to Geek Culture, as well as secure a hefty book deal and the accolades of his (richer) peers. Feel free to lavish him with affection (or bitch at him) at

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